Ultimate Rugby's Super Rugby Season Awards

Ultimate Rugby's Super Rugby Season Awards

As we head into the Super Rugby playoffs we have handed out awards for the 2018 Super Rugby Player of the Year, Most Valued Player and more. 

Rookie Forward of the Year - Shannon Frizell

Highlanders flanker Shannon Frizell enjoyed a fantastic debut season in Super Rugby.

He repaid Aaron Mauger's faith in him scoring a try on his first start against the Brumbies before scoring a hattrick the following week against the Blues.

His performance caught the eye of the All Black selectors and made his test debut against France in June.

Runners-up: Marco van Staden, Karl Tuinukuafe and Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Rookie Back of the Year - Aphiwe Dyantyi

The Lions' flyer burst onto the scene on the first week of the season scoring a sensational try debut try against the Sharks.

His quick feet and blistering pace make him one of the most dangerous attacking weapons in the competition. 

He followed up his superb debut with a brace against the Jaguares a week later. 

He earned his test debut in June against England where he also dotted down for a 5 pointer on his debut. 

Runners-up: Bautista Delguy, Jordan Petaia and Teihorangi Walden

Forward Recruit of the Year - Tyler Ardron

Replacing Michael Leitch was not going to be an easy task but Colin Cooper came up with a fantastic coup in Canadian international Tyler Ardron.

Ardron was originally signed to cover the back row but excelled in the Chiefs' second row. 

The Canadian international has looked right at home in the Chiefs' engine room and put in a number of stellar performances especially in the absence of Brodie Retallick.

Ardron scored 3 tries in 10 matches during the regular season. 

Runners-up: Geoff Parling, Gareth Evans and Jean-Pierre Smith

Back Recruit of the Year - Hayden Parker

Hayden Parker has always displayed signs of promise throughout his career but struggled with injuries in New Zealand.

The move to Japan seems to have done the trick for the 27-year-old who was in fantastic form the Sunwolves in their most successful season to-date.

Parker finished the season as the most successful goal kicker after converting 98% of his kicks missing just two of his 50 attempts.

He also kicked a record 38 consecutive goals and slotted a drop goal off wrong foot to beat the Stormers. 

Runners-up: Robert du Preez, Fiipo Daugunu and Michael Little

Breakthrough of the Year - Ben Lam

Lam's 4th season in Super Rugby was by far his best with the winger scoring 14 tries in 16 matches for the Hurricanes.

He successfully broke into the Hurricanes squad having only made 5 appearances last season.

Lam sits two tries short of the all-time Super Rugby trying scoring record in one season and could break the record during the playoffs. 

Runners-up: Jack Maddocks, Cyle Brink and Karl Tuinukuafe

Team of the Year - Jaguares

The Crusaders were close to claiming this award after finishing the season on top of the overall log and having lost just two games all season. 

The Jaguares, however, take the award after a stellar season under the guidance of Mario Ledesma. 

The Argentines finished the regular season with 9 wins from their 16 games - their highest total of wins in the competition to date.

An impressive run of form between April and June saw the Jaguares win seven games consecutively and saw them record wins in Australia and New Zealand for the first time.

Forward of the Year - Akira Ioane

Ioane was a consistent performer for an underperforming Blues side that finished bottom of the New Zealand conference.

He finished the regular season with 8 tries, a joint high for a forward in the competition. 

Ioane was one of the best attacking forwards in the competition finishing as the regular season as the joint top scoring foward, second highest carrying forward and beat more defenders than any other player in the competition. 

Runners-up: Malcolm Marx, Luke Whitelock and David Pocock

Back of the Year - Damian McKenzie

Last season's player of the tournament enjoyed yet another fantastic season with the Chiefs albeit in his schoolboy position. 

The transition to first five was an easy one for McKenzie as he helped an injury-ravaged Chiefs' side secure a Super Rugby playoff spot.

McKenzie topped the metres gained, carries and defenders beaten last season but his numbers have taken a bit more of a hit since taken over the playmaker duties from Aaron Cruden.

He has managed to remain in the top 15 in each of those categories. 

Runners-up: Jack Goodhue, Emiliano Boffelli and Rob Thompson 

MVP of the Year - Amanaki Mafi

Our most valued player award goes to the player that consistently performed for their side and was vital component of their success.

Mafi regularly claimed the no.8 jersey in our weekly Super Rugby Team of the Round and even when he didn't he was a close second.

He worked tirelessly for the Rebels in every game hitting double digits in the tackles and carries department and made over 100 running metres on a regular basis.

He started all 16 of the Rebels matches and scored a try every other match for the Melbourne-based side. 

Runners-up: Reece Hodge, Hayden Parker and Franco Mostert

Player of the Year - Kurtley Beale

It's no coincidence that the return of Kurtley Beale to Sydney coincides with the Waratahs return to the Super Rugby playoffs.

The Wallaby playmaker was consistently brilliant for the Waratahs as they broke the drought against New Zealand opposition and claimed top spot in the Australian conference and 3rd overall.

Beale was the fix the Waratahs' attack desperately needed with the side averaging almost two more tries a game more than they averaged last season. 

His attacking contribution to side is also emphasised by the fact that his side scored the majority of their tries from first phase possession and only the Crusaders and Lions scored more tries the Waratahs. 

Runners-up: Amanaki Mafi, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock and Damian McKenzie

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