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Joe Tomane has been named 2012 FxPro Super Rugby Rookie of the Year at the awards ceremony in Sydney on Thursday.
In his first year of professional rugby after switching from league at the end of 2011, Tomane claimed four tries including an eye catching double against the Highlanders at Canberra Stadium in Week Five.
Tomane’s strong form in South Africa was recognised by national selectors with the bulky winger claiming his first Test cap for the Wallabies against Scotland in Newcastle in July.
“To be named Rookie of the Year is something I’m very proud of. I felt like I was adapting to the game better after each appearance and the transition from league has probably been smoother than I thought it was going to be,” Tomane said.
“Looking at the Brumbies, we’ve had some outstanding rookies over the last few years, with guys like Pat (McCabe), Michael Hooper and Robbie (Coleman) all sustaining the strong form they produced in their debut seasons.
“I suppose that’s where I want to go from here, to use what I’ve learned at the Brumbies this year as a platform to improve over the next couple of seasons.
“I’ve been well supported by the coaching staff at the Brumbies, the playing group and most importantly my family. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given this year and we are all looking forward to 2013.”
Amazingly, Tomane was almost joined by Christian Lealiifano as a Brumbies award winner.
Lealiifano was just one point off being named FxPro Super Rugby Player of the Year despite not playing a game since early May when he sustained a season-ending-ankle break against the Waratahs.
Eventual winner Will Genia from the Reds played a staggering 560 minutes, over seven games more than Lealiifano, eventually taking the points tally lead late in the season.
Lealiifano tied for second with two other players on 17, Scott Higginbotham also from the Reds and David Pocock from the Force.
H/W: 1.90m, 102kg
Senior Club: Uni-Norths, ACT
Super Rugby Caps: 12
Super Rugby Points: 20 (4t)
Super Rugby Debut: 2012 v Force, Canberra
Test Rugby Caps: 1
Test Rugby Debut: 2012 v Scotland, Newcastle