The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 Award winners were announced on Sunday following a spectacular conclusion to the Series which saw New Zealand awarded their 14th Series title, Argentina win the HSBC London Sevens, Australia secure the final Paris 2024 Summer Olympics spot and Canada qualify for the 2024 Series as the 12th and final core team.
The outstanding performers of the 2023 Series were honoured at a ceremony held at the Twickenham Stadium on Sunday following the 11th and final round of the men’s 2023 Series.
The awards recognise and celebrate the players and teams who have performed at the highest level across the 2023 Series and produced the most memorable moments that thrilled and inspired fans around the globe.
Aside from the Capgemini Hotstepper Award, which the nominees were voted 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 categories.
MEN’S HSBC WORLD RUGBY SEVENS SERIES 2023 AWARDS WINNERS
Rookie of the Year: Ricardo Duarttee (South Africa)
Nominees: Theo Forner (France) and Joaquin Pellandini (Argentina)
This award goes to a player who has made their HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series debut in the current season and delivered an outstanding performance.
Duarttee made his Series debut for South Africa sevens in Dubai in the second event of the 2023 Series, winning a Cup final in his inaugural event. The 25-year-old played in 52 matches this season, scoring 15 tries, 67 conversions and one penalty for an incredible 212 points in his debut season.
Gilbert Top Try-scorer: Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa)
After scoring an incredible 50 tries across the 11 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 events, Samoa’s Vaa Apelu Maliko has been awarded the Gilbert Top Try Scorer award.
The 24-year-old superstar averaged 4.06 points per game in his 62 matches this season, finishing the 2023 Series with 252 points.
Try of the Series: Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina) v Samoa in Los Angeles
Nominees: Luciano Gonzalez (Argentina) v Samoa in Hong Kong, Guillermo Lijtenstein (Uruguay), v Spain in Sydney
Argentina’s Rodrigo Isgro’s try against Samoa in Los Angeles was awarded the Try of the Series. Isgro played a key role in Los Pumas Sevens winning tournaments in Hamilton, Vancouver and London and finishing a best-ever second place on the 2023 Series.
DHL Impact Player: Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa)
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 was Vaa Apelu Maliko of Samoa, who made 41 breaks, 122 tackles, 55 offloads and 214 carries throughout the 11 events and helped his side lift the cup trophy as champions in Cape Town, South Africa in December.
FAIR PLAY AWARD: Japan
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 Japan.
HSBC Dream Team: Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina), Leroy Carter (New Zealand), Marcos Moneta (Argentina), Akuila Rokolisoa (New Zealand), Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa), Luciano Gonzalez (Argentina), Henry Paterson (Australia)
CAPGEMINI #HOTSTEPPER AWARD: Akuila Rokolisoa (NZL) and Roderick Solo (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 steppers throughout the entire HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023.
Fans voted to determine the nominees and the panel voted to determine the winner, which included multiple ties in voting between Akuila Rokolisoa and Roderick Solo, therefore the award is being shared between the two New Zealanders.