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Cardiff Blues 2009/10 Season Awards

12th May 2010

After recording a hard fought win against Munster earlier in the evening, the player's 2009/10 achievements were recognised with the annual awards ceremony after the final home game of the season.

After recording a hard fought win against Munster earlier in the evening, the player's 2009/10 achievements were recognised with the annual awards ceremony after the final home game of the season.

With the whole squad in attendance, including coaching staff and academy players, chairman Peter Thomas commended the efforts of all Cardiff Blues staff for their efforts on and off the field this season and looked ahead to the region’s Amlin Challenge Cup final in a fortnight.

The awards, compared by Frances Donovan, were kicked off with the award for Academy Player of the season sponsored by Canterbury. In this category were Dan Fish, the Glamorgan Wanderers youth and Blues U20’s fullback who represented Wales in each game of this season’s U20’s Six Nations tournament. The St. David’s College six form pupil scored tries against France and Italy in the tournament as well as getting a brace against Ireland.

Also in the category was James Loxton, the fullback made his Blues senior debut last season against Ulster at Ravenhill, the fullback also visited Japan in the same year as part of the U20’s world cup squad. Loxton also played in each of Wales’ U20’s Six Nations matches this season.

Owen Williams had an outstanding season for Cardiff RFC, the former Aberdare Boys pupil has been part of Wales age grade squads at U16, U18 and now U20’s level. This season Owen was included in the U20’s Six Nations squad but was unlucky to be injured against England in the opening fixture, sitting out the rest of the tournament on the sidelines.

The award went to Pontypridd second row, Macauley Cook. The former Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Y Cymer pupil has come through the Treorchy youth system and has impressed in the International set up, playing this season for the Wales U20’s side. Macauley has a further 2 years at this level ahead of him and looks set to be a bright talent for the future.

The next award to be given out, sponsored by Severnside, was Most Promising player. In this category were four young men who have each made their senior Blues team debut this season.

The first candidate for the award was Josh Navidi, the dread-locked openside captained the Wales U20’s squad this season and led them to victory in all three of their home fixtures, including an impressive win against France at Cardiff Arms Park. The former Brynteg Comprehensive pupil made his Blues debut against Leinster at the RDS coming on as a substitute, his impressive performance earned him a start against London Irish in the LV= Cup.

Lloyd Williams, a student at UWIC, was this season awarded one of the WRUs core Sevens contracts. The scrum half has to date represented Wales at all of the six IRB World 7s tournaments. The former Cowbridge Comprehensive pupil was included in the Wales U20s world cup squad last season even though he had missed much of the season through injury and performed well in the tournament in Japan. Lloyd made his Blues debut against Leinster at home this season and came on as a replacement earlier in the evening against Munster.

Prop Scott Andrews made his Blues debut in the Heineken Cup in the win against Harlequins this season coming on as a replacement for John Yapp. Scott a former Y Pant Comprehensive pupil played in the inaugural Junior World Championships in 2008 where Wales reached the last four of the tournament. He has also captained his country at U20’s level in the 2009 Six Nations and in the Junior World cup of the same year.

The award went to Andries Pretorius the 23 year old who joined the Blues this season from Gloucester. The strong back row forward, born and bred in South Africa, moved to the UK in 2006 to study Business at Hartpury College, captaining the university as well as representing English University students during his time there. Andries joined the Blues on a three year contract and is eager to impress in pursuit of eligibility for Wales through the 3 year residency rule.

The third award of the evening went to the Player’s Player of the year and was sponsored by Fosters. Each member of the Cardiff Blues senior squad voted for their player of the season. The 4 with the most votes were from their team mates were;

Kiwi Casey Laulala, in his first season at Cardiff Blues. The former All Black started his season in December but soon made up for his late start with 6 tries to date in his debut term at the region. Laulala has been described as being one of the hardest players to contain in broken field play and has made a massive impact since his first start against Connacht in Galway.

Richie Rees the scrum half who joined the Blues from London Irish in 2006 has had a dream season. As well as being one of the region’s stand out players, Richie earned his first Wales cap this season, after being called into Warren Gatland’s RBS Six Nations squad. Richie made his first start for his country in the defeat against eventual grand slam winners France at the Millennium Stadium.

Xavier Rush, the man-mountain number 8 has had another impressive season for the Blues, a region his has served since 2005. This season Rush a former Blues captain earned his 100th cap against Ulster this spring.

The winner of the award was the Blues prop-star Taufa’ao Filise, the powerful front row has been in outstanding form this season. As well as winning Player’s Player of the season Fa’ao has been challenging for top try scorer with 5 to his name so far, the most memorable being his barnstorming run against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup that saw the Tongan turn on the pace and swat French Fullback Clement Poitrenaud aside before touching down.

The final award of the night was presented by Paul Watson of EADS, the Blues principal partner. The award for player of the season shortlisted four players who have performed consistently well for the region and been instrumental in the side reaching their first European final.
The nominees included Taufa’ao Filise and Richie Rees both up for their second award of the evening as well as Bradley Davies. Bradley has shown great maturity and ability on and off the field this season, earning himself a place in Warren Gatland’s Wales squad as well as allowing his talent to shine through during a difficult season where he sadly lost his mother. Bradley is a favourite with the Blues faithful with his energy and commitment on the field for the region.

The winner of the 2009/10 Player of the Season award was Xavier Rush. The back-row forward has been an inspiration for the Blues since joining in 2005. The former All Black entertained the audience with his award acceptance speech and extended his warm thanks to all those who have made him feel so welcome in Wales throughout his time with the region.