Northland Women’s Rugby star nominated for top rugby award

Former Black Ferns lock, Northland’s Charmaine Smith, is in the running for this year’s Fiao’o Faamausili Medal

After a surprise return to rugby following her retirement two years ago, Northland women’s rugby player Charmaine Smith is in the running for the Fiao’o Faamausili Medal for best player in the Farah Palmer Cup.

The former Black Ferns lock came out of retirement to join the Blues’ Super Rugby Aupiki campaign this year.

The 31-year-old stepped away from rugby in 2020 citing health reasons, but continued with her career as a sergeant in the New Zealand Police.

A week after giving birth last year, however, Smith had a follow-up scan which found she was clear of any residual health issues and was able to train again.

New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) top performers of 2022 were announced on Tuesday and will be recognized at the ASB Rugby Awards next week.

This year’s awards will be presented live on Sky Sport 1 and Prime at 8.30pm next Thursday, December 8 with awards presented to leading teams, players, coaches, administrators, and referees.

The ASB Rugby Awards are an opportunity to acknowledge all those involved in the game and the achievements of players, referees, and volunteers in 2022, NZR CEO Mark Robinson said.

“We are looking forward to celebrating the contributions and excellence across our rugby community and recognizing what’s been a huge and exciting year for rugby,” Robinson said.

“I’d like to congratulate all the nominees, who once again show the breadth of talent we are lucky to have at all levels of our game.”

Smith was nominated alongside Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty) and Maia Joseph (Otago) for the Fiao’o Faamausili Medal.

Sky Super Rugby Aupiki champions Chiefs Manawa have been nominated for the Adidas National Women’s Team of the Year alongside Bunnings Warehouse Farah Palmer Cup winners Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay.

The hotly contested Sky Television Fans Try of the Year was open for a public vote until Wednesday this week.

Four additional awards will be announced on the night – the Steinlager Salver, the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year, adidas New Zealand Team of the Year and the ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year.

The full list of nominees are:

New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year Maggie Cogger-Orr (Auckland), Brendon Pickerill (North Harbour), Ben O’Keeffe (Auckland)

Charles Monroe Rugby Volunteer of the Year Cathy Charles (Otago), Andrew Gemmell (Thames Valley), Allen Grainger (Waikato)

New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year George Bell (Canterbury), Peter Lakai (Wellington), Payton Spencer (Auckland)

Ian Kirkpatrick Medal Siu Kakala (South Canterbury), Sam Parkes (Ngāti Porou East Coast), Semi Vodosese (Whanganui)

Duane Monkley Medal Bryn Gatland (North Harbour), Emoni Narawa (Bay of Plenty), Peter Lakai (Wellington)

Fiao’o Faamausili Medal Luka Connor (Bay of Plenty), Maia Joseph (Otago), Charmaine Smith (Northland)

ASB National Men’s Coach of the Year Leo Crowley (Wellington), Scott Robertson (Crusaders), Nigel Walsh (South Canterbury)

ASB National Women’s Coach of the Year Blair Baxter (Canterbury), Allan Bunting (Chiefs Manawa), Blair Cross (Hawke’s Bay)

DHL Super Rugby Pacific Player of the Year Will Jordan (Crusaders), Stephen Perofeta (Blues), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)

Sky Super Rugby Aupiki Player of the Year Luka Connor (Chiefs Manawa), Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Blues), Joanah Ngan-Woo (Hurricanes)

Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year Ruahei Demant (Tē Whānau ā Apanui / Te Whakatōhea / Ngāti Awa), Stacey Fluhler (Ngāi Tūhoe),TJ Perenara (Ngāti Rangitihi / Te Arawa)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year Ngarohi McGarvey-Black Sam Dickson, Caleb Tangitau

Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year Michaela Blyde, Sarah Hirini, Risaleaana (Risi) Pouri-Lane

Black Ferns Player of the Year Ruahei Demant, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Fluhler, Sarah Hirini

All Blacks Player of the Year Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Sam Whitelock

adidas National Men’s Team of the Year Crusaders, Ngāti Porou East Coast, South Canterbury, Wellington

adidas National Women’s Team of the Year Canterbury, Chiefs Manawa, Hawke’s Bay


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