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Black Ferns Sevens win Halberg Team of the Year

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allblacks.com     22 Feb 2019     Getty Images

Players and coaches swapped the training field for the red carpet at the Awards, held in Auckland on Thursday, recognising New Zealand sporting excellence. 

The Black Ferns Sevens claimed the Team of the Year award after a spectacular 2018, winning five World Series tournaments, the Commonwealth Games Gold and Rugby World Cup Sevens title. Their current unbeaten streak extends to 49 competition matches. Their male counterparts, the All Blacks Sevens, were also finalists in the same category.

New Zealand Rugby Board member Dr Farah Palmer, who captained the Black Ferns to three World Cup titles, was presented with a special award, Sport New Zealand Leadership Award.

Dr Palmer is the current Chair of the New Zealand Rugby Maori Board and was the first woman appointed to the Board of New Zealand Rugby. 

NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said it was great for rugby to be part of such a special night and congratulated all the rugby winners and finalists.
“These awards are a great reminder of the truly incredibly athletes we have in New Zealand and an opportunity to celebrate success on the international stage.

“The Black Ferns Sevens are a trailblazing team who continue to inspire on and off the field. Their on-field record speaks for itself and off the field they are fantastic role models of our sport.
“Seeing Farah recognised tonight amongst some of the finest sporting ambassadors in our country was truly fitting. She has paved the way for the success we are seeing in the women’s game and continues to inspire and lead in our game,” said Tew.

Other rugby finalists included sevens coaches Clark Laidlaw and Allan Bunting, along with New Zealand born Ireland coach Joe Schmidt in the Coach of the Year category, Canoe Racing coach Gordon Walker was the winner of the for the third successive year. 

Rugby also featured in the top sporting moments of the year, as voted for by the public, with Black Ferns Sevens playmaker Kelly Brazier’s remarkable Commonwealth Games-winning try and Auckland Rugby’s dramatic extra-time victory in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final, among the best, with football’s U17 goalkeeper Anna Leat claiming the title.

The Halberg Awards were as follows:

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year

Joelle King (squash), Jonelle Price (equestrian), Lisa Carrington (canoe racing), Zoi Sadowski-Synnott (snowboarding). 

ISPS Handa Sportsman of the Year
Nico Porteous (freeskiing), Scott Dixon (motorsport), Scott McLaughlin (motorsport), Tom Walsh (athletics) 

ISPS Handa Para Athlete/Team of the Year
Adam Hall (Para alpine skiing), Corey Peters (Para alpine skiing), Scott Martlew (Para canoe racing), Sophie Pascoe (Para swimming). 

ISPS Handa Team of the Year
All Blacks Sevens (rugby union), Black Ferns Sevens (rugby union), NZ Football Under 17 Women (football), NZ Women’s Kayaking Team (canoe racing), Vantage Black Sticks Women (hockey). 

Buddle Findlay Coach of the Year
Allan Bunting (rugby union), Clark Laidlaw (rugby union), Gordon Walker (canoe racing), Joe Schmidt (rugby union), Leon Birnie (football). 

Sky Sport Emerging Talent

Amelia Kerr (cricket), Anna Leat (football), Josh Armit (yachting), Lewis Clareburt (swimming), Maddison-Lee Wesche (athletics).