Timoci Tavatavanawai sweeps Highlanders awards night

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Tavatavanawai was named the side's Most Valuable Player, along with Back of the Year, Defender of the Year and Fan Player of the Year.

The Highlanders' organisation said Tavatavanawai had been one of their most consistent performers during the season. He was the only player to start all games, and before the last regular-season game against the Hurricanes on Friday, he had totalled 1027 minutes on the field.

He leads the Super Rugby statistics for most turnovers won at the tackle, usually the domain of loose forwards.

Captain and flanker Billy Harmon was awarded Forward of the Year and also the Players' Player of the Year, having also won that award last season.

The Rookie of the Year was Oliver Haig, a Highlanders' high-performance programme graduate who has played 10 games, seven of them as a starter, during the season.

The Highlanders' University of Otago Under-20s Most Valuable Player was Max Ratcliffe, who had an outstanding tournament at the annual Super Rugby Under-2os tournament in Taupo.

All Blacks' prop Ethan de Groot was named the Highlander Man, an award given to the person who best represents the Highlanders' values.

Highlanders' chief executive Roger Clark said, "Ethan is a genuine Highlander Man who not only gives to the club on the field, but also off it. He is integral to our team and is widely respected. At 25, he has achieved so much and still has many years ahead of him."

Other winners included Hayden Michaels, who was named Community Champion; Ayden Johnstone, who received the Player Personal Development Award; and Nasi Manu, who received the Southern Inspiration Award.


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