2014 RUPA Awards Finalists confirmed

By Pete Fairbairn, 04.12.14

The finalists for this year’s RUPA Awards have now all been confirmed, with less than a week until the 2014 Volvo-RUPA Awards Lunch next Wednesday 10 December.

Held annually in December, the event is dedicated to recognising the on and off field achievements of Australian professionally contracted rugby union players.

This year eight awards will be presented, including two that specifically recognise player’s off-field efforts, five players’ player awards, as peers’ recognition of on and off-field performance, and the Volvo People’s Choice Award.

The ultimate RUPA Award is the Medal for Excellence. The finalists, listed below, are comprised of the winner and second place runner-up in each Super Rugby Team’s Players’ Player Awards count.

Australian Super Rugby players then vote for the Medal using a 3-2-1 points system for the individual, outside their own team, who they believe has shown the best performance, leadership, consistency and discipline, both on and off the field, across the international and domestic rugby season.

In 2013 the “Honey Badger” Nick Cummins received the most votes, joining a line-up of players acknowledged by their peers for their on and off field conduct, including George Gregan, Nathan Sharpe, David Pocock and Berrick Barnes.

The Buildcorp NRC Players’ Player, Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players’ Player and Newcomer of the Year are all chosen using a similar voting system and criteria.

With the inception of this year’s inaugural National Rugby Championship, the Buildcorp NRC Players’ Player is a new addition to the Awards in 2014, allowing the tournament’s players to vote for who they believe had an outstanding NRC season both on and off the field.

The finalists for the two off-field awards for Academic Excellence and Community Service were confirmed from the several nominees put forward by each Super Rugby team’s RUPA Player Development Manager for their dedication and achievements in areas outside of rugby.

This year, twelve players made up the nominees list for commitment to personal and professional development across a broad range of studies, while seven were nominated for extraordinary service to the community.

The winner of the Volvo People’s Choice Award will also be presented at the Awards lunch next week. Now in its second year, the award allows rugby supporters to vote for the player of the year they believe best demonstrates the spirit of rugby in Australia.

Voting closed last Thursday and this year, thanks to RUPA’s partner, Volvo, the winner received a money-can’t-buy VIP V8 Supercars experience at the Sydney 500.

RUPA Chief Executive, Greg Harris said the eight awards are a true recognition of Australian rugby players in many aspects of their life along the rugby pathway.

“Australian rugby players aren’t just committed and talented on the rugby field; they have also made substantial achievements in terms of their academic, personal and professional development.

“Many of our players are dedicated to causes and not-for-profit initiatives, donating a lot of their time and service in the community.

“It is important to recognise these areas too, and the RUPA awards provide this opportunity. They also allow players to be acknowledged by those who know them best, their peers.

“Ultimately, the awards reflect RUPA’s core purposes in supporting and empowering Australian rugby players to maximise their potential so they can simultaneously develop their on and off field careers,” Mr Harris said.

The winners of each award will be revealed at the Awards Lunch event in Sydney next Wednesday 10 December 2014 and announced on RUPA’s social media accounts @RUPAnews #RUPAawards2014.

The finalists for the 2014 Volvo-RUPA Awards are listed below:

Medal for Excellence – Presented by Australian Reliance

Jarrad Butler (Brumbies)
Nic White (Brumbies)
Colby Fainga’a (Melbourne Rebels)
Mitch Inman (Melbourne Rebels)
Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
Ben McCalman (Western Force)
Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
Wycliff Palu (NSW Waratahs)
James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
Jake Schatz (Queensland Reds)

Academic Achievement Award – Presented by Kaplan Professional

Pama Fou (Sevens)
Tala Gray (NSW Waratahs)
Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds)
Tom Kingston (Melbourne Rebels)
Chris Kuridrani (Queensland Reds)
Jeremy Tilse (NSW Waratahs)

Community Service Award – Presented by Hall Chadwick

Nathan Charles (Western Force)
Colby Fainga’a (Melbourne Rebels)
James Hanson (Queensland Reds)
Pat McCutcheon (NSW Waratahs)
Henry Speight (Brumbies)

Newcomer of the Year – Presented by Allianz Stadium

Taqele Naiyaravoro (NSW Waratahs)
Samu Kerevi (Queensland Reds)
Sean McMahon (Melbourne Rebels)
Adam Coleman (Western Force)
JP Smith (Brumbies)

Buildcorp NRC Players’ Player – Presented by Buildcorp

Samu Kerevi (Brisbane City)
Jack Debreczeni (Melbourne Rising)
Andrew Kellaway (NSW Country Eagles)
Nick Frisby (Brisbane City)
Sean McMahon (Melbourne Rising)

Men’s Sevens Players’ Player – Presented by AFEX

Cameron Clark
Jesse Parahi
Greg Jeloudev
Con Foley
Ed Jenkins

Women’s Sevens Players’ Player – Presented by NAB Private Wealth

Shannon Parry
Charlotte Caslick
Alicia Quirk
Sharni Williams
Emilee Cherry

Volvo People’s Choice Award – Presented by Volvo Cars Australia

Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs)
Matt Hodgson (Western Force)
Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
Matt Toomua (Brumbies)
Scott Fardy (Brumbies)
Ben McCalman (Western Force)
Scott Higginbotham (Melbourne Rebels)

Pete Fairbairn
Communications Manager
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