Smith honoured by Premiership players

Date published: May 12 2016

Wasps flanker George Smith was crowned Players’ Player of the Year at the RPA Players’ Awards 2016, in association with England Rugby at an awards ceremony on Wednesday.

The accolade comes the week after Smith scooped Supporters’ Player and Players’ Player at Wasps’ End of Season Awards. The 111-cap Wallaby has previously been awarded the Australian Super 14 Player of the Year over four consecutive years (2006-09).

Smith, currently in his 17th year of professional rugby, registered the highest number of votes from his fellow professionals, to be named the Players’ Player of the Year.

The Wallabies back-row has been a dominant force in this season’s Premiership, making 17 appearances for the club and playing a key role in their run to the play-offs, alongside a further six appearances in the Champions Cup while helping to guide Wasps to a European semi-final.

Smith said upon winning his award: “It’s a truly humbling feeling to receive this award, especially as it’s voted for by my peers.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my season playing in England and representing such a determined and driven club like Wasps has made my job so much easier.

“I have cherished each moment I have taken the pitch, the fans in England are superb and I look forward to finishing our season on a high as we strive towards success in the play-offs.”

Other notable award winners on the night included Maro Itoje as LV= Young Player of the Year, Billy Vunipola as The Old Mutual Wealth England Player of the Year and former Ireland and British & Irish Lions centre, Brian O’Driscoll, was inducted into the RPA Hall of Fame in association with KPMG.

Full list of award winners:

The RPA Players’ Player of the Year in association with England Rugby

Winner: George Smith – Wasps

Andy Goode – Newcastle Falcons
Nathan Hughes – Wasps
Charles Piutau – Wasps
Thomas Waldrom – Exeter Chiefs

LV= Young Player of the Year

Winner: Maro Itoje – Saracens

Jack Clifford – Harlequins
Elliot Daly – Wasps
Harry Mallinder – Northampton Saints
Harry Thacker – Leicester Tigers

The Old Mutual Wealth England Player of the Year

Winner: Billy Vunipola – Saracens

James Haskell – Wasps
George Kruis – Saracens
Chris Robshaw – Harlequins
Anthony Watson – Bath

HSBC England Sevens Player of the Year

Winner: Dan Bibby

Warwick Lahmert
Ruaridh McConnochie

The O2 England Women’s Player of the Year

Winner: Sarah Hunter

Emily Braund
Heather Fisher

The Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year in association with England Rugby

Winner: Jack Lam – Bristol

Ryan Burrows – Yorkshire Carnegie
Jonah Holmes – Yorkshire Carnegie

Nine Feet Tall Personal Development Programme Award

Winner: Rob Hawkins – Newcastle Falcons

Tom Court – London Irish
James Hudson – Gloucester
Richard Thorpe – London Welsh

The Restart Rugby Special Merit Award

Charlie Hodgson

RPA Blyth Spirit Award in association with Towergate Insurance

Henry Fraser

The RPA Hall of Fame Induction in association with KPMG

Brian O’Driscoll