Tavatavanawai receives awards from the Highlanders

It has been an unforgettable year for Timoci Tavatavanawai.

Tavatavanawai, a standout in his debut season with the Highlanders, picked up four awards, including most valuable player, at the team’s awards function last night.

The spectacular winger has been one of the best on the field this season and is the only player to have started all 13 games.

Tavatavanawai, 26, leads Super Rugby Pacific in jackal turnovers, which led to him being named defensive player of the year.

He also won the award of the year and amateur player of the year at the awards held at the University of Otago Business School.

Captain Billy Harmon was named forward of the year and also received the player award for the second year in a row.

Wing Oliver Haig was named best rookie, rising forward Max Ratcliffe won the under-20 award, prop Ayden Johnstone received the personal player development award and young forward Hayden Michaels was named community champion.

First All Black rower Ethan de Groot deservedly won the Highlander Man award.

“Ethan is a true Highlanders man who not only contributes to the club on the field but also off it,” said Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark.

“He is an integral part of our team and is widely respected, and at only 25 years old he has achieved a lot and still has many years ahead of him.”

Nasi Manu, a former Highlanders captain who now works in operations and player welfare, received the inaugural Southern Inspiration Award.