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HSBC Waratahs and Qantas Wallabies openside Flanker, Michael Hooper, has taken out the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year title securing 21 votes, four more than his two nearest challengers.
Hooper is the first Waratah to claim the coveted award since former Waratah’s openside and captain, Phil Waugh was crowned the Player of the Year 12 years ago in 2001.
The 21-year old who joined the Waratahs from the Brumbies at the start of 2013 season saw off fellow Number 7 and Wallabies Legend George Smith and the 2011 and 2012 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year Will Genia to claim the award.
Hooper polled votes in nine rounds of the competition, with four of those matches rated as man-of-the-match performances.
Trailing Smith into the final rounds of the season Hooper polled a man-of-the-match three points against the Brumbies in round 14 to pull one point behind Smith before overtaking him with another three points against the Crusaders in round 16.
Hooper ensured the title was his with a two point performance in the final round of the 2013 season when the Waratahs met the Reds.
The comeback fairy tale of the season, George Smith, finished the voting on 17-points polling votes in six matches, with five of them being acclaimed as man-of-the-match performances.
Reds scrumhalf Will Genia, who claimed the 2011 and 2012 titles also polled votes in six matches and like Smith registered five man-of-the-match efforts, leaving the pair tied for second place on 17-points.
Third place went to Rebels flyhalf, James O’Connor, who finished the season on 16-points after polling in eight matches, two of which saw him secure maximum points as man-of-the-match.
Fourth place went to the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Rookie of the Year, Waratahs winger, Israel Folau, who amassed an impressive 15 points.
In his first season of Super Rugby Folau was a revelation, having joined Rugby from two years in the AFL following a successful career in rugby league.
The highly talented 24-year old polled votes in six matches, including three man-of-the-match performances in round 7 against the Force, round 10 against eventual Champions the Chiefs and round 12 against the Kings.
Unlike the previous two seasons that saw the St.George Queensland Reds dominate the Awards the University of Canberra Brumbies, the Waratahs and the Reds all shared the trophies on offer.
Jake White and his Brumbies side were named the Coach of the Year and Team of the Year award winners respectively after they secured top spot in the Australian Conference.
After missing out on finals in 2012 due to a last round loss to the Blues, the Brumbies progressed to the Final in 2013.
After more than 30,000km of travel in the fortnight preceding the final the Brumbies put up a gallant fight in the Waikato only to fall agonisingly short from a heroic Super Rugby title.
It has been an incredible turn around for the Brumbies under White who took his side from 13th place with just 4 wins in 2011 to 7th place and 10 wins in his first season in 2012.
White further improved his sides performance this year finishing the Tournament in third position overall with 10 wins and two more competition points than the previous season.
The Reds Rod Davies was awarded the Try of the Year on behalf of the Queensland Reds after he finished off an incredible length of the field effort in their round 10 match against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium.
Positioned just 5 meters out from their own try line Reds Scurmhalf Will Genia decided to roll the dice and run the ball, passing to flyhalf Quade Cooper.
Some quick thinking and quick hands from Cooper provided outside centre Chris Feauai-Sautia with enough space to break down the far side.
Damaging winger Digby Ioane gave chase in support and took a well-timed pass to continue the Reds flying move down the wing.
The man who started it all, Genia, received the ball back from Ioane just 30 meters out from the line and when he hit the 22 put in a well weighted cross-field grubber kick to winger Rod Davies who finished off an incredible 20 seconds of Rugby.
Finally Australian Referee, Steve Walsh, won his second TNT Referee of the Year Award joining former Referees Stuart Dickinson and Andrew Cole as a back-to-back Award winner.
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, who presented Michael Hooper and Israel Folau with their trophies at the Intercontinental Hotel this morning, congratulated all of the Award winners and praised all five Australian Franchises on a positive 2013 Super Rugby Season.
“I sincerely congratulate all of the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Award winners on their achievements this year,” Mr Pulver said.
“The results that our Australian teams achieved in 2013 are the best that we have seen under the five team, three conference format.
“This year, our five Super Rugby sides won a collective 37 matches, opposed to 32 last year and 35 in 2011.
“In terms of the final ladder position of our Australian teams there was improvement across the board from 2012 to 2013.
“All of our sides finished higher overall on the Super Rugby ladder than they did last year, which is a great effort.
“These are fantastic results that I am sure all of the sides will continue to build on in 2014.”
Player of the Year Recipients
Coach and Team of the Year Recipients
Rookie of the Year Recipients
Referee of the Year Recipients
2013 – Michael Hooper
2012 – Will Genia
2011 – Will Genia
2010 – Quade Cooper
2009 – George Smith
2008 – George Smith
2007 – George Smith
2006 – George Smith
2005 – Chris Latham
2004 – Chris Latham
2003 – Joe Roff & Chris Latham
2002 – Stirling Mortlock
2001 – Phil Waugh
2000 – Chris Latham
1999 – Joe Roff
1998 – Stephen Larkham & John Eales
2013 – Jake White (Brumbies)
2012 – Ewen McKenzie (Reds)
2011 – Ewen McKenzie (Reds)
2010 – Chris Hickey (Waratahs)
2009 – Chris Hickey (Waratahs)
2008 – Ewen McKenzie (Waratahs)
2007 – Laurie Fisher (Brumbies)
2006 – Ewen McKenzie (Waratahs)
2005 – Ewen McKenzie (Waratahs)
2004 – David Nucifora (Brumbies)
2003 – David Nucifora (Brumbies)
2002 – David Nucifora (Brumbies)
2001 – Eddie Jones (Brumbies)
2000 – Eddie Jones (Brumbies)
1999 – John Connolly (Reds)
1998 – John Connolly (Reds)
2013 – Israel Folau
2012 – Joseph Tomane
2011 – Nick Phipps
2010 – Pat McCabe
2009 – Laurie Weeks
2008 – Tyrone Smith
2007 – Lachie Turner
2006 – Benn Robinson
2005 – Peter Hewat
2004 – Nic Henderson & Drew Mitchell
2003 – Matt Giteau
2002 – Van Humphries
2001 – David Croft
2000 – Phil Waugh
1999 – Nathan Sharpe
1998 – Chris Whitaker
2013 – Steve Walsh
2012 – Steve Walsh
2011 – Stuart Dickinson
2010 – Stuart Dickinson
2009 – Stuart Dickinson
2008 – Stuart Dickinson
2007 – Stuart Dickinson
2006 – Scott Young
2005 – Andrew Cole
2004 – Andrew Cole
2003 – Peter Marshall
2002 – Stuart Dickinson
2001 – Peter Marshall
2000 – Wayne Erickson
1999 – Stuart Dickinson
1998 – Scott Young
Super Rugby Player of the Year:
The Super Rugby Player of the Year award has been decided by 18 of Australia’s esteemed Rugby television, radio and print journalists and commentators over the course of the 2013 Super Rugby Season.
Every week one journalists submitted their 3-2-1 votes for each of the Super Rugby games involving an Australian franchise. With 3 votes awarded to the player they adjudge to be ‘Man-of-the-Match’, 2 for next best and 1 for next best.
Any player playing in an Australian Franchise was eligible to be considered for a vote during the 18 home and away rounds of Super Rugby.
Super Rugby Coach and Team of the Year:
The Super Rugby Coach and Team of the Year awards are given to the team and coach of the team that tops the Australian conference.
Super Rugby Rookie of the Year:
The Rookie of the year is selected by ARU’s High Performance Unit, which includes ARU’s General Manager of Sevens, Anthony Eddy and General Manager Development Pathways, Ben Whitaker.
The Super Rugby Rookie of the Year is awarded to the player who is deemed to have been the most outstanding first year player in Australia. Consideration is given by the HPU panel to votes polled during the Super Rugby Season.
TNT Referee of the Year:
The Referee of the year is selected by ARU’s High Performance Unit, which includes ARU’s General Manager of Sevens, Anthony Eddy; General Manager Development Pathways, Ben Whitaker and National Referee Coach, Andrew Cole.
Super Rugby Try of the Year:
Is selected by a panel Fox Sports Rugby experts.
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!