SISILIA Tuipulotu has been named as the winner of the Pride of Gwent Sporting Hero of the Year award.

Sports fans in South East Wales are spoiled for choice, with shining stars on all manner of pitches, arenas and fields - from the institutions of Dragons RFC and Newport County AFC to the beacons of community that endure in grassroots clubs across Gwent.

The region plays it part on the international stage, too, flying the Welsh flag - and it is a rising star of the Welsh national rugby team who will be crowned as the Sporting Hero at the home of rugby in Gwent.

The Pride of Gwent winners' ceremony, sponsored by ND Care & Support, takes place at Rodney Parade on Thursday, December 7.

Sisilia Tuipulotu, still just 20 years of age, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport she loves - despite switching disciplines just four years ago.

Giving up netball to follow in the footsteps of her father Sione, a former Newport and Tonga back, Sisilia has become a key figure in this Wales women's side.

“Growing up I’d play tag with my brothers so I thought I’d give it a try and I’ve enjoyed it ever since,” she told Rugby World.

The Newport-born forward has enjoyed a rollercoaster ride to the top since earning her first Wales start barely 18 months ago.

Standing at 5ft 9in and weighing more than 17 stone, she has brought her fair share of set piece prowess and potent carrying ability to Ioan Cunningham's side.

With Sisilia as part of the national team, Wales have reached the Rugby World Cup quarter finals and finished third in the 2023 Six Nations with three wins from five - their best position since 2009.

After a try in the opening round victory against Ireland, coach Cunningham said he believed Sisilia could be "one of the best props in the world" - praise she followed with another two tries and another Player of the Match award in the win against Scotland.

Plying her trade for Allianz Premier 15s champions Gloucestser-Hartpury, she represents the best of Gwent's rugby factory - like "little brother" Kepu, of England's under 18s, cousin Carwyn Tuipulotu of the Scarlets, and international stars Taulupe Faletau, Billy and Mako Vunipola.