• Major 2016 Contributors to New Zealand Rugby

    It is awards season, the time of the year where outstanding contributors are recognized for jobs well done in 2016 and perhaps supplying some impetus for similar accomplishment in 2017.

    In New Zealand, that means the All Blacks, or in the case of the Super Rugby League, the Hurricanes, for which Dane Coles occupied a prominent role.

    Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick also performed admirably, as did forward Owen Franks, who quality went about his job and did it well without demanding notoriety.

    For overall progress, it is hard to ignore the transformation of Beauden Barrett, who earned the starting five spot solely on his performance and had major growth in both the offensive and defensive components of his game.

    For his ability to read defenses and make accurate tackles, Ryan Crotty was indispensable and provided major benefits to all those around him whilst going about his job.

    As for the newer members of the squad, it is hard to overlook Anton Lienert-Brown, Liam Squire or Scott Barrett. Lienert-Brown plays with the rugby sense of a veteran of many campaigns, no matter if he was at second, five, or centre. Squire and Barrett displayed inexhaustible enthusiasm from the first whistle to the last and show every indication of becoming formidable test match players.