The Super Rugby Tips 2013 Rugby Awards are here, do you agree with them?  Who were the best players, coaches and teams of 2013?

rugbyThe All Blacks nicknamed “The Unbeatables” were my team of the year.  They won all 14 test matches in 2013.

Kieran Read stepped up to be the best player of 2013 although Ben Smith also performed admirably.  Leigh Halfpenny and George North were also brilliant for both the British and Irish Lions and Wales.

The 2013 newcomer of the year award goes to Wallabies outside back Israel Folau.  He was great in his first season of rugby union.

While the Best Series of 2013 goes to the British and Irish Lions vs Wallabies.  The intensity of that series was exciting.

The All Blacks newcomer of the year award goes to Charles Piutau who impressed in his first season in the All Blacks.

The Super Rugby winning Chiefs deserve plenty of plaudits for winning their second consecutive Super Rugby title in 2013.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie under the watchful eye of former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith took a team of solid performers with the exception of a handful of All Blacks like Aaron Cruden, Liam Messam and Brodie Retallick and formed a Super Rugby winning team.  I think that Rennie’s effort surpasses the achievements of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who took the All Blacks to 14 straight wins, but in many regards Hansen had an easier task given the calibre of player at his disposal.

I would give the coach of the year to Dave Rennie.  The important thing to remember is that both of these title winning teams developed amazing team cultures which make them difficult to beat with everyone having a specific role in the team.  Both of these teams have developed an ability to never say die and win games that they shouldn’t have.  That is the sign of a winning team!

The Springboks had a great 2013 and must go down as the unluckiest.  They only lost two test matches and they were to the All Blacks.  They are also looking good!

The ITM Cup winning Canterbury and Tasman Makos deserve credit for impressive ITM Cup campaigns.  While the Makos unearthed some major talent like Marty Banks, Canterbury did remarkably well given their number of All Blacks who didn’t play in their team this season.

The disappointment of the year?  It must be the Highlanders.  Dave Rennie and the Chiefs showed that you can’t buy a Super Rugby winning team in one season.  Unfortunately Jamie Joseph’s team learned this the hard way with their disappointing season despite recruiting plenty of big named All Blacks.  How painful it was as a Highlanders fan watching guys who struggled in Super Rugby, suddenly flourishing in the All Blacks.

Finally, the Southland Stags ended up springing into life towards the end of the ITM Cup.  They did get a favourable draw in 2013, but I got the feeling that if they started their campaign the way they finished it, then they would have had a better shot at the title.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ITM Cup Championship 2013 because there were some strong performances from Tasman, Hawkes Bay and Otago, while only Counties threatened to de-rail the big boys from the ITM Cup Premiership which was otherwise predictable.

Who were your players, coaches and teams of rugby in 2013?