SRA team grades and awards
What can I say, the Crusaders juggernaut keeps rolling and it’s difficult to see when it will stop. Another title, but I haven’t given them an A+ due to that one loss against the Hurricanes. With a player drain unlikely for next year the Crusaders will once again be the team to beat when 2021 rolls around.
Season rank: A
Forward of the year: Codie Taylor
Back of the year: Richie Mo’unga
Most improved player: Will Jordan
The Blues are back. Not the perfect season by any stretch but it’s a massive improvement on years gone by so I have given the Aucklanders an A-
The foundation is there to kick on and become a team that will consistently contend for the title, especially if they keep enticing players into Auckland rather than out of it.
Season rank: A-
Forward of the year: Hoskins Sotutu
Back of the year: Caleb Clarke
Most improved player: Akira Ioane
I have given the Canes a B for Super Rugby Aotearoa. They wouldn’t have been happy with how they started and finished the tournament, however a sweet run of five victories including a Kiwi grand slam shows there is plenty of firepower in this side to be a force moving forward. A couple of good off-season signings and they should be there or there abouts once again next year.
Season rank: B
Forward of the year: Scott Scrafton
Back of the year: Jordie Barrett
Most improved player: Peter Umaga Jensen
I have also given the Highlanders a B grade considering how they’ve responded from that massive player drain in 2019. They have played some enterprising footy this year and are starting to grow crucial combinations in key areas. Like the Hurricanes and Blues they have a good core group of young players that will help set the standard for success moving forward.
Season rank: B
Forward of the year: Marino Mikaele Tu’u
Back of the year: Aaron Smith
Most improved player: Pari Pari Parkinson
The Chiefs have tried hard all year but their skill execution and inability to finish off chances cost them dearly in what was a brutal competition. I’m confident they will get back into the groove in 2021 but it may take a few hard truths within their environment before they get that chance.
Season rank: D
Forward of the year: Lachlan Boshier
Back of the year: Solomon Alaimalo (debate away)
Most improved player: Naitoa Ah Koui