Premiership: Harlequins’ Andre Esterhuizen named players’ player of the year

David Skippers

Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen has been voted Rugby Players’ Association players’ player of the year following an outstanding season for the Twickenham Stoop-based club.

Esterhuizen received the most votes from the other professionals in the Premiership after a standout season in which he played a leading role in the Londoners’ effort to defend their title in England’s top flight.

In fine form

The Springbok was at the forefront of Quins‘ charge to the Premiership play-offs where they will take on Leicester Tigers or Saracens on June 11.

“It is an incredible honour to win this award and for it to be voted by all the players and teams that I’ve played with and against makes it even more special,” said Esterhuizen.

It was also a special occasion for Leicester Tigers and England full-back Freddie Steward, who walked off with two awards.

The 21-year-old saw off stiff competition from Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, London Irish utility back Henry Arundell and Sale Sharks front-row Bevan Rodd to win the young player of the year award.

He was also named England men’s player of the year ahead of Leicester team-mate Ellis Genge and Smith.

“It is a big honour to win an award voted on by your peers, and I feel humbled to win, given the talent in the game,” said Steward.

Marlie Packer was named the England women’s player of the year, while veteran Quins scrum-half Danny Care received the RPA’s special merit award.

Meanwhile, Kevin Sinfield and Andrew Fenby received the RPA’s Blyth Spirit award, there was an induction into the RPA’s hall of fame for ex-England women’s stalwart Katy Daley-McLean and Leicester Tigers flyer Chris Ashton breaking the Premiership’s all-time try-scoring record was voted moment of the season.

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