New Zealand Rugby celebrated a historic and prestigious accolade with the Black Ferns Sevens becoming the first rugby team to be awarded the Lonsdale Cup.
The recognition was presented to the team at the New Zealand Olympic Gala Dinner on Monday night where the Black Ferns Sevens were acknowledged for a stellar 2018 among their Olympic and Commonwealth Games peers. The Ferns Sevens capped off a ground breaking 2018 campaign by winning their fifth World Series tournament in Dubai last weekend (less their renowned Mid North speedster Portia Woodman, out with a ruptured achilles tendon) along with a historic Commonwealth Games Gold in April, and a World Cup Sevens title in July. New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said the recognition was thoroughly deserved: “On behalf of New Zealand Rugby I would like to congratulate the Black Ferns Sevens on receiving this significant award. This is a team that demonstrates our rugby values in everything they do on and off the field and it is fantastic to see that recognised by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.”
The Lonsdale Cup was first awarded in 1961, with Sir Murray Halberg the inaugural recipient. Since then it has been won by a host New Zealand’s top athletes including Dame Valerie Adams, Lisa Carrington, Sir John Walker, Barbara Kendall and Sir Peter Snell.