‘Saders lose to All Blacks

The All Blacks have been named New Zealand rugby’s Team of the Year, ahead of the five-time champion Crusaders.

Despite the unbelievable efforts of the Canterbury-based franchise in the Super 12, the 3-0 series victory against the Lions, Tri-Nations title and Grand Slam success was enough to give the All Blacks the premier team award.

Not surprsingly, Dan Carter was named New Zealand’s Player of the Year for the second year in a row, becoming the first player to win the prestigious Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Trophy twice.

Carter’s All Black and Crusaders team mate Rico Gear was the other big winner on the night, being named both the Super 12 Player of the Year and the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year.

Otago halfback Chris Smylie took the NPC First Division prize, while Isaia Toeava, who starred in last year’s IRB Under 19 World Championship before touring with the All Blacks on their end of year tour, followed up his 2005 IRB Age Grade Player of the Year award winning the NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year award.