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Turnbull and Botham pick up main accolades at End of Season Awards

Community | 23rd May 2022

Back-row duo Josh Turnbull and James Botham were the big winners at Cardiff Rugby End of Season Awards at the Depot on Sunday.

Club captain Turnbull was crowned the Peter Thomas Player of the Year, sponsored by Jellyfish,

The versatile forward has made 14 appearances for the club this season, taking his tally to 171, and demonstrated his trademark work-rate, selflessness and physicality. 

He pipped Botham and James Ratti to the award and while Cardiff Rugby Life President, Thomas admits it was fierce competition, he had no hesitation in selection Turnbull from the shortlist. 

Thomas said: “Every game you get nothing but 100% from Josh. His contribution on and off the pitch as our captain and leader, he has been exemplary in a difficult season. He unquestionably has stature, presence and leads from the front. Everyone respects that and follows. He engages with all aspects with the business and is a real asset to us.

“It wasn’t an easy decision and both James Botham and Jamies Ratti have played at the very top of the game - win lose or draw they can always hold their head high.

“Any one of the three nominees would have been a worthy winner but Josh was chosen for his immense contribution on and off the pitch.”

Having narrowly missed out on the top award, Botham was named Players’ Player of the Year, sponsored by Route Media.

The flanker, who has made 13 appearances and claimed three tries this season , edged out Ratti and Kirby Myhill.

Theo Cabango crowned a stellar debut season by claiming the Discovery of the Season award, sponsored by LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

Having only played his first game of senior rugby at the start of this season, the electric wing has enjoyed a rapid rise. 

He scored seven tries in 11 appearances for Cardiff RFC and was given his first opportunity with the first team while the majority of the squad were in quarantine.

Cabango took his opportunity and impressed against Toulouse before scoring a stunning try against Harlequins and has since bagged four tries in 10 games.

Cardiff Director of Rugby, Dai Young said: “I would like to congratulate James and Theo on their awards and their personal form and achievements this season - they are certainly worthy winners.

“In the Players’ Player category, there were three worthy candidates and I’m sure it was very close in deciding the winner. It is the award that everyone wants to win as it is voted by your peers and James certainly deserves it.

“For Theo it caps a very impressive season. He’s a really good example of how youngsters can come through. He missed out on age-grade rugby due to injury and Covid but got his head down, worked hard with the academy, earned his stripes with the RFC where he had some really good games and got his chance with us. 

“He’s taken that opportunity and is a great example to youngsters and of our pathway working. It’s thoroughly deserved and he is a very exciting prospect, who will only get better.”

There was a special recognition award, sponsored by Glamorgan Brewing Co, to Gruff Rees and his makeshift squad and staff for those two European games while Cardiff RFC were also celebrated for their Indigo Group Welsh Premiership winning season.

Corey Domachowski was an unlikely winner for the try of the season sponsored by Heineken but the loose head prop had finished a length of the pitch team try against Harlequins. 

Ellis Jenkins scooped Hit of the Season, sponsored by Cardiff Life, for his well-timed take down of former fans favourite Gareth Anscombe against the Ospreys. Jenkins beat Botham’s tackle on Alex Dombrandt in the Heineken Champions Cup by just one per cent of the public vote.

Cam Winnett picked up the the Academy Player of the Year award, sponsored by Circle IT, while Gwennan Hopkins scooped Cardiff Rugby Women Under-18s Player of the Year award, sponsored by Dragon Signs.

There was also a section in the awards evening, hosted by Nicky Robinson, to showcase and celebrate the Cardiff Rugby Community Foundation. 

Johanna Lovell won the Club Recognition Award, sponsored by Depot, for her work with Caerau Ely mini and juniors, Mike Baker of Pencoedre High School picked up the School Recognition Awards, sponsored by Ted Hopkins, while Gareth Davies was recognised with the Outstanding Contribution to Community Rugby Award, sponsored by Evans Pharmacy.