The best of women’s rugby sevens celebrated following thrilling 2023 Series finale at HSBC France Sevens
The women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 Award winners were announced on Sunday during a ceremony that saw Series champions New Zealand capturing many of the well-earned accolades.
The outstanding performers of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 were honoured at the Centre des Congrès in Toulouse, France on Sunday following the final round of the women’s Series. The awards recognise and celebrate the players and teams who have performed at the highest level across the seven events this season.
Having lifted six of the seven cup trophies, Series champions New Zealand were heavily represented among the winners with four representatives in the HSBC Dream Team of the Season.
Aside from the Women’s Try of the Series, which was voted for by fans on social media, winners have been selected by the World Rugby Sevens Series Awards panel, comprising former international sevens players and Series commentators, across the eight women’s categories.
WOMEN’S HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES 2023 AWARDS WINNERS
Rookie of the Year: Jorja Miller (NZL)
Nominees: Younis Bese (FIJ) and Sammy Sullivan (USA)
This award goes to a player who has made their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut in the current season. At the age of 19, Jorja Miller has already made her mark on the competition with 18 tries scored for her first participation in the Series.
Fair Play Award: Canada
The Fair Play Award is selected by the match officials and recognises the team who showcase rugby’s values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect. This year's recipient is Canada.
Gilbert Top Try-scorer: Maddison Levi (AUS)
At only 21 and for her second season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Australia’s scoring machine Maddison Levi wins the Gilbert Top Try Scorer award. With 57 tries, she sets a new record on the women's Series, breaking the all-time record held by Portia Woodman (NZL). The future looks bright for Levi and Australia.
Try of the Series: Rhona Lloyd (GBR, v France in Hong Kong)
Nominees: Portia Woodman-Wickliffe (NZL, v Colombia in Vancouver) and Seraphine Okemba (FRA, v Ireland in Hong Kong)
Known for her lightning pace and try-scoring abilities, Rhona Lloyd’s late try against France in Hong Kong ensured Great Britain booked their place in the semi-finals. Lloyd’s emotion after scoring showed what it meant for her and the team which went on to win the bronze medal, their first of the Series.
The other nominees were Portia Woodman-Wickliffe for her powerful end-to-end try in Vancouver against Colombia and Seraphine Okemba (FRA) against Ireland in the Hong Kong fifth place semi-final.
DHL Impact Player: Reapi Ulunisau (FIJ)
This award is for the player who demonstrated the most consistency and delivered the greatest impact against four key criteria – carries, offloads, line-breaks and tackles.
This year’s winner is Fiji's Reapi Ulunisau, who made 78 tackles, 28 breaks, 76 offloads and 152 carries throughout the season.
Capgemini #hotstepper Award: Risi Pouri-Lane (NZL)
Capgemini and World Rugby have been celebrating game changing moments from the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this season, highlighting the best ‘Hot Steppers’ from each tournament. The Capgemini #hotstepper award recognises the most exceptional one-v-one steps and transformational moments of magic on the pitch.
Risi Pouri-Lane with her great footwork and 15 tries scored across the series has won the Capgemini #hotstepper Award.
Fans voted to determine the nominees and the panel voted to determine the winner.
HSBC Dream Team: Maddison Levi (AUS), Charlotte Caslick (AUS), Michaela Blyde (NZL), Stacey Waaka (NZL), Tyla Nathan-Wong (NZL), Ilona Maher (USA), Sarah Hirini (NZL)
Attending the Awards ceremony in Toulouse, World Rugby Vice-Chairman John Jeffrey said: “On behalf of World Rugby, I would like to congratulate all HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 award winners for their tremendous achievements. Winning six trophies out of seven doesn’t go unnoticed and I would like to praise New Zealand for their well-deserved title and the unique brand of rugby showcased this season. Rugby sevens is a truly unique and thrilling sport and with their skills and exceptional tries, players are capturing the hearts of fans around the world. All eyes are now on the revamped Sevens Series kicking off later this year and the Paris 2024 Olympics next summer.”
The awards ceremony for the men’s Series will be held in London after the final round on 20-21 May and the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Award (men and women) will be presented at the annual World Rugby Awards ceremony in October 2023.