Akira Ioane was rewarded for a colossal Super Rugby season when the Blues recognised achievements last night.
Ioane, who played in all 17 games for the Blues and was never subbed, earned the 2018 Most Valuable Player of the Year honour, as well as voted the Players’ Player of the Year.
The 23-year-old was emotional in accepting the awards and already focussing on better things next year, after recently extending his contract with the Blues.
It capped a happy night for the Ioane family, with younger brother Rieko voted by fans’ as the Pullman Auckland Fans’ Player of the Year.
Rising star Dalton Papalii was awarded Rookie of the Year as well as Club Person of the Year, while 2017 New Zealand Under-20 representative Orbyn Leger is the Blues Development Player of the Year.
The function also acknowledged and honoured departing staff and players including Jerome Kaino and George Moala, with over 200 Blues appearances between them, who are both to play in France.
The awards were:
- KFC Mashed ‘Em Moment – Matt Duffie
- Community Award presented by Nestle – Murphy Taramai
- Development Player of the Year presented by 2Degrees – Orbyn Leger
- Rookie of the Year presented by nib – Dalton Papalii
- Club Person of the Year presented by Barfoot & Thompson – Dalton Papalii
- Players’ Player of the Year presented by BNZ – Akira Ioane
- Pullman Auckland Fans’ Player of the Year – Rieko Ioane
- Most Valuable Player – Akira Ioane.
Also announced at the awards was nib’s extension of their partnership for three more years.
“We’ve been able to build great brand awareness and affinity with Blues and Super Rugby fans alike thanks to our sponsorship of the club which has been a contributor to our ongoing growth in the local private health insurance market,” said Mr Hennin, Chief Executive Officer, nib New Zealand.