Elliot Frewen - Joint top Premier league try scorer
Newport's record breaking front row - more appearances than any other Premier League front row (L to R : Andy Brown, Gethin Robinson, Dai Pattison).
Lydon Hails Premiership Role, By Liz Jones 29th May 2013
WRU Head of Rugby Joe Lydon has praised the role of the Principality Premiership as a stepping stone to regional and international rugby that is improving year on year.
The Premiership plays a vital role in progressing players further along the pathway
Every one of the 27-man Wales squad to tour Japan this summer has played a considerable amount of Principality Premiership rugby with nine of the squad having featured there this season.
Lydon said: "It's been a superb season for the Principality Premiership. Pontypridd were deserving winners but there have been competitive games throughout the year and the likes of Llandovery and Bedwas were particularly impressive. The Premiership plays a vital role in progressing players further along the pathway and you only have to look at the players going to Japan to see the part the Principality Premiership clubs have played in their development. The average age of a match day squad across the whole of the league was under 24 this season and this is vital in giving young players the chance to impress."
Double champions Pontypridd took the Lion's share of prizes at the annual Principality Premiership Awards at the Millennium Stadium on Tuesday night, the club taking home four of the eight awards available to coaches, players or clubs. Coach Dale McIntosh picked up the Coach of the Year award after guiding the Valley Commandoes to both the defence of their Principality Premiership title and the SWALEC Cup for the first time in their history, while captain Chris Dicomidis was presented with the prestigious Player of the Year award by a previous recipient, Wales lock Andrew Coombs.
Veteran pivot Dai Flanagan was top points scorer over the season, notching 186 points for his side and Pontypridd also collected the Fair Play Award for the club with the best discipline record over the season.
The Best Newcomer award was presented to Neath wing Dafydd Howells who made his Principality Premiership debut in the Boxing Day derby against Aberavon while Jason Harries (Carmarthen Quins) and Elliot Frewen (Newport) were joint top try scorers with 12 tries.
There was an award for Premiership Referee of the Year, which went to Sean Brickell, and an Unsung Hero Award which was awarded to the Aberavon Dinner Ladies for their commitment and undeniable hard work for the club.
A new award was introduced this year, voted for by Principality Premiership Facebook fans which was won by Aberavon's Steffan Andrews for a length of the field score in April. Wales wing wizard Harry Robinson presented the award.
A Principality Premiership Dream Team was also revealed on the night, with the team chosen by Premiership coaches. Individual winners Chris Dicomidis, Elliot Frewen and Dai Flanagan all made the cut, along with Llandovery and Wales Under 20 scrum half Rhodri Williams who was shortlisted for both the Player of the Year and Best Newcomer awards.
Llanelli and Wales Under 20 openside flanker Dan Thomas, who was nominated for the Best Newcomer prize, also made the starting line-up while Dafydd Locker, Player of the Year for the past two seasons, is in at 12.
Player of the Year, Pontypridd lock Chris Dicomidis, said: "It's been a fantastic season for all the boys, it's been a pleasure to play with them. It's special to win the league and cup double, the greats of Pontypridd have never won it and we had a chance to do it which luckily we took. Chief picks me week in week out with a few exceptions and this has definitely been my most consistent season. Having said that, this is more of a team award than an individual accolade. It's brilliant to play up at Pontypridd where 95 per cent of the boys are from the Valleys. I think only myself and Wayne O'Connor are not from the area originally. They bleed black and white. We go out to play the right type of rugby and we look to play hard and play fair so to receive the Fair Play award too is great recognition of that. It's a brilliant place to be at the moment and I'm lucky enough to be a part of the best club in Wales."
Coach of the year Dale McIntosh said: "This award is definitely down to the players, they have been outstanding all season. We have rotated the squad and there have been plenty of challenges to meet along the way. The other coaches on the shortlist - Lyndon Lewis (Llandovery) and Steve Law (Bedwas), are two great coaches."
Top points scorer Dai Flanagan added: "We set targets at the start of the season and we achieved them. After returning to Pontypridd where the club was successful without me, it was important that I tried to improve the side. We won the double which was brilliant so I think we did that."
Best Newcomer and Wales man Dafydd Howells said: "I'm quite surprised to receive this award to be honest. I only found out I was up for it when I looked in the programme this evening.
"All the hard work has paid off and I'm looking forward to the tour of Japan now.
"The Premiership is a very tough league to play in and there's a lot of experience out there. It's a massive plus for Welsh rugby."
Try of the season recipient, Andrews said: "It's a privilege to win this award. It's been a tough season but we are looking to improve on our position and climb up the league next season."
He paid tribute to his club's award winning kitchen ladies too, saying: "I think it was the sweet chilli chicken from the canteen that helped me win this award!"
Mia John, one of the kitchen ladies said: "It's amazing to be recognised. Aberavon are an old fashioned club with old fashioned values and we're very proud to be a part of the club.
Referee of the Year Sean Brickell added: "I feel quite chuffed to be honest with you. Wherever you are refereeing you have to appreciate that on a Saturday afternoon people come to watch the boys play rather than you. That's what I try to remember every time I take the whistle."
Principality Premiership Awards 2013 :
Player of the Year - Chris Dicomidis (Pontypridd)
Coach of the Year - Dale McIntosh (Pontypridd)
Best Newcomer - Dafydd Howells (Neath)
Try of the Year - Steffan Andrews (Aberavon)
Top points scorer - Dai Flanagan (Pontypridd, 186 league points)
Top try scorers - Jason Harries (Carmarthen Quins) / Elliot Frewen (Newport) - 12 tries
Referee of the year award (Sean Brickell)
Unsung Heroes - Aberavon kitchen ladies
Fair Play Award - Pontypridd
Principality Premiership Dream XV:
Lee Rees (Llandovery); Elliot Frewen (Newport), Nick Reynolds (Llanelli), Dafydd Lockyer (Pontypridd), Rory Budinha (Bedwas); Dai Flanagan (Pontypridd), Rhodri Williams (Llandovery); Rob Evans (Carmarthen Quins), Gerwyn Price (Cross Keys), Ian Jones (Carmarthen Quins), James Thomas (Bedwas), Chris Dicomidis (Pontypridd), Lee Evans (Neath), Dan Thomas (Llanelli), Dan Godfrey (Pontypridd)