New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has today said it was humbled at having the achievements of the All Blacks recognised with the Princess of Asturias Award for Sport in 2017.
NZR Chief Executive, Steve Tew said the achievement was a welcome surprise.
“We received a telegram overnight from King Felipe VI of Spain congratulating the team which was incredible. It’s a great honour to have the All Blacks recognised with the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award. The team and all at New Zealand Rugby are humbled by the award and grateful to the Foundation and fans around the world for their fantastic support.
“We’re also very grateful for the nomination of the All Blacks for the award which was made by Spanish Ambassador in New Zealand, Mr Manuel Pradas Romaní, with the support of the New Zealand’s Ambassador in Madrid, Mr Andrew Jenks.”
The Princess of Asturias Awards are considered to be amongst the most important in the global cultural agenda, especially in the Spanish-speaking world, and are intended to acknowledge exemplary and internationally recognised cultural, scientific and social achievements. As well as considering performance, the awards also recognise sporting values such as solidarity and sportsmanship.
“The list of previous winners of these awards is remarkable with the likes of Michael Schumacher, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Severiano Ballesteros and Brazil’s National Soccer Squad being honoured. Having the All Blacks acknowledged along with world leaders in sport is great recognition for the All Blacks and also for rugby,” said Tew.
“Our game is being increasingly played in Spanish-speaking countries around the world and this award will further strengthen the popularity of rugby and the reputation of our teams in black.”