- Launchbury, Scarratt, Norton, Wade and Streather claim awards at RPA dinner
- Event recognises outstanding performances in rugby union
Photo: Getty Images
England quartet Joe Launchbury, Emily Scarratt, Dan Norton and Christian Wade and RFU Championship player Tim Streather all scooped awards at the annual Rugby Players’ Association Dinner on Wednesday evening.
Taking place at Battersea Evolution, the black tie event recognises outstanding performances throughout rugby union, and this year saw the introduction of the first ever RFU Championship Player of the Year and England Women’s Player of the Year awards.
Joe Launchbury was named the Monitise England Player of the Year 2012-13, an accolade that took the England lock by surprise. “It's a very special award, I’m quite shocked to win, to be honest. A lot of the guys obviously had very good seasons for England this year and a lot of them have gone on and been selected for the Lions, which shows how well they’ve done.
“I’ve loved every minute of my [England] experience so far. I’m still very new to international rugby, just coming to the end now of my first full season and I obviously want to kick on and keep improving my performances and keep getting better.”
Photo: Getty Images
Wade creates history
Launchbury's London Wasps teammate Christian Wade created rugby history by being named both The Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year for the 2012/13 season.
The prolific wing, Aviva Premiership joint leading try scorer with 13, surpasses even Jonny Wilkinson, the only other man to win both awards but in different years, scooping young player in 1999 and players’ player in 2003.
“It’s awesome and quite surprising, I’m humbled to be chosen and congratulated by my peers,” said the former England Under 18 and Under 20 man.
A massive privilege and I am delighted - Scarratt
England’s Scarratt picked up the award for England Women’s Player of the Year in association with 15 Magazine. Voted for by players in the England Elite Playing Squad, 23-year-old Scarratt impressed again this season in both international XVs and Sevens. The fullback/centre was instrumental in helping England record an unprecedented series whitewash of World Champions New Zealand in the autumn whilst she was also part of the Sevens squad that won titles in London and Houston this year.
Scarratt said: “This is a massive privilege and I am delighted. This has been a huge year competition wise for the team both in XVs and Sevens and hopefully we’ll continue to be successful at the World Cup Sevens later next month too.”
Streather picks up inaugural award
Photo: RFU Archive
Voted for by the head coaches of all twelve RFU Championship clubs, the nominees for the inaugural RFU Championship Player of the Year award were Tim Streather (Nottingham), Guy Thompson (Jersey) and Stevie McColl (Leeds). Streather, who will play his rugby at Saracens next season, picked up the award after receiving the largest number of nominations from the head coaches.
Speaking at the RPA Awards, Tim said: “I’m really shocked to have won to be honest, especially against quality players like Guy and Stevie, but I’m obviously delighted! The fact that the RPA and RFU have included this award is a huge reflection of the progress of the Championship. The league has massively helped me develop and make the step up to the Premiership with Saracens.
“I like to just thank Nottingham Rugby coaches, players and staff for all their support over the past four seasons. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t be collecting this award tonight without them!”
Norton's try endeavours recognised
Try-machine Dan Norton was the winner of the HSBC England Sevens Player of the Year. Nominated alongside teammates Tom Powell and Marcus Watson, Norton picked up the award after his impressive tally of 52 tries this season saw him top the HSBC Sevens World Series Points rankings.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” said Norton. “I never thought I would be in a position to play sevens for England let alone win Player of the Year. I guess it’s a cliché but I know I wouldn’t be in this position without my teammates and the coaches, so a massive thank you must go to them.”