Clarke best amber and black
Towering lock also to make Chiefs squadBY MURRAY HILLS
Super 14 lock Craig Clarke was last night named Taranaki rugby player of the year.
At the annual Amber and Black Awards in New Plymouth, Clarke collected the major award after a consistent season in a Taranaki side that largely disappointed this year, finishing eighth in the 14-team Air New Zealand Cup.
And there will be further celebrations for the 2m, 114kg lock today when the 2010 Super 14 squads are officially announced in Auckland, with Clarke a certainty for the Chiefs.
Highlanders midfielder Jayden Hayward was earlier named Taranaki back of the year, with hooker Laurence Corlett named Taranaki forward of the year. Corlett also took home the trophy for most valuable player.
Outstanding prop Michael Bent was named as Taranaki most promising player, with captain and prop Tony Penn awarded the trophy for Taranaki try of the year in the 38-10 win over Otago in New Plymouth.
Penn also shared the trophy for leading tryscorer with winger Shayne Austin, both crossing the line three times.
Other winners for the top side were Nathan Hohaia, who won the Sportsman's Trophy, and Willie Ripia, who was the leading points scorer in Air New Zealand Cup rugby with 115.
The Taranaki development team's player of the year was hooker Timo Tutavaha, with fullback Jackson Ormond the Taranaki under-20 player of the year.
The prestigious Roger Urbahn Memorial Shield for the most outstanding under-19 player in Taranaki was won by New Plymouth Boys' High School loose forward Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.
He was a member of the Hurricanes secondary schools' side, which won the New Zealand regional schools tournament and was also a member of the wider New Zealand secondary schools squad.
AMBER & BLACK AWARD WINNERS:
Club player of the year, Daniel Brooks (Southern)
Club coach of the year, Kevin Walden (Coastal)
Volunteer of the year, John Davidson
Roger Urbahn Memorial Shield, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.
Personality of the year, Nemia Soqeta
Taranaki under-20 player of year, Jackson Ormond
Taranaki under-20 most promising player, Raymond Dobson.
Taranaki development player of the year, Timo Tutavaha
Taranaki development most promising player, Cody Rei
Tenderlink Taranaki awards
Taranaki most promising player, Michael Bent
Taranaki forward of the year, Laurence Corlett
Taranaki back of the year, Jayden Hayward
Taranaki MVP of the year, Laurence Corlett
Taranaki top tryscorer, Tony Penn and Shayne Austin (both three tries)
Taranaki top points scorer in Air New Zealand Cup, Willie Ripia, 115 points
Sportsman's Trophy, Nathan Hohaia
Taranaki try of the year, Tony Penn v Otago
Taranaki player of the year, Craig Clarke
- Taranaki Daily News
Will Aaron Cruden's omission hurt or help the All Blacks?Related story: Senior All Blacks 'pretty disappointed' in Cruden