New Zealand Rugby awards, Kendra Cocksedge, Black Ferns, All Blacks

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The All Blacks have been shut out of the major awards at the New Zealand Rugby awards for the first time in another shot in the arm for the women’s game.

Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge became the first woman to claim the overall best player prize, seeing off a trio of All Blacks nominees — Brodie Retallick, Richie Mo’unga and Codie Taylor.

The overall team prize was claimed by the Commonwealth Games and World Cup-winning Black Ferns Sevens squad, again shading the All Blacks, who won 12 of their 14 Tests this year.

“Every award we get is to try and put women’s rugby on the world and national stage and it’s important for us to do that,” said Cocksedge, a 47 Test veteran.

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“It means the world.

“All that hard work and that blood, sweat, and tears that goes into putting on any type of jersey.

“When you win awards like this it pays off.”

The judges were spoiled for choice, with New Zealand currently the 15-a-side and sevens world champions in both men’s and women’s rugby.

New All Blacks sevens mentor Clark Laidlaw was named coach of the year while Mo’unga won the Super Rugby player award.

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