Savea, Perenara share Canes' top award
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea have been named joint winners of the Hurricanes Player of the Year award.
The pair picked up the prestigious award at the 2019 Hurricanes Awards Night at the Harbourside Function Centre on Tuesday night.
Perenara, 27, had another outstanding year which culminated with him becoming the most capped Hurricanes as he overtook Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith.
The scrumhalf continues to close in on Christian Cullen’s try-scoring record for the Hurricanes (56) as he scored his 54th against the Crusaders during the weekend’s Investec Super Rugby semi-final in Christchurch.
Savea, 25, carried on the sensational form he showed for the All Blacks on their end-of-year tour throughout the 2019 Super Rugby season when he was widely regarded as the most consistent and outstanding performer across all teams.
The versatile loose forward is now just nine appearances away from becoming a Hurricanes centurion, a mark he should reach next season after further committing to playing in New Zealand.
Loose forward Reed Prinsep was also a finalist after a season that saw him step into the role former captain Brad Shields played as he also demonstrated outstanding consistency and work ethic, on and off the field.
Savea was also the winner of the Hurricanes Best & Fairest Award. The award is judged on consistency with players awarded three, two or one point by teammates after every match.
Club captain Dane Coles was honoured with the Team Man of the Year from fellow finalists James Marshall and Sam Henwood.
Coles, who extended his contract with the Hurricanes for a further two seasons earlier this year, again displayed outstanding leadership and drive throughout 2019, especially when he was sidelined for a sustained period through injury.
He returned near the back end of the season and was back to his best form, especially in the semi-final against the Crusaders.
Lock James Blackwell was named Most Improved Player of the Year. The 24-year-old was an ultra reliable figure in the second row as he took his game to another level.
Other finalists were fellow lock Isaia Walker-Leawere and Peter Umaga-Jensen.
The Hurricanes Rookie of the Year Award was presented to utility back Chase Tiatia who made 11 appearances in 2019. Tiatia excelled on the wing and at fullback after coming into the squad as injury cover. Other finalists in the category were flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi and lock Liam Mitchell.
The Hunters Award, given to the Hurricanes player who did not see a lot of game time but always turned up with the right attitude and helped challenge and support the players with their match-day preparations, went to Peter Umaga-Jensen.
He was one of three finalists along with Sam Henwood and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.
There was also tributes to departing players Jeff To’omaga-Allen, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor, Richard Judd, Finlay Christie and Sam Lousi for their contribution and dedication to the club.
2019 Hurricanes Awards
Player of the Year: TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea
Finalists: Perenara, Savea and Reed Prinsep
Best & Fairest: Ardie Savea
Team Man of the Year: Dane Coles
Finalists: Coles, James Marshall and Sam Henwood
Rookie of the Year: Chase Tiatia
Finalists: Tiatia, Du’Plessis Kirifi and Liam Mitchell
Most Improved Player: James Blackwell
Finalists: Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere and Peter Umaga-Jensen
Hunters Award: Peter Umaga-Jensen
Finalists: Umaga-Jensen, Sam Henwood and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis