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Crusaders Awards Winners 2023

The Crusaders have named their Rookie of the Year, their Player of the Year, and their Champion Crusader.


While Rookie and Player were decided by coaches, Champion Crusader is voted by peers.


The awards are an important part of team culture, celebrating achievements throughout the season, as well as recognising efforts off the field.


So, here are your Crusaders Awards for 2023. 

Rookie of the Year

noah award



 Taking out Rookie of the Year for the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season is…Noah Hotham! 


One of the country’s most promising halfbacks, Noah debuted for the Crusaders in Round 2 versus the Highlanders when the team travelled to Melbourne for Super Round.


He started in three of his seven appearances in his debut season before being called up to captain the New Zealand U20 at the Junior World Championships in South Africa.

noah award

Player of the Year

leicester award



Player of the Year for the ’23 season is…Leicester Fainga’anuku!


Leicester ended the season as the competition’s top try scorer, crossing the line 13 times – usually in acrobatic style. Not afraid of contact, he could often be found winning ball at the breakdown and was a regular line breaker.


He’s called time (for now) on his days with the Crusaders, set to finish his national duties with the All Blacks before heading off to Toulon and the hard-hitting Top 14 competition in France. 

leicester award

Champion Crusader

richie award



As voted by his peers, Champion Crusader this year is…Richie Mo’unga!


To summarise the career and the success of a Crusader like Richie is hard. Having come to terms with the ’23 season being his last, the boys rallied around their first five and awarded him this honour.


On his departure from the Crusaders, Richie bought up 2000 first-class points and found himself fourth in the all-time Super Rugby top point scorers with 1227 points. This season he also played his 100th game for the franchise, an achievement immortalised on the walls of Rugby Park.


He’ll complete his national duties with the All Blacks to close out 2023 before jumping on a plane to Japan with his family to play for Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo. 

richie award