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Laumape wins Hurricanes player of the year

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Ngani Laumape of the Hurricanes is tackled during the Super Rugby Quarter Final match between the Brumbies and the Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on July 21, 2017 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Super Rugby Midfielder Ngani Laumape has scooped the top award at an emotional Hurricanes 2017 Awards Night that saw the club farewell some of its favourite sons.

Laumape was named as the 2017 Hurricanes Player of the Year at the Te Wharewaka Functions Centre after a season that saw the second five score a single season club record of 15 tries to propel himself into the All Blacks.

The 24-year-old was one of only two players in the Hurricanes squad to start every match in 2017, the other being Player of the Year finalist Brad Shields.

Laumape’s 15 tries bettered Tana Umaga’s single-season Hurricanes record, and tied the Investec Super Rugby all-time single season try-count achieved previously by wings Rico Gear (Crusaders in 2005) and Joe Roff (Brumbies in 1997).

Shields and fellow loose forward and Ardie Savea were the other two finalists for the coveted Player of the Year Award.

Laumape, in his second season of Super Rugby, was also a joint winner of the Hurricanes Best & Fairest Award alongside Ardie Savea and centre Matt Proctor. The award is judged on consistency with players awarded 3, 2 or 1 point by their teammates after every match.

First-year fullback Jordie Barrett was named Rookie of the Year ahead of lock Sam Lousi and loose forward Reed Prinsep.

Barrett played in all 18 of the Hurricanes matches and started in 14 of them, scoring 133 points, including seven tries, along the way. The 20-year-old’s form was rewarded with the ultimate accolade when he was called into the All Blacks for the British & Irish Lions series.

Departing openside Callum Gibbins was honoured with the Team Man of the Year Award, a reflection of his selfless service to the club. Gibbins appeared in all but two of the team’s matches in 2017.

Finally, the Super XV Award for 2017 went to injured lock Geoff Cridge. The award is given to those Hurricanes players who, for whatever reason, get little or no game time, but turn up every day with the right attitude.

Cridge was unable to play due to a knee injury suffered before the season began, but was relentless in his efforts to get back on the field. The other finalists were young back Jonah Lowe and halfback Kylem O’Donnell.

Aside from the annual awards the Hurricanes also took the chance to say thank you to a host of players who will not be back with the club in 2018 and to wish them all the best for the next chapters of their careers.

Those players included lock James Broadhurst who was forced into retirement this year due to on-going concussion symptoms. Broadhurst played 71 matches for the Hurricanes up until 2015.

The other departing players from the 2017 squad were Gibbins, lock Mark Abbott, prop Loni Uhila, first five Otere Black, hooker Leni Apisai, halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and club legend wing Cory Jane.

2017 Hurricanes Awards

Player of the Year:
Winner: Ngani Laumape
Finalists: Laumape, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields

Best & Fairest:
Winners: Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Ardie Savea
Finalists: Laumape, Proctor, Ardie Savea

Rookie of the Year:
Winner: Jordie Barrett
Finalists: Barrett, Sam Lousi, Reed Prinsep

Team Man of the Year:
Winner: Callum Gibbins
Finalists: Gibbins, Reg Goodes, Brad Shields

Super XV Award:
Winner: Geoff Cridge
Finalists: Cridge, Jonah Lowe, Kylem O’Donnell

Milestones:
100 Matches: Julian Savea, Dane Coles
50 Matches: Ardie Savea, Ben May, Chris Eves

International Representatives:
All Blacks: Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett, Dane Coles, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Vaea Fifita
Maori All Blacks: Otere Black, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, Ben May, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Reed Prinsep, Matt Proctor, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
NZ Under 20s: Asafo Aumua, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Alex Fidow

Hurricanes debuts:
James Blackwell, James O’Reilly, Jordie Barrett, Pita Ahki, Ben Lam, Reed Prinsep, Toa Halafihi, Hugh Renton, Sam Lousi

Departing players:
Mark Abbott (Japan), Otere Black (Blues), Loni Uhila (France), Callum Gibbins (Scotland), Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Chiefs), Leni Apisai, Cory Jane