The Tasman Mako celebrate back-to-back premierships. Photo: Photosport.

Mako named team of the year

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The accolades keep coming for our champion Tasman Mako.

Tasman has been named New Zealand Rugby’s national team of the year in a special ASB Rugby Awards TV event on Thursday evening.

The Mako became just the second province to defend a national title after going back-to-back in 2020.

It is a stunning rags to riches story for the Mako, after being on the brink of extinction just a few years ago.

It was a far tougher road to glory this season, after an unbeaten 2019 Tasman dropped three regular season games in 2020.

The Mako lost stars Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Shannon Frizzell and Tyrel Lomax to All Blacks duty, while Ethan Blackadder and Pari Pari Parkinson sat out the campaign through injury.

Despite the adversity, the Mako defied the odds and cemented its status as one of provincial rugby’s powerhouses.

The Mako, who notched their second consecutive Mitre 10 Cup premiership triumph by beating Auckland at Eden Park, saw off fellow championship-winning teams the Crusaders, Hawke’s Bay and the Canterbury Farah Palmer Cup side for the award.

Tasman co-head coaches Andrew Goodman and Clarke Dermody were nominated for national coach of the year, but were pipped by Crusaders’ Scott Robertson.

Halfback Folau Fakatava from Hawke’s Bay was voted Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year, while All Blacks’ skipper Sam Cane was named New Zealand Player of the Year.