Ruby Tui is the Women’s 15s Breakthrough Players of the Year in partnership with Tudor. Video / World Rugby
Black Ferns star Ruby Tui has been given a new World Cup winners medal to go with her breakthrough players gong claimed at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco today.
Tui has been named women’s breakthrough 15s player of the year while Wayne Smith was named coach of the year.
Tui gave away her winner’s medal to a young leukaemia survivor after beating England last Saturday in a thriller at Eden Park.
Tui had met the young fan, 11-year-old Lucia Hurst, at a fan engagement event before the final, as reported by ESPN assistant editor Brittany Mitchell.
Lucia had reportedly followed the Black Ferns throughout the World Cup and told Tui her dream was to become a Black Fern. Lucia’s father had told Tui of his daughter’s recent cancer battle.
The moment stuck with the 30-year-old, so as she celebrated her side’s historic 34-31 victory over England on the field, she spotted the young fan in the crowd and placed her World Cup winners medal around her neck.
Black Ferns great Fiao’o Fa’amausili was on hand at the awards today to give Tui a new winner’s medal.
Tui said it capped off a whirlwind week. Black Ferns lock Maiakawanakaulani Roos was also up for the breakthrough award.
“It’s amazing to be here. It’s been a whirlwind. I’m so proud of New Zealand,” Tui said.
“It’s such an honour to win this award and 27 and a half years old. I think I’ve set the record for oldest rookie in 15s, but hey I’ll take it.”
Smith beat out England women’s coach Simon Middleton, Irish men’s coach Andy Farrell and Fabien Galthié of France.
Former Black Fern, Dr Farah Palmer has also been awarded the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service.
Black Ferns captain and first five-eighths Ruahei Demant and top-scoring wing Portia Woodman are nominated for the Women’s 15s player of the year.
More to come…