From the EDITOR – JP / Julie Patterson
It has been a year to CELEBRATE some outstanding performances by those still taking to the pitch, in a variety of jerseys (be it Black, Red & Black, Maroon & Gold and even in Pink!).
None finer than the magnificent Kieran Read who makes us immensely proud – one of our own and current All Black No 8, has taken every opportunity with both of those very safe hands, which included Captaining the All Blacks and playing some spectacular rugby. His supreme work-rate helped him score some excellent tries but also doing plenty of the dirty clean up and clean out work. His ability to influence game outcomes has been rewarded with him being awarded the prestigious IRB Player of the Year 2013 accolade, a win that is well deserved and a fitting end to the record making year for Kieran and the undefeated All Black team.
Luke Whitelock was selected for the All Black tour to Japan & Europe which makes him our 25th All Black and All Black 1129. He’s had a great year and is sure to provide us with some excellent rugby for years to come. While 42 pairs of brothers have been All Blacks, Sam, George and Luke Whitelock are only the third set of three brothers to play for the ABs.
The Crusader and Canterbury teams provided us with some entertaining rugby, and we celebrated with Andy Ellis and his 100th Super game earlier in the year. Andy hasn’t been sitting on his laurels – he has had a fantastic year and his form has been a joy to watch. Andy was also recognised at the Canterbury Rugby Awards – recipient of the Pat Vincent award forOutstanding Off-field Achievement. Andy has also been nominated for the ITM Cup Player of the Year.
Great to see Patrick Osborne in fine form also and showing his flair and strength on the wing.Jamie Verran and Mitch Graham also represented the Canterbury ITM team this year. Canterbury managed to go where no team had gone before with a 6th successive ITM Cup –using the Antarctic heroic age and Roald Amundsen as inspiration – hence the flag planting after the game. I can’t explain the Coach breakdancing.
The Canterbury Women won the JJ Stewart Trophy, which was instigated in 1990 by our own LM O’Reilly, and they once again made it to the NPC final, narrowly losing to Auckland. Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge has had another excellent season and she was one of the recipients of a 50 game cap for University earlier in the season (see photo later in the newsletter).
Former Black Fern turned Referee, Nikki Inwood, who is on the IRB Elite Women’s Referee Panel, has recently returned from a training camp in Paris where she got to help make the draw for next year’s Women’s World Cup. She has had a number of trips away to the northern hemisphere and the US this year with international referee appointments. Not too bad for an old Crusadette (or indeed a girl from Hawarden). Acknowledgement well deserved at national level with her nomination again this year for NZ Rugby Referee of the Year.
Demi Sakata inducted into IRB Hall of Fame
We were delighted to see Life Member, Demi Sakata, inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame and were most happy to receive a photo of the occasion for the clubrooms, which his son Hiroshi presented to Ruzz Barr earlier in the year (photo below). Ever humble, Demi wanted to share his honour and said it came from equal share with person and team, so very happy to share the honour with UCRFC. His contribution to rugby has been immense and we are very lucky to call him one of our own and IRB Hall of Fame #51.