(left to right: Falcons players Nili Latu, Vereniki Goneva, Sonatane Takulua and Opeti Fonua)

Takulua scoops Tongan national team award

Monday 6 February 2017

Newcastle Falcons scrum-half Sonatane Takulua has been named Tonga's player of the year for 2016.

The 26-year-old has enjoyed a stellar year for the Ikale Tahi, leading them to a first ever unbeaten November tour.

As well as scoring a try in their victory over Spain Takulua kicked four from four in the Madrid test, and slotted the winning penalty in their historic win over Italy in Padova.

The former Northland half-back was also instrumental in their November victory over the USA, having previously started in the June campaign against Fiji, Samoa and Georgia.

Takulua, who has also shone for the Falcons this season, said: "It is a huge honour for me to receive this award.

"The Tongan national team have made a lot of progress this year and it is great to have been a part of it. I was honoured to lead the team in the Sipi Tau for the first time when we played against Spain in November and I am humbled to have been recognised in this way."

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards added: "Sonatane has been playing great rugby throughout 2016 and richly deserves this accolade.

"For club and country he has really stepped up as a player, and it is fantastic that this has been recognised."

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