Rugby-All Blacks skipper Cane grabs top honours at New Zealand Rugby Awards

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FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - June Internationals - New Zealand vs France

(Reuters) - Sam Cane capped his debut season as All Blacks captain with two honours at New Zealand's annual Rugby Awards on Thursday when he was named the Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year as well as All Black of the Year.

Loose forward Cane, who was named captain in May, led an All Blacks side that retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 18th straight season before sealing the Tri Nations title earlier this month.

However, it was the Black Ferns Sevens who picked up the Team of the Year award for a third straight time after they claimed the World Rugby Sevens Series as championship leaders when the competition was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former All Black Bryan Williams was named this year's Steinlager Salver in recognition of his contribution to rugby over five decades while Ash Dixon was crowned the Maori player of the year.

"Sam Cane was a formidable leader in 2020 and performed so admirably in the black jersey, while Ash Dixon was a force in every jersey he donned this year," New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"It's fantastic to see Sir Bryan recognised for his monumental contribution to the game, both on and off the field, with the Steinlager Salver. He is a truly deserving recipient.

"The Black Ferns Sevens continue to set the standard with their performances, and we look forward to seeing what they and the All Blacks Sevens can achieve next year."

Super Rugby's Crusaders coach Scott Robertson was named the National Coach of the Year while Black Ferns Sevens' Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney received the New Zealand Coach of the Year award.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)