Tonga’uiha scoops double award with Saints

Soane Tonga’uiha collected a Player of the Season double at last night’s Northampton Saints Awards Dinner.

Tonga’uiha was named both the Supporters’ Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season for a campaign in which he finished as the Guinness Premiership’s top try scoring prop and among the league’s top ten ball carriers.

The awards are just the latest in a long line of plaudits to head Tonga’uiha’s way this season. As well as back-to-back man of the match awards in the semi-final and final of the LV= Cup he also collected a hat trick of Let Yourself Grow Player of the Month awards, voted for by the Saints supporters.

“The awards mean a lot, especially the Players’ Player,” Tonga’uiha said.

“To be recognised by your fellow team mates is a great honour and I’m very pleased that I got it. We got through a lot and competition within the team is healthy. That’s what has got us so far this season.

“I’m just happy to be recognised by my team mates and by the fans as well for the other award. I’m really pleased and quite speechless!

“It has been an unbelievable season. But all the credit has to go to the boys in the team. They’ve made my job easy. I’m doing what I enjoy and they’re doing what they enjoy and it happened to work out for me this year.”

It was the biggest End of Season Awards Dinner in the Saints’ history, with over 650 people packing into a 60-metre marquee erected on the main pitch inside 18 hours by Northampton-based Wings Events.

Tonga’uiha is also nominated for gongs at both the Guinness Premiership and RPA awards, as are the other two Saints awards winners.

Courtney Lawes picked up his second successive Young Player of the Season while Chris Ashton won Try of the Season for his effort against Leicester on October 31st, 2009.

The awards dinner, which was sponsored by Aspers, also saw club caps handed out to Ashton, Joe Ansbro, Neil Best, Lee Dickson, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Ben Foden, Mark Hopley, Juandre Kruger, Euan Murray and Roger Wilson, all of whom passed the 50-appearance mark this season.

Tonga’uiha also received a special award for hitting a century of appearances, as did Jon Clarke, Paul Diggin, Stephen Myler and club captain Dylan Hartley.

There was also a presentation made to the longest-serving player in the current Saints squad, Bruce Reihana, who hit his double century of appearances in the LV= Cup win over Leicester.

The Clubman of the Year award, sponsored by Trevor Dighton, went to Travis Perkins, for whom 2010 marks the tenth year of the company’s position as the Saints’ main sponsor.

“A club like the Saints is more than just about the team,” said Saints chairman Keith Barwell.

“It is also about the people who come here year in, year out and pass their support through generations of their family. The Travis family has done this for nearly a century and the Saints would not be the same without the hard work that has been put in behind the scenes by one Travis after another.

“In the modern era this has also extended to Travis Perkins as a company and we have a fantastic relationship. Both the Saints and Travis Perkins have their heart and soul in Northampton as a town and we are certainly proud that they continue to be our main sponsor.”

The 2010 Saints Awards winners were:
Players’ Player of the Year, sponsored by Carlsberg UK – Soane Tonga’uiha
Supporters’ Player of the Year, sponsored by Lifecrown Investments – Soane Tonga’uiha
Land Rover Discovery of the Season – Courtney Lawes
Try of the Season, sponsored by Hasmead – Chris Ashton (v Leicester, 31/10/09)
Clubman of the Year, sponsored Trevor Dighton – Travis Perkins

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