Monday, January 18, 2016

Rock 'n' Roll Awards: 2015: Part One

Award season has begun and, in keeping with the spirit of things,  we present our annual Ruck 'n' Roll Awards.

Team of the Year
Tier two Nations stood to be counted – not least Japan and their incredible victory over the ‘Boks – Argentina proved their worth and Toulon continued to dominate European rugby. There can only be one true winner though and that is the mighty All Blacks.

Player of the Year
David Pocock has been incredible and is arguably the best openside in World rugby... even when at 8. However, after finally getting his hands on the Webb Ellis trophy and playing a vital role in doing so, Dan Carter is thoroughly deserving of the award.

Match of the Year
The World Cup served some absolutely classic encounters; New Zealand’s annihilation of France - who also put on a classic against England at "Super Saturday" - a battered Wales picking themselves up to just edge England, Scotland losing to the Wallabies due to a last minute controversial decision, the list goes on. There have been few better or more memorable than Japan v South Africa though. When Karne Hesketh scored with time up on the clock, rugby history was written.

Tit of the Year
England centre Jonathan Joseph’s year started well, but injury forced him out of the World Cup even earlier than his team mates. He picks up this award though for cheating on his girlfriend of seven years with “celebrity” Casey Bachelor who then sold her story to the press.

Twit of the Year
Joe Marler. Why? The only person to ever block the Ruck 'n' Roll twitter account.

Twat of the Year
Yoann Huget the winner for his little show against Bath, storming into Bath players with his forearm and shoulder after play had stopped and then taking a dive and staying down as though injured, while physios treated a real injury a few feet away. 
Tweeter of the Year
Rugby World journalist, Scrum V Radio expert, eighth best dressed man in Wales and now Paul Williams' informative, engaging and friendly social media makes him our Tweeter of the Year.

Tackle of the Year
Ayumu Goromaru was one of the stars of the World Cup, not least for his try saving tackle against Scotland. Julian Savea finally met his match in Michael Hooper's seemingly spring loaded shoulder. Jamie Roberts somehow managed to switch his 17 stone of weight from one foot to the other to thwart Tommy Bowe's near perfect angle running and defy all physics and logic for our tackle of the year.

Biggest Rise
Almost awarded to the tier two nations who came into the world cup and shook things up like you would never have believed. It would be unfair on All Blacks winger Nehe Milner-Skudder though who burst onto the international scene, ripped defences to shreds and helped land the Webb-Ellis trophy. Not a bad year for man nicknamed “The Bus.” Eddie Jones hasn’t had a bad year either.

Biggest Fall
Stuart Lancaster’s year end on a very big low, his England squad crashing out of their own World Cup in the pool stage before getting the sack and replaced by Eddie Jones. However, it is league convert Sam Burgess takes the award. Last year Slammin’ Sam filled the back pages as English rugby’s saviour, the red rose’s Sonny Bill. By the end of this year he was back at South Sydney playing the 13 man code having been pushed too fast and messed around too often by his club and country.

Rugby War Goddess of the Year
As the award is named after Georgia Page it only seems fair she takes the award. The Aussie took social media by storm after breaking her nose playing for Lindenwood University, but finishing her defensive duties before getting patched up and returning for the second half. Plenty of competition for her, not least Sent from my iPhone
Caitlin McArdle who dislocated her finger in the first ever televised women's variety match and popped it back in to carry on with little fuss.

Most Emotional Farewells
It was the year international rugby said goodbye to Mike Phillips, Paul O’Connell, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw. We also had the sad passings of John Gainsford, Charlie Thomas, Jim McCarthy, Norm Berryman, Lily Partridge, Danny Kelly, Aaron Kohring, Mike Stofile and Jonny “Spud” Thomas among many others. However, few were felt as far and wide as the passing of All Black greats Jerry Collins and the game changing Jonah Lomu.

Cameo of the Year
Lloyd Williams appearance against England… on the wing! A scrum half by trade and a winger by necessity. With Wales suffering a freak number of injuries in the build up and during their vital head-to-head with their biggest rivals, Brynmor’s boy was to make an appearance on the left wing. Cue a burst on the outside, a defence splitting kick that would make Andrea Pirlo blush and Gareth Davies collecting to setup and unlikely victory.

Twitter Spat of the Year
AAC and BOD traded blows on social media, Tom Wood and Dave Ward fell out over the treatment of England captain Chris Robshaw and a full openside battle kicked off between James Haskell, Lewis Moody and Neil Back.

Worst Decision of the Year
Plenty who would see Chris Robshaw take the award for shunning the three points against Wales but, whoever called front ball from the subsequent lineout as some questions to answer.

That's all for part one, more awards will follow shortly in part two.

2015 was dominated by New Zealand. In homage to them, here is The Rolling Stones with Paint It Black.

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