Just days after a bonus point win secured a home semi-final for the Ospreys in end of season PRO12 play-offs, the annual end of year awards at the Liberty Stadium saw players and staff honoured for their achievements throughout the season.
As usual, there were three ‘Player of the Year’ awards, voted separately by the coaches, the players themselves, and the supporters.
Richard Hibbard was a first time winner, taking the Players’ Player award just ahead of Duncan Jones and Ashley Beck, based on votes cast throughout the season by the matchday 23 following each individual match while the Coaches’ Player award went to Tom Smith, with Dan Biggar and Ashley Beck close behind in the reckoning.
The Worthington’s Fans award was particularly keenly contested, with the public vote eventually going to Ashley Beck, with Dan Biggar second and Justin Tipuric third.
Some future Ospreys were also recognised, with Neath born back-rower Callum Davies taking the Most Improved Elite Youth Development Player trophy and Rhodri Hughes, a second row from Pontarddulais, crowned the Elite Youth Development Player of the Year.
A number of other accolades were recognised, with caps handed out to award winner Beck along with Ryan Bevington, Richard Fussell and Rhys Webb to mark 50 Ospreys appearances by each player, while Ian Gough, Ian Evans and Dan Biggar were acknowledged for completing a century of appearances.
In Biggar’s case, he became the youngest Ospreys centurion ever this season, aged just 22, while he also leapfrogged Gavin Henson and James Hook to become the region’s all-time highest points scorer and sits just 27 short of 1000.
The final award of the night was the Osprey of the Year. Judged by members of the senior management team from various departments of the organisation, the award recognises the person who has given the most to the Ospreys on or off the field over the course of the season, giving the most to the Ospreys culture while offering support and/or assistance to players, management and staff while maintaining the highest professional standards at all times.
All players, management and staff members are eligible for the award, which eventually went to Ben Rose from the Ospreys Community Rugby team, Regional Development Manager and acting Head Coach of Bridgend Ravens RFC.
Speaking about the awards Managing Director, Roger Blyth, said:
“Coming just a matter of days after an impressive win over Newport Gwent Dragons in front of the season’s highest crowd to book our place in the end of season play-offs for a third consecutive year it seems a highly appropriate time to reflect on what we’ve done over the last nine months and where we stand right now.
“It’s been a difficult year for many reasons, but we’ve not shied away from the many challenges that we’ve faced along the way, showing the kind of spirit and determination to succeed that is expected of an Osprey. We’ve continued to work hard towards our ultimate aim of delivering long-term, sustainable success and every one of the individuals honoured tonight can take great pride in their award, and also, the knowledge that they have played a part in what we hope will ultimately prove to be another successful season for the region, with a fourth Celtic League crown to round it off.”