THE 2019 Rugby Southland awards night was celebrated on Monday.
It was a tough season for the province’s flagship team with the Stags winning just one game in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship. However, the team was competitive throughout the season with their 42-14 win over Counties being the highlight.
The narrow loss to Manawatu was gut-wrenching for all involved, but the team played sublime rugby during the first half of the game. The team also put in good efforts against Northland, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Bay Of Plenty.
Tight-head prop Morgan Mitchell was named the Stags player of the year. The Southland scrum was solid this season and Mitchell played the key part in that. Mitchell also impressed with his mobility and rugged defence in general play.
Mitchell debuted in 2015 and made his 50th appearance in the Stags final game of the season last week against Bay of Plenty.
Morgan’s older brother Brayden is the Stags captain and he was awarded the Rugby Southland Supporters Club player of the year. Brayden played blindside flanker this season rather than his regular spot at hooker due to his neck injury.
The captain was also selected as the Stags player’s player of the year.
Tokanui senior club coach Roger Buckingham took out the coach of the year award. Buckingham and his management group guided Tokanui through an unbeaten season in the division two CJ Soper Cup competition.
Mossburn captain Ryan Carter led his team to victory in the division one Gerald Dermody competition. Carter also played a key role in Southland Country’s win over town, and his form for Southland B earned him their player of the year.
Southland Women’s player of the year went to one of the province’s top sportswomen, Krishanee Tamou.
The full list of Rugby Southland Supporters Club Award winners for the 2019 season:
Stags awards: Player of the year: Morgan Mitchell. Stags player’s player of the year: Brayden Mitchell; Most improved forward: Mike McKee. Most improved back: Raymond Nu’u. Rookie of the year: Josh Moorby. Stags personal development award: Josh Moorby.
Rugby Southland Supporters Club Awards: Player of the year: Brayden Mitchell. Rugby Southland Supporters Club most promising player: Charles Alaimalo.
Senior representative rugby:Southland Country player of the year: Lachie McCall. Southland B player of the year: Ryan Carter. Men’s sevens player of the year: Leigh Bristowe.
Women’s awards: Player of the year: Krishanee Tamou. Most Promising women’s player: Sarah Graham. Women’s sevens player of the year: Amy du Plessis. Under 18 women’s player of the year: Karlee Cruickshank. Under 18 women’s most promising player: Teilah Templeton.
Junior awards: Jonty Carran Trophy (most promising under-16 player): Caleb Williams. Under 16 player of the year: Will Stodart. Under-18 player of the year: Cameron Millar and Aleki Saili. Under 19 player of the year: Morgan Riordan.
Most improved referee: Jason McMath
Club awards: Ack Soper Shield player of the year: Sam Brame. Bill Foster Trophy (most improved club team): Midlands. Coach of the year: Roger Buckingham (Tokanui).