- Nottingham, Jersey and Leeds represented in shortlist
- I’ve now got a massive smile on my face hearing I’ve made the shortlist – McColl
Photo: RFU Archive
Following the recent announcement that the RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) will include a new RFU Championship Award at the RPA Computacenter Players’ Awards 2013, the shortlist of nominees has today been confirmed.
The RFU Championship Player of the Year Award is recognition of the outstanding talent in the Championship and the winner will be unveiled during the awards ceremony to be held at Battersea Evolution, London, on Wednesday, May 22. Further award nominations will be announced later this week.
The nominees for the RFU Championship Player of the Year Award are:
Stevie McColl – Leeds Carnegie
Tim Streather – Nottingham Rugby
Guy Thompson – Jersey RFC
Based upon three nominations from the head coaches of each club and 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd, 1 point for 3rd.
Leeds full back Stevie McColl was delighted to be told of his inclusion among the three nominees, saying: “It’s absolutely brilliant news – I’ve now got a massive smile on my face hearing I’ve made the shortlist. That feels a nice little achievement! It’s a very high standard in the Championship these days with a lot of players connected to the Premiership, particularly players coming back from injury getting game time in the Championship so we get to play against Premiership players a lot.
“For the Championship to be included at the RPA Awards will be extremely popular with the players. It’s a great idea to recognise the RFU Championship teams as well. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Photo: Steve Galloway
The news come to centre Tim Streather just three days before his team face Bedford Blues in the RFU Championship semi-final, first leg. Speaking on his inclusion in the shortlist, Streather said: “There are so many fantastic players in the Championship, many of whom could be playing in the Premiership, so even to be nominated is a great honour. There have been so many good players within my own team so I’m really happy to have made the shortlist.
“I’d like to thank Martin Haag and the whole coaching and support team at Nottingham RFC – the incredible work they have done with the squad has meant that the whole squad has performed to its potential – this has made it easier for everyone, including me, to play well.
“Having this new award is brilliant recognition for the Championship and makes people aware of the level of rugby the competition is now delivering. The standard has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years and having this award keeps it in line with the Aviva Premiership which can only be a good thing.”
Championship getting stronger and stronger – Thompson
Fresh off his Man of the Match performance against Cornish Pirates in the final league round, Jersey back row Guy Thompson said of his nomination: “It’s brilliant that the RPA has included the RFU Championship Player of the Year Award this year as it reflects the Championship is getting stronger and stronger. There are more and more good players moving between the Aviva Premiership and Championship, which shows how good the league has become.
“It’s my first year in the Championship and I‘ve never seen so many good players, including exciting young players, so it’s a great league to play in. To be included on the shortlist feels such an achievement. I am absolutely humbled to be honest and thanks to everyone who has helped get me here.”
Photo: RFU Archive
Geoff Irvine, Championship Clubs Chairman said: “It’s a credit to all the clubs, players and supporters that the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) has chosen to recognise the RFU Championship at this prestigious awards evening. In only four seasons, the RFU Championship has progressed from its inception to a professional second tier and this award is another significant step forward.
“We have some exceptional talent in the Championship. You need only look at the England players who have passed through the league to see that. I’m sure whoever wins the award on May 22 will have an equally bright future ahead.”