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Garden-Bachop named Lions Player of the Year

16 October 2017

MONDAY 16 October 2017

Lions first five Jackson Garden-Bachop has been named Wellington Lions Player of the Year at the 2017 Wellington Representative Rugby Awards.

On a night that saw Wellington Rugby recognise the union’s highest performing teams, players and coaches, Lions head coach Chris Gibbes scooped the Coach of the Year award after winning nine of ten regular season Mitre 10 Cup Championship matches in his first season in charge.

Garden-Bachop won the Lions Player of the Year award after a season that’s seen him appear in all 10 of the team's matches including nine starts, and tally 109 points heading into the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old’s game management and steady goal kicking has been a feature for a player who debuted for the Lions in 2013 and has grown into one of the senior leaders of the squad.

Garden-Bachop has flourished under Gibbes who has added a steely resolve to the team without impacting on their ability to play an expansive game when required.

Gibbes has wasted little time stamping his mark on the Wellington squad after returning to New Zealand from a stint with Welsh club Ospreys to take the Lions head coaching role.

Under his guidance, and that of assistants Andre Bell and Rodney So’oialo, the Lions topped the Mitre 10 Cup Championship ladder with ten successive bonus point performances in 2017 to earn home advantage for the playoffs, and scored 59 tries in the process.

Gibbes was awarded the 2017 Bill Freeman Memorial Coach of the Year Award.
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A number of previously unheralded players have emerged in the Lions under Gibbes' tutelage including Old Boys University midfielder Regan Verney, who has been rewarded with the Wellington Lions Rookie of the Year Award.

Outstanding hooker Asafo Aumua has been recognised as the Wellington Rugby Supporter’s Club Player of the Year. The Avalon rake has been a human highlights reel for the Lions, scoring seven tries in nine appearances.
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Although the Wellington Pride did not reach their own goals in 2017 the women’s representative side undoubtedly highlighted a bright future during their Farah Palmer Cup campaign.

Under first year Pride coach Ross Bond, the Pride played entertaining rugby that highlighted the young talent that is emerging from within the Wellington region.

Pride Rookie of the Year, prop Angel Uila was an example of the promise within a squad that lost to the powerful Auckland squad 31-30, and who competed well for large chunks of their matches against competition front runners Counties-Manukau and Canterbury.

Senior player and captain Jackie Patea-Fereti was named the Pride Player of the Year.
The awards night also recognised Wellington’s age grade and Academy players with Petone loose forward Jake Quin named Wellington U19 Player of the Year.

Young Lions and Marist St Pats centre Billy Proctor was awarded the Al Keown Memorial Cup as the best performing player in the 2017 Wellington Rugby Academy.

Wellington club and Development Team wing Ollie Sapsford was awarded the Ken Comber Memorial Cup as the player who best embraced the Academy’s philosophy for his work ethic and character.

Marist St Pats loose forward Matt Peni was named Development Team Player of the Year and was also a member of the Wellington Samoan team which won the 2017 Festival Cup.

Wellington Representative Rugby Awards 2017 Winners

Wellington Lions Player of the Year
Jackson Garden-Bachop

Wellington Pride Player of the Year
Jackie Patea-Fereti

Wellington Lions Rookie of the Year
Regan Verney

Wellington Pride Rookie of the Year
Angel Uila

Wellington Supporters Club Player of the Year
Asafo Aumua – Wellington Lions

Bill Freeman Memorial Coach of the Year
Chris Gibbes – Wellington Lions

Festival Cup Winner
Wellington Samoans

Wellington Development Team Player of the Year
Matt Peni

Wellington U19 Player of the Year
Jake Quin

Wellington U18 Girls Player of the Year
Damaris Samani

Wellington U16 Player of the Year
Ropati So’oalo

Al Keown Memorial Cup
Awarded to the best performing rugby player in the 2017 Wellington Rugby Academy
Billy Proctor

Ken Comber Memorial Cup
Awarded to the player who best embraced the Academy philosophy
Ollie Sapsford