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Pocock wins Super Rugby player of the year

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Wallabies and Brumbies flanker David Pocock has been named Australian Super
Rugby player of the year and Israel Folau the first player to win consecutive
John Eales Medals at the Australian Rugby awards.

Wallabies and NSW Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has claimed the 2015 John
Eales Medal, winning the award for a second consecutive year.

In just his third year in the code, Folau’s meteoric rise in Rugby has continued
as he becomes just the third player in the 14-year history of the John Eales Medal
to collect the major award for a second time, joining George Smith (2002, 2008)
and Nathan Sharpe (2007, 2012).

At a packed gala dinner at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, the ARU celebrated
and acknowledged the men and women in the Australian Rugby community ‘ players,
coaches, fans, match officials and administrators – for their dedication, commitment
and outstanding performance.

Folau picked up 138 votes in total to edge out resurgent flanker David Pocock
(113), Wallabies Vice-Captains Michael Hooper (108) and Adam Ashley-Cooper
(98), and Ben McCalman (95) to become the first ever back-to-back winner.

Building again on his first two seasons in Rugby, Folau produced another standout
Rugby Championship campaign before being judged the Wallabies’ best in a
losing effort against the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup decider.

The three-code star has played in every Wallabies Test since making his
debut in the gold jersey against the British and Irish Lions in 2013. He has
now played 33 Tests for the Wallabies and has crossed for 18 tries.

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver congratulated Folau on becoming the first
player to claim the John Eales Medal in consecutive years.

“Israel is a special talent and a wonderful ambassador for our game and
he has once again proven to be the most outstanding player for the Wallabies
over the past year.

“It is a huge credit to Israel that he has been committed to learning
the game and has developed into a truly world-class fullback.

“We are delighted that he will remain in our game for the long-term after
signing a three-year contract extension with Australian Rugby and the Waratahs
this year and we are excited to see what he can produce for the Wallabies at
his first Rugby World Cup in the UK next month.”

The John Eales Medallist is voted for by Wallabies players on a 3-2-1
basis after each Test match. Folau accumulated the most points in the designated
period from the 2014 Spring Tour to the second Bledisloe Cup Test against New
Zealand earlier this month.

The 26-year-old also took out the Super Rugby Try of the Year award for being
the player deemed most responsible for Tolu Latu’s match-winning Round
6 try against the Brumbies.

The Wallabies depart on Saturday (August 29) to play an historic Test
against the USA Eagles in Chicago on September 5, before jetting across to the
UK for a short training camp in Bath, prior to their opening 2015 Rugby World
Cup pool match against Fiji at Millennium Stadium on September 23.

Other awards presented at the John Eales Medal ceremony included the latest
inductees to the Wallaby Hall of Fame.

Pre-World War II Wallabies hooker John ‘Jock’ Blackwood, post-war
scrumhalf Cyril Burke and star centre of the modern era, Tim Horan, were the
three players chosen to join an elite group of just 32 others in the Wallaby
Hall of Fame.

Each inductee was chosen for demonstrating outstanding ability, sportsmanship,
commitment, character and personal contribution to their team and the game in
their era.

After claiming three awards at last year’s John Eales Medal ceremony,
Wallabies and Melbourne Rebels back-rower Sean McMahon continued his sharp trajectory
in the game by being named Wallabies Rookie of the Year.

Michael Hooper was also on the winners list, voted for the third consecutive
year as ‘Australia’s Choice’ for Wallaby of the Year.
Hooper once again polled highest in the fan vote on Rugby.com.au, which in 2015
attracted double the number of votes from 2014.

Wallabies and Brumbies flanker David Pocock capped off a triumphant return
from back-to-back season-ending knee injuries by winning the Super
Rugby Player of the Year.

Pocock’s Brumbies team mate, 25-year-old lock Rory Arnold was named Super Rugby Rookie of the Year.

Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika collected the Super
Rugby Coach of the Year award after leading the NSW Waratahs to a second consecutive
Australian conference title. The Waratahs, meanwhile, where once again the Super Rugby Team of the Year.

Ed Jenkins won The Shawn Mackay Award for Men’s Sevens Player of
the Year, while Sharni Williams took the gong for Women’s Sevens
Player of the Year in the first year that The Shaun Mackay Award was awarded
across both teams.

As skipper of the women’s team Williams was a standout as the Aussies
finished third in the 2014/2015 Sevens World Series, which earned the side automatic
qualification for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 where Rugby Sevens will debut
as an Olympic sport.

In other awards, Sydneysider Anthony Moyes won the Roger Vanderfield Award for
Referee of the Year, while Sydney’s Ariana Kaiwai won the Women’s
Player of the Year award for her outstanding performance in the 2015 Women’s
XVs National Championships.

Queensland flanker Michael Gunn got the nod as the Australian Under 20s Player
of the Year after a series of powerful displays at the World Rugby U20 Championship
in Italy.

Randwick Club legend Jeffrey Sayle OAM was presented with the Nick Farr-Jones
Spirit of Rugby award and former ARU administrator, Women’s President
and current Women’s Rugby Patron Joan Forno received the Joe French Award
for service to Australian Rugby.

The Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Gosford’s Andrew Ellem,
while John Woodhouse of Kiwi Hawthorn Rugby Club was recognised as Lifetime
Volunteer of the Year and Lindfield’s Andrew Morbey claimed ‘s
Young Volunteer award.

Angus Gardner collected the TNT Super Rugby Referee of the Series and Ted Vinson
of Charters Towers Rugby Club took home the Community Coach of
the Year.

2015 John Eales Medal Awards

John Eales Medal: Israel Folau

Wallabies Rookie of the Year: Sean McMahon

Wallaby Try of the Year: Nick Phipps ( Wallabies v Ireland,
Dublin)

Australia’s Choice ‘ Wallaby of the Year: Michael Hooper

Wallabies Hall of Fame: John ‘Jock’ Blackwood, Cyril
Burke and Tim Horan

Super Rugby Player of the Year: David Pocock (Brumbies)

Super Rugby Team of the Year: NSW Waratahs

Super Rugby Coach of the Year: Michael Cheika (NSW Waratahs)

Super Rugby Rookie of the Year: Rory Arnold (Brumbies)

Super Rugby Try of the Year: Israel Folau (most responsible)
– Tolu Latu try, NSW Waratahs v Brumbies, Round 6

Super Rugby Referee of the Series: Angus Gardner

Australian U20s Player of the Year: Michael Gunn

The Shawn Mackay Award Men’s Sevens Player of the Year: Ed
Jenkins

The Shawn Mackay Award Women’s Sevens Player of the Year:
Sharni Williams

Women’s Player of the Year: Ariana Kaiwai (Sydney)

Joe French Award: Joan Forno

Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award: Jeffrey Sayle OAM

Roger Vanderfield Award – Referee of the Year: Anthony Moyes

Volunteer of the Year: Andrew Ellem (Gosford)

Lifetime Volunteer of the Year: John Woodhouse (Kiwi Hawthorn)

Young Volunteer of the Year (U25): Andrew Morbey (Lindfield)

Community Coach of the Year: Ted Vinson (Charters Towers)

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