Tom French Cup

In rugby union, the Tom French Cup is an honour awarded by New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to the Tom French Memorial Māori player of the year. The cup has been awarded annually since 1949, when it was donated to the New Zealand Māori coach Tom French while the team was on tour in Australia.[1] French had represented Buller provincially, and was selected for New Zealand Maori in 1911. After the First World War, where he lost an arm at Passchendaele, French continued his involvement in rugby by serving as both a selector and administrator. In 1957 he was made a life member of the NZRU.[1]

The inaugural recipient in 1949 was Johnny Smith, who played for New Zealand's national team the All Blacks, and captained them in two Tests that year.[2] Keith Davis was the Tom French Cup winner in 1952–54, and played extensively for both the All Blacks and New Zealand Māori; his time with the Māori included matches against both South Africa in 1956, and the British Lions in 1959.[3] The record for cup wins is held by Sid Going, who played half-back for both New Zealand Māori and the All Blacks, and was awarded the cup six times; won consecutively between 1967–72.[4] Tane Norton won the cup in 1973 and 74, and went on to finish his playing career as All Black captain—his 27 international Test caps were earned consecutively.[5] 1987 Rugby World Cup winner Wayne Shelford was awarded the cup in 1985, and 1987–89; Shelford captained North Harbour, New Zealand Māori, and the All Blacks. During his 14 Tests as captain of the All Blacks the team never lost.[6] When Shelford was eventually dropped from the All Blacks, he was replaced at number eight by fellow Tom French Cup recipient Zinzan Brooke. Brooke was awarded the cup in both 1992 and 1994, and also captained the Blues to the 1996 and 1997 Super 12 titles.[7]

Carl Hayman was awarded the Tom French Cup in both 2004 and 2006, and was instrumental in helping New Zealand Māori defeat the British and Irish Lions for the first time in 2005. Hayman played 45 Test matches for the All Blacks.[8] Fellow All Black Piri Weepu won the cup in both 2008 and 2011. In 2011 he was a member of the World Cup winning All Blacks side, and was named man of the match in New Zealand's quarter-final victory over Argentina.[9][10]

Winners

YearNameProvince
1949Johnny SmithNorth Auckland
1950Manahi PaewaiNorth Auckland
1951Percy ErcegAuckland
1952Keith DavisAuckland
1953Keith DavisAuckland
1954Keith DavisAuckland
1955Pat WalshSouth Auckland Counties
1956Bill GrayBay of Plenty
1957Muru WaltersNorth Auckland
1958Pat WalshCounties
1959Bill WordleyKing Country
1960Mack HerewiniAuckland
1961Vic YatesNorth Auckland
1962Waka NathanAuckland
1963Mack HerewiniAuckland
1964Ron RangiAuckland
1965Ron RangiAuckland
1966Waka NathanAuckland
1967Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1968Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1969Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1970Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1971Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1972Sid GoingNorth Auckland
1973Tane NortonCanterbury
1974Tane NortonCanterbury
1975Bill BushCanterbury
1976Kent LambertManawatu
1977Bill OsborneWanganui
1978Eddie DunnNorth Auckland
1979Vance StewartCanterbury
1980Hika ReidBay of Plenty
1981Frank ShelfordBay of Plenty
1982Steven PokereSouthland
1983Hika ReidBay of Plenty
1984Mike ClampWellington
1985Wayne ShelfordNorth Harbour
1986Frano BoticaNorth Harbour
1987Wayne ShelfordNorth Harbour
1988Wayne ShelfordNorth Harbour
1989Wayne ShelfordNorth Harbour
1990Steve McDowallAuckland
1991John TimuOtago
1992Zinzan BrookeAuckland
1993Arran PeneOtago
1994Zinzan BrookeAuckland
1995Robin BrookeAuckland
1996Errol BrainCounties Manukau
1997Mark MayerhoflerCanterbury
1998Tony BrownOtago
1999Norm MaxwellCanterbury
2000Daryl GibsonCanterbury
2001Caleb RalphCanterbury
2002Carlos SpencerAuckland
2003Carlos SpencerAuckland
2004Carl HaymanOtago
2005Rico GearNelson Bays
2006Carl HaymanOtago
2007Daniel BraidAuckland
2008Piri WeepuWellington
2009Zac GuildfordHawke's Bay[11]
2010Hosea GearWellington[12]
2011Piri WeepuWellington[10]
2012Liam MessamWaikato[13]
2013Liam MessamWaikato[14]
2014Aaron SmithManawatu[15]
2015Nehe Milner-SkudderManawatu[16]
2016Dane ColesWellington[17]
2017Rieko IoaneAuckland[18]
2018Codie TaylorCanterbury[19]
2019Sarah HiriniManawatu[20]

References

  1. Mulholland 2009, p. 28.
  2. Frew 2012.
  3. Keith Davis.
  4. Mulholland 2009, p. 278.
  5. Mulholland 2009, p. 176.
  6. Mulholland 2009, p. 279.
  7. Mulholland 2009, p. 280–282.
  8. Carl Hayman.
  9. Hinton 2011.
  10. 2011 Awards.
  11. 2009 Awards.
  12. 2010 Awards.
  13. 2012 Awards.
  14. 2013 Awards.
  15. McKendry, Patrick (11 December 2014). "Retallick, Hansen and All Blacks the big winners in NZ rugby awards". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  16. Paul, Gregor (11 December 2015). "Nonu storms to top of NZ rugby awards". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  17. Burnes, Campbell (16 December 2016). "Barrett brothers our best at NZ rugby awards". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  18. "Black Ferns dominate rugby awards". RNZ Sport. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  19. "History made at 2018 ASB rugby awards". New Zealand Rugby. 13 December 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  20. "Hirini becomes first wahine to win Māori player of the year". Te Ao Māori News. 13 December 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.

Sources

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