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Planet Rugby’s Other Awards 09

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    Planet Rugby’s Other Awards 09

    It's that time of year again when we reward all those kind enough to have provided entertainment over the past 12 months, wittingly or not!

    We hand out the prestigious gongs, a couple of bouquets for a couple of memorable plays, and also a few booby prizes for those who added some of the colour to the year on and off the pitch. So sit back, enjoy, applaud, and if you reckon we missed anybody out, do let us know!

    The serious awards:

    Team of the year: Tempting to say New Zealand for their rebirth after the loss of so many players, tempting also to say Wales for their Grand Slam, but the team that really wowed us here in 2008 is the New Zealand Sevens team. Records tumbled in their wake as they strolled to the IRB World Series victory last year, the reaction of the other Sevens teams this year is proof of how Gordon Tietjens' squad has raised the bar.

    Player of the Year: It's so hard to single one out. Richie McCaw, who has once again led so inspiringly? Shane Williams, who re-wrote the Welsh record books? Mike Blair, who has led Scotland through the thinnest of times? All were IRB nominees - Williams was the IRB winner - but we've gone for another IRB nominee: Sergio Parisse. The Azzurri skipper has been scintillating for country, also in thin times, but backs that up by being the leading light at Stade Français as well. So much asked of him, so much delivered, a truly unique talent and work-rate combo.

    Newbie of the Year: England's new tyro Danny Care. At only 21 years old, he already looks to be ironing out the flaws at a rate of knots - playing inside Nick Evans probably helps. A decade of greatness beckons.

    Try of the Year: You'll remember some of the French tries against Ireland early in the year. You'll remember Tonderai Chavhanga's efforts in the Super 14. Perhaps you'll remember one or two of Bath's late-season efforts as they hammered Saracens last April. But none were so sudden, so desperate, so important and so individually brilliant as Enrico Januarie's try that won South Africa their first-ever game in Dunedin. A dart, a swerve, a deft chip and chase, and a stunning swan-dive, to win the match two minutes from time. Sensational.

    Match of the Year: The Top 14 Final. As this is an English-speaking website, perhaps many did not see it. But those who did will never forget the emotion, speed and attacking prowess served up by Toulouse and Clermont in Paris.

    Occasion of the year: Munster are never far away from this one and scoop it once again with the internal tour match against the All Blacks. Bernard Lapasset advocated a return to internal tours shortly before it, and Thomond Park showed us why.

    The lighter side:

    Teflon Award for having slung mud simply fall off: An England player - whoever he was - whose team-mates stood accused of sexual assault but was himself exonerated of any allegation with the endorsement "My England man put rampant rabbits to shame" in a national newspaper.

    'Dubya' award for peculiar soundbites: Peter de Villiers has kept us agog with his wisdom all year, including a hypothetical match on the moon. At times, lunacy.

    The UK Home Office Award for leaking controversial news at inconvenient moments: The RFU have not run the tightest of ships, but the manner in which they tried to keep a lid on their obvious pursuit of Martin Johnson while Brian Ashton was still in office would have Gordon Brown's civil servants briefly glowing with pride at merely losing the occasional memory stick.

    Hollywood award for producing consistent twists in the tales - Nick Evans: At the last count, he has been responsible for five last-minute winners/equalising scores this year.

    The Jonafan Woss award for a career-damaging mistimed outburst - Tom James, for his tirade to a local cub reporter

    (the frank the tank award is definitely a quality creation).....

    The 2011 Planet Rugby Awards

    22nd December 2011 09:06

    With another year of fun and frolics behind us, we take a tongue-in-cheek look back on the last 12 months, rewarding the brilliant and the bumbling in equal measure as we dish out the gongs in the traditional Planet Rugby end-of-year awards ceremony!

    There was no formal dinner party or other notable ceremony for these gongs, but that should not take away the importance of who was carving - or not - their moment into the virtual spotlight.

    So arise, rugby characters of 2011 and come and collect the bouquets. And the brickbats...

    First, the serious...

    Team of the Year: The All Blacks.
    They came, they saw, they conquered. New Zealand buried two decades of hurt by not - for once - choking and deservedly going on to scoop rugby's ultimate prize, the Rugby World Cup.

    Coach(es) of the year: Graham Henry, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith.
    Whoever coined the phrase 'the three wise men' to describe the All Blacks coaches probably did so out of jest - but the trio put some pride into the term after making up for New Zealand's RWC quarter-final exit in 2007 by guiding the team to victory four years later.

    Northern Hemisphere Player of the Year: Sean O'Brien (Ireland and Leinster).
    We were split on this decision but eventually locked our Thierry Dusautoir-obsessed editor in the stationary cupboard and went for O'Brien. The Irishman - voted European Cup Player of the Year following Leinster's Heineken Cup Final win in May - was instrumental for both club and country. His enormous power and aggression came into play every time he took to the field.

    Southern Hemisphere Player of the Year: Kurtley Beale (Australia and Waratahs).
    Another tough call, and as a Jerome Kaino fan, I'm in the middle of writing this with a sharp pencils pointed at me. So Beale it is! (Ok, put down the lead, lads). One of world rugby's most potent attacking threats with ball in hand, the gifted 22-year-old razzled and dazzled for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the Wallabies on the Test arena. He is a class act at the back and provides much of the cut and thrust from deep for the 'Tahs and Oz with his turn of speed and elusiveness, as well being a handy back-up goal kicker.

    Performance of the Year: The Crusaders
    After losing their home stadium to the earthquake that rocked Christchurch, Todd Blackadder's team embarked an epic, five-month long roadtrip that took them all the way to the Super Rugby Final. The last leg in Brisbane proved to be a bridge too far, but it wasn't for lack of effort.

    Rookie of the year: Rhys Priestland (Wales and Scarlets).
    At long last, Wales have found a replacement for veteran fly-half Stephen Jones. The young playmaker was one of the few pivots to leave his imprint on the World Cup. He took his chance with both hands after Jones strained a calf muscle during a RWC warm-up clash against England, and hasn't looked back since.

    Match of the year: World Cup Final (New Zealand v France).
    Right up there with the best finals in terms of cliff-hanging tension, just pipping Ireland's pool win over Australia, while Wales' quarter-final win over the Irish was also one to remember.

    Try of the year: Will Genia (Reds v Crusaders - Super Rugby Final).
    Geez, this was a tough one. After much debate, we decided to go for the scrum-half's match-winning touchdown against the Crusaders, when Genia spotted a gap and kept going and going and going until he slammed the ball down to take the score to 18-13 in favour of the Reds with 10 minutes to go.

    Match-winning penalty kick of the year: Mirco Bergamasco (Italy v France - Six Nations).
    Italy came from 12 points down in the Stadio Flaminio to beat France for the first time in the Six Nations. The Italians were behind from the 14th minute until the 74th, when their goalkicker Bergamasco landed a touchline penalty - his fifth of the match - to hand Nick Mallett's team victory and their biggest scalp in 11 seasons in the competition.

    Match-winning conversion of the year: Dewaldt Duvenage (Blues v Stormers).
    The Blues had led for all of 78 minutes but in the dying moments of the match, Schalk Burger burrowed over for a try to level the scores before replacement scrum-half cum fly-half Dewaldt Duvenage knocked over the conversion to stun the Blues - who led by 16 points at half-time - 28-26.

    Most controversial decision of the year: Alain Rolland sending off Wales captain Sam Warburton in the World Cup semi-final against France just 19 minutes into the match following the flank's tip tackle on Vincent Clerc.

    Comeback team of the year: Wales.
    From going eight Tests without a victory (brought to and end against Scotland in this year's Six Nations), to playing for a place in the World Cup final... enough said.

    Comeback player of the year: Stephen Donald (New Zealand).
    From drinking beer and whitebaiting on the Waikato River to kicking the winning points in a World Cup Final, Donald became New Zealand's accidental hero in the year's unlikeliest sporting fairy tale as the forgotten All Black's boot sent the country into raptures.

    Colour of the year: The Reds.
    The Queenslanders broke their 16-year wait by winning their first ever Super Rugby title. The Reds were only the second Australian team to clinch the southern hemisphere's top franchise competition after the Brumbies, completing an amazing turnaround from perennial also-rans to premiership champions.

    Animal of the year: The Lions.
    John Mitchell's pride won their first Currie Cup title since 1999 when they beat the Sharks 42-16 at Coca Cola Park. Almost unbelievably the Lions won their first outright Currie Cup Final on home soil since 1950 - a gap of 61 years.

    And then the not so serious...

    Witness protection programme award: Bryce Lawrence.
    After an outcry over Lawrence's refereeing in the RWC quarter-final which saw the Springboks bow out to Australia , the rugby official says he will not officiate in SA should he fear for his life.

    Harry Houdini award: Aurélien Rougerie.
    The French centre escaped being cited for alleged foul play against Richie McCaw in the World Cup Final despite evidence showing he made contact with the eye area of the All Blacks captain.

    Get me to the barbers award: Francois Steyn.
    South Africa wanted their golden boy back in the country in time for the World Cup, but didn't expect him to look like something reminiscent of a caveman. Perhaps that's what happens when you play in the Top 14 alongside the 'Caveman' himself - Sébastien Chabal.

    The beer belly award: Please see above - Steyn was carrying more than curly locks when he got off the plane from croissant country.

    The bearded wonder award: It's a tie between Canada's Adam Kleebeger and Josh Strauss of the Lions, both of whom have now shaved off their beards.... one for charity, the other by his team-mates.

    The 'Frank the Tank' award: Zac Guildford.
    The World Cup-winning All Black wing landed himself in trouble with alcohol again after a booze-fuelled incident in the Cook Islands saw him staggering naked, drunk and bleeding into a bar... you know what happened next.

    On a Wing and Prayer award: Radike Samo.
    Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Wallabies coach Robbie Deans unleashed the biggest winger in Test rugby since Jonah Lomu when back-rower Samo played on the wing against minnows Russia in the RWC.

    Son-in-law of the Year award: Mike Tindall.
    He may be back in the good books with his newly-wed wife following the former England captain's embarrassing frolics with an ex-girlfriend in a Queenstown bar, but is still in the dogbox with his mother-in-law... Princess Anne!

    The "Man overboard!" award: Manu Tuilagi.
    When the England centre jumped off an Auckland ferry he summed up his team's World Cup campaign that will be remembered for dubious off-field behaviour rather than the rugby.

    The Peter de Villiers award for saying the wrong things: Marc Lièvremont.
    Nope, the Bok coach loses out on his own award this year. Instead, the gong goes to the former French boss for his colourful and testy relationship with the world's media at the World Cup. He may have steered an underperforming France side to their first World Cup Final in 12 years, but did so while spitting out the sort of insults that normally start wars.

    The Eye of the Tiger award: Sonny Bill Williams.
    New Zealand's very own Rocky Balboa gave Graham Henry sleepless nights with his star centre's appetite for destruction in the ring. But it's been so far so good for Williams, who is undefeated in four fights albeit against no more than journeymen.

    The 'Rebel without a Cause' award: Danny Cipriani.
    Who else but the Rebel himself? The new Super Rugby team's overseas signing lived up to the Australian franchise's name - The Melbourne Rebels - by breaching team protocol on more than one occasion, including late night outs and taking a bottle of alcohol from a nightclub.

    The "Show Me the Money!" award: Jaque Fourie.
    The Springbok and Stormers centre has chosen money over country and who can blame him after signing a R22 million (US$2,575,000) with Japan side Kobe Steel on a two-year contract - considered to be the most lucrative deal to have ever been awarded to a rugby player for a corresponding period.

    The Twit of the Year award: No surprise here. Samoa's serial tweeter Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu!

    The 'Comment tu t'appelles' (What's your name?) award: Kiwi commentator Ian Smith for accidently confusing France skipper Thierry Dusautoir with footballer Thierry Henry in the live post match interview following Les Bleus' RWC final defeat to NZ.
    He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.


      Originally posted by The Dave View Post

      Teflon Award for having slung mud simply fall off: An England player - whoever he was - whose team-mates stood accused of sexual assault but was himself exonerated of any allegation with the endorsement "My England man put rampant rabbits to shame" in a national newspaper.
      To save ye all digging!
      New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.