Bok duo included in Premiership Dream Team
NEWS: Newcastle's Vereniki Goneva has been voted as the English Premiership's Player of the Year at the competition's Rugby Awards ceremony.
Goneva's prize is his latest accolade towards the end of an outstanding 2017-18 campaign after he won the Players' Player of the Year and Newcastle Player of the Year awards.
The 34-year-old Fijian wing has scored 13 Premiership tries this season, making him joint highest try scorer, and has been a key factor in Newcastle's unexpected climb into the play-offs.
He beat fellow nominees Danny Cipriani of Wasps, Exeter's Don Armand, Francois de Klerk of Sale and Northampton's Jamie Gibson.
Newcastle boss Dean Richards was also recognised at the annual gala event in London by claiming the Director of Rugby of the year award.
Meanwhile, Springboks Willie le Roux and Francois de Klerk made the Premiership Dream Team for the 2017/2018 season.
South African-born England international Don Armand was also included in the XV after his performances for Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking about Goneva, Richards said: "Niki is a very humble guy who will take no pleasure in being singled out for an individual award, although clearly he will be honoured to receive this accolade.
"Even in a season like we are having it is hard not to single him out when he has performed to such a consistently high level throughout.
"He defies the ageing process with the physical condition he keeps himself in and he is a phenomenal athlete."
Premiership Dream Team: 15 Willie Le Roux (Wasps), 14 Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons), 13 Rob Horne (Northampton Saints), 12 Matt Toomua (Leicester Tigers), 11 Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), 10 Danny Cipriani (Wasps), 9 Francois De Klerk (Sale Sharks), 8 Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs), 7 Don Armand (Exeter Chiefs), 6 Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints), 5 Ed Slater (Gloucester Rugby), 4 Calum Green (Newcastle Falcons), 3 John Afoa (Gloucester Rugby), 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), 1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers).
💎— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) May 16, 2018
🏆 He made his @EnglandRugby debut and played a starring role in @ExeterChiefs’ brilliant league campaign. Congratulations to @LandRoverRugby Discovery of the Season award winner @samsimmonds_ 🙌#PremRugbyAwards pic.twitter.com/V345j9Vnvd