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Davies is Welsh Sports Personality of the year

SCARLETS Centre Jonathan Davies followed in the footsteps of fellow Wales and British & Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny in being voted the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year for 2017.

Halfpenny took the title four years ago after the Sam Warburton led Lions won their first series in 16 years in Australia.

This time it was the former Dyffryn Taf pupil who built on being voted the Lions’ player of the series in New Zealand as he scooped the top award in Welsh sport following the drawn series against the All Blacks.

It was a considerable boost for Davies at the end of the 2017 Under Armour Series, in which he picked up a season ending injury against the Wallabies in the opening game. That brought to an end another exceptional year for the 29-year-old, who was one of the stand-out performers in both domestic and international rugby.

He began the 2017 Six Nations with a try in Wales’ opening 33-7 win over Italy, steered the Scarlets to a 46-22 Guinness PRO12 title in Dublin, scoring one of their six tries in the final win over Munster, and then he played every minute of the three Tests against the All Blacks to make it six internationals in a row for the Lions on two tours.

“Thank you very much to everyone who voted, it means a lot, especially with the number of successes in Welsh sport. I’ve had a lot of fun this year,” said Davies, who was unable to attend the ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort because his leg is still in plaster.

Davies beat Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, world champion cyclist Elinor Barker, world champion para-athlete Aled Sion Davies, world No 1 judoka Natalie Powell and Tour de France stage winner Geraint Thomas to the night’s main award.

Cardiff Devils won the ‘Team of the Year’ title after winning ice hockey’s 2016-17 Elite League and Challenge Cup, while the 17-year-old Wales and Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn carried off the coveted ‘Carwyn James Young Sportsman of the Year’ award with weightlifter Catrin Jones taking the ‘Young Sportswoman’ crown.

There was also a special award for the former Wales rugby union and rugby league captain David Watkins, who received his award from another legendary outside half, Phil Bennett.