Rugby: McCaw award caps stellar year

All Black Captain Richie McCaw with the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
All Black Captain Richie McCaw with the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award. (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
All Blacks' skipper Richie McCaw was named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year in last night's national rugby awards, which also saw accolades for All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen, and the world champion All Blacks.

McCaw's consistently outstanding performance, relentless workrate and inspiring leadership on and off the field, saw him take the title for the fourth time in the 18-year history of the award.

McCaw, 31, was also named the player of the year in 2003, 2006 and 2009.

The All Blacks' continued dominance through the international season, which saw them take a clean sweep of the June test series, retain the Bledisloe Cup and win the Rugby Championship and a three-from-four record on the end-of-year tour resulted in them winning the Team of the Year award.

They edged out Super Rugby champions the Chiefs, and five-in-a-row ITM Cup winners Canterbury.

In a year in which he anointed several new All Blacks and led a convincing international campaign, head coach Steve Hansen picked up his first NZRU Coach of the Year Award, seeing off challenges from Chiefs' coach Dave Rennie and sevens' maestro Gordon Tietjens.

 

Meanwhile, McCaw's biography could be the best-selling rugby book of all time.

Since going on sale in October The Open Side, which has sold 120,000 copies worldwide, has surpassed the previous record set by Colin Meads All Black, the 1974 title which sold 55,000 copies.

Twenty thousand copies of McCaw's book have been sold in the UK - a phenomenal result for that market because traditionally rugby books don't sell well there, publisher Hachette's managing director Kevin Chapman said.

The involvement of author Greg McGee - an All Blacks trialist, playwright and award-winning novelist - elevated it above the ordinary run-of-the-mill sports offering, Mr Chapman said.

"We're just pleased for Richie that his book's so successful.

"Everybody's interested in Richie.

It's very hard to find a bad word said about him and all of us that know Richie, know he's a good guy who's an incredibly good sportsman. You put that together with a writer of particular skill and you just end up with a great book about a great person."

Mr Chapman said he had contacted international publishers for confirmation of a record. He believed the previous best-selling rugby book belonged to the autobiography of former England captain Martin Johnson, which sold 70,000 copies, also by Hachette.

Jonah Lomu's, Jonah, sold 45,000 in New Zealand and 20,000 in the UK.

"Unless there's something that's completely bamboozled us, we think we've got a pretty good idea [about the record]."

Mr Chapman expected McCaw's book to follow the pattern Colin Meads' second book Meads, published in 2002, had by being in demand for two years after it was launched.

- Yvonne Tahana of the NZ Herald