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JAMES Wilson has been named the Southland Stags 2018 player of the year.

The 35-year-old veteran returned to Southland to link up with the province he had already played for 66 times between 2003 and 2011.

After an impressive stint lining up in France and England, Wilson returned to his Southland roots this year as a much better player than when he departed.

Wilson added plenty of experience to what was a largely Southland set-up this year.

While it had been in the midfield where he had played most of his rugby in recent years, it was at first five-eighth where he spent the majority of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup.

On top of the Stag of the Year honour, Wilson was also honoured with the contribution of the year award and the McKnight & Brown best-dressed Stag award at the Rugby Southland awards function at Rugby Park last night.

Lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit was the other big winner at the awards function following an impressive Mitre 10 Cup season. He was voted by his peers as players’ player of the year, was named most improved forward and picked up the Supporters Club’s most promising player honour.

Eastern-Northern Barbarians outside back Rory van Vugt was named the Stags most improved back, while hard-working loose forward Tony Lamborn was handed the Supporters Club’s player of the year honour.

Wing Isaac Te Tamaki was named the Stags rookie of the year.

AWARD WINNERS

Under 48kg player of the year:Brayden Bevin/Jack Morton

Under 65kg player of the year:Preston Evans

Under 13 player of the year:Lewis Telfer

Under 14 player of the year: Josh Evans

Jonty Carran Trophy for most promising player: Ngarimu Paraki

Under-16 player of the year: Harrison Morton

Under-18 player of the year: Kaleni Elder

Under-19 player of the year: Kaleni Elder

Most improved referee: Jaydyn Watson

Most promising secondary schoolgirls player (Judy Holland Trophy): Bree Thomas

Secondary schoolgirls player of the year: Bree Thomas

Southland Country player of the year: Sheamus McGuigan

Southland B player of the year:Pasilio Tosi

Division 1 club player of the year:Hayden Diack

Kennards Hire club coach of the year: Casey Robertson

Male sevens player of the year:Hayden Edgely

Female sevens player of the year:Kendall Buckingham

Most improved club team (Bill Foster Trophy): Bluff

Most promising men’s player:Manaaki Selby-Rickit

Supporters Club player of the year:Tony Lamborn

Stags contribution award: James Wilson

Stags rookie of the year: Isaac Te Tamaki

Stags most improved forward:Manaaki Selby-Rickit

Stags most improved back: Rory van Vugt

McKnight & Brown best-dressed Stag: James Wilson

NZRPA & Speight’s personal development award: James Wilson

Stags players player: Manaaki Selby-Rickit

Stag of the Year: James Wilson

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