There were more than 9,000 fans at the home of Welsh rugby as the Welsh Rugby Union threw open the doors for the squad’s first session since posting the morale boosting win. It will be England again at Twickenham this weekend before reigning world champions South Africa arrive in the Welsh capital for the final Vodafone Summer Series game.
As well as being put through their paces by the Welsh coaches, the players also signed autographs and met many fans. There were also two very special presentations made on the day as the Welsh Rugby Writer’s Association handed over their annual awards to the Welsh player of the year for both the men’s and women’s team.
Sisilia Tuipulotu picked up the Liza Burgess Women’s Player of the Year crown following her sensational season, while Ospreys flanker Morgan carried off the coveted Lloyd Lewis Player of the Year award for the men.
Past WRWA men’s award winners include Gareth Edwards, Barry John, JPR Williams, Mervyn Davies, Bennett, Terry Holmes, Jonathan Davies, Scott Gibbs, Ieuan Evans, Neil Jenkins, Rob Howley, Scott Quinnell, Gareth Thomas, Martyn Williams, Gethin Jenkins, Shane Williams, Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny and Alun Wyn Jones.
Tuipulotu followed another forward, Alisha Butchers as the winner of the women’s award. Both players were presented with their trophies by WRWA committee member Gareth Griffiths, of BBC Wales.
Newport-born Tuipulotu has just returned from a holiday in Tonga and is back in training for the new World Rugby WXV tournament in New Zealand later in the year.
“This year has been a good one for me, especially in the rugby scene. I’ve transitioned to being a tighthead prop and this award means the world to me,” said Tuipulotu.
“It was good to be in Tonga for a week before coming back to work. I loved being there and I nearly didn’t come back!
“But the hard work starts now. The WXV tournament will be good for us, and we’ll be going up against the best teams in the world.
“It will let us know where we stand and hopefully show us where we need to improve. A lot has happened for me this year and I’m grateful for everything that has happened so far.”
Morgan enjoyed a great season for both the Ospreys and Wales and was a runaway winner of the Lloyd Lewis award. He was named as Wales captain for last weekend’s game against England and also picked up the player of the match award.
“It’s a nice honour to have and I’m pretty chuffed with it. It’s an illustrious group of past and current players who have won the award, so it means a lot to win it,” said Morgan.
“I enjoyed last season, and it has been a good year, especially with a few boys making their debuts at the weekend and Leigh Halfpenny winning his 100th cap. Leigh has been a stalwart of Welsh rugby over the last 15 years and if there is anyone who deserves it, it’s him.
“Hopefully we can kick on from the win over England. Going to Twickenham this weekend will be different, but it’s going to be exciting to see how it goes up there.”
Ospreys back row man Morgan Morris won the WRWA Yong Player of the Year award.