Wellington captain Brad Shields has been named 2016 Lions Player of the Year.
The Petone and Hurricanes loose forward edged out teammates Wes Goosen, Sam Lousi and Matt Proctor for the prize player’s award at Wellington Rugby’s annual awards night at Te Papa tonight.
Shields led the Lions by example both on and off the field this season, selflessly rotating between all there loose forward positions as his team required during their run to the Mitre 10 Cup Championship semi-final.
The 25-year-old carried a heavy playing load starting in nine of the Lions eleven matches despite coming off the back of a full Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes.
Shields also achieved his 50th cap for his province during the team’s big win over Northland in Whangarei.
His form this season was with his selection this month in the famous Barbarians squad to play South Africa at Twickenham.
Lions first five Jackson Garden-Bachop was also recognised at the awards evening with the Lions Supporters Club naming him as their player of the season.
A big feature of the Lions squad in 2016 was the exciting young talent on display and none more so than hooker Asafo Aumua.
The 19-year-old took out Wellington Rugby’s Most Promising Player of the Year award he finished the Mitre 10 Cup season as the Lions top try scorer with six including an impressive hattrick against Northland.
Aumua was also a key member of the Wellington Under 19s team that finished third at the Jock Hobbs Memorial national tournament in Taupo.
The Avalon rake headed off a high quality field of finalists including Lions, Wellington Under 19 and New Zealand Under 20s teammates lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, fullback Peter Umaga-Jensen and prop Alex Fidow.
Aumua was also awarded the Al Keown Memorial Cup which was awarded to the best performing player in the 2016 Wellington Rugby Academy.
CAPTION: Asafo Aumua scores one his six tries for the season during the Lions win over Southland at Westpac Stadium. PHOTO: Dave Lintott Photography