Leone Nakarawa in double win at Pacific Island awards

Leone Nakarawa in action for Fiji against Uruguay in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Getty Images
Leone Nakarawa in action for Fiji against Uruguay in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Getty Images
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GLASGOW Warriors lock Leone Nakarawa was celebrating last night after picking up two awards at the Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Awards.

The Fijian international won the Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) 2015 Fijian Players’ Player of the Year Award as well as the overall Digicel Pacific Island Players’ Player of the Year Award.

The 27-year-old was a stand-out performer for Fiji during the recent 2015 Rugby World Cup, rated by many onlookers and commentators as one of the best players of the tournament.

Named in tournament sponsors’ Société Générale’s dream team, Nakarawa scored a try in Fiji’s 47-15 victory over Uruguay, as well as appearing in all ten of Fiji’s test matches throughout the year.

Prior to the tournament, the 6ft 6in lock had been named the Man of the Match for Glasgow’s Pro12 2015 Grand Final in Belfast, as Warriors defeated Munster 31-13.

Nakarawa, who joined Glasgow from Saracens in August 2013, has made 46 appearances for Glasgow, scoring ten points in the process.

Speaking at the awards, PIPA board member Seilala Mapusua congratulated Nakarawa along with fellow winners Telusa Veainu (Tongan Players’ Player of the Year) and Samoan winner Paul Perez, adding: “Congratulations especially to Leone on winning the overall award. There was a lot of talent on display this year in the Pacific Island teams and this is an awesome acknowledgement to the players from their peers.”

Digiel Pacific Head of Marketing Katie Taylor added: “We are delighted to be associated with PIPA and endorse individual member’s achievements in 2015 through these awards.

“On behalf of Digicel I would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees.

“It can be no greater feeling than to be nominated for such awards by your playing peers and we wish all PIPA members all the best in their playing endeavours in 2016.”

Tongan loose forward Hale T-Pole paid tribute to the award winners, adding: “There are few greater honours than to receive recognition from your peers for the hard work that goes into consistently performing on the international stage.

“On behalf of all the Pacific Island Players we congratulate Leone, Telusa, and Paul for their outstanding contribution to Pacific Island rugby during 2015.”