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Bay of Plenty Steamers captain Wayne Ormond couldn't think of a better way to cap off a huge season than being recognised by his peers.
The inspirational skipper won the Air New Zealand NPC's Most Valuable Player of the Year Award yesterday - following in the footsteps of last year's inaugural winner former - Bay of Plenty Captain, Clayton McMillan.
"It's great - it's certainly a fantastic way to finish the season," Ormond told The Daily Post.
"Clayton set a trend last year and I think it's awesome to carry on that flame and be recognised by my peers."
The judges said Ormond's leadership of the Bay of Plenty team throughout one of their best seasons ever made a strong impression on the panel.
Panel members were unanimous in their decision to honour Ormond.
Ormond was nominated after sports journalists from 27 provinces around New Zealand picked their regional winners.
Sky TV commentator Grant Nisbett said he had no hesitation in picking Ormond - not only for his outstanding season as a player but also as a leader of a team that won the Ranfurly Shield for the first time and made the NPC division one semifinals.
"He was an inspirational figure in a team that achieved more than anyone would have predicted prior to the start NPC season."
Fellow Sky commentator Tony Johnson said Ormond "epitomises everything that is good about New Zealand provincial rugby" in its traditional sense.
This latest accolade brings to a close an eventful fortnight for Ormond who, last Friday, was selected in the 2005 Chiefs team along with eight of his Steamers team-mates and was also presented with the sportsman of the year award at the Te Arawa Sports Awards in Rotorua.
Ormond, who is now looking forward to taking three weeks off to spend time with friends and family, won a framed certificate and a business class trip for two to a Pacific Island of his choice.