Five finalists have been announced in the 2017 Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens Players’ Player award, to be presented at the annual Volvo-RUPA Awards Luncheon in Sydney on Wednesday December 13th.
Ten players were initially shortlisted, with all current contracted Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens players and all players who represented Australia in the 2016/2017 World Rugby Sevens series invited to vote on a 3-2-1 basis. It’s previous winners are Cameron Clark (2014 & 2015), Con Foley (2013), Lewis Holland (2016) and Jesse Parahi (2012).
The five 2017 finalists are:
Lachie Anderson’s first season on the World Rugby Sevens circuit saw him play in seven of the ten tournaments. Making his debut in Round 3 on home soil at the Sydney Sevens, Lachie continued to impress throughout the remainder of the 2016-2017 season scoring 18 tries. His standout tournament was in Las Vegas, where he scored a whopping seven tries and earned selection in the Tournament Dream Team.
This season saw Alex Gibbon return to the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens program after representing the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby in 2016. Gibbon played in eight of the ten World Rugby Sevens tournaments throughout the 2016-2017 World Series, bagging himself 13 tries in the process and scoring a team-high five tries in Cape Town.
2017 was a huge year for young gun Simon Kennewell, appearing in all but one tournament of the World Rugby Sevens series as well as returning to the fifteen-a-side game for the Australian team at the World Rugby U20s. Making his debut in Dubai after a year spent honing his craft in Narrabeen, Simon quickly cemented a spot in the side, scoring 17 tries for the campaign and earning a selection in the Singapore Dream Team.
Liam McNamara’s impressive performances in the 2016 National Rugby Championship saw Head Coach Andy Friend swoop on the teenager and bring him across to the Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens squad. Liam made his World Rugby Sevens series debut in front of friends and family in Sydney, and went on to appear in seven of the ten tournaments throughout the season, scoring 62 points. Liam also played for Australia at the World Rugby U20s Championships in Georgia.
2017 saw James Stannard play in all 10 of the World Rugby Sevens series events, and produce arguably his best season to date. At 34 years of age the veteran added 247 points throughout the season, bringing his career total to an Australian all-time-high 1042 points.
‘Chucky’ also developed off the field in 2017, earning rave reviews for his performances as an Assistant Coach for the Macquarie Uni Sydney Rays during the inaugural AON Women’s Uni7 Series.
The Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens Players’ Player award is one of eight major awards presented at the Volvo-RUPA Awards Lunch including the RUPA Medal for Excellence, the most prestigious player-voted honour in Australian Rugby, as well as the Taylors Wines People’s Choice Australian Player of the Year and Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Players’ Player of the Year.
Stay tuned for announcements regarding the finalists in other award categories over the coming days and weeks.