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All Blacks rewarded for stellar 2015

All Blacks rewarded for stellar 2015

Ben Smith has signed a new deal to remain in New Zealand

Two players who could face the British & Irish Lions in two years’ time were rewarded for their performances in 2015 at the annual New Zealand Rugby Awards.

Two players who could face the British & Irish Lions in two years’ time were rewarded for their performances in 2015 at the annual New Zealand Rugby Awards.

The most prestigious prize of the night was the Kelvin R Tremain trophy for the Player of the Year, with centre Ma’a Nonu scooping the honours.

He edged out Dan Carter and Ben Smith, and while Nonu and Carter have both retired from Test rugby, Smith is very much a part of the All Blacks’ plans going forward.

The full-back was one of the stars of New Zealand’s World Cup success and was joined in winning an award by fellow back three player Nehe Milner-Skudder.

In a breakthrough season for the winger, he earned his first All Black cap before going onto score a try in the World Cup final.

Elsewhere Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga was named Super Rugby Player of the Year while the All Blacks won the Team of the Year award and Steve Hansen was named Coach of the Year.

Finally the Age Grade Player of the Year award went the way of Akira Ioane, the promising young Blues flanker who will hope to be an All Black by the time the Lions arrive in 2017.

Fans are now able to guarantee their place on the 2017 Tour to New Zealand with a fully refundable £250 Priority Access Pass for the official supporter packages. Guarantee your place at the front of the queue when ticket-inclusive travel packages go on sale during the 2015/16 season, and also receive an exclusive invite to meet the Lions Head Coach before they depart for New Zealand. With exclusive access to special events, flights and hotels, it's the genuine Lions experience – click here for more details.

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