Sam Simmonds claims Rugby Players’ Association player of the year prize

There were also awards for Marcus Smith and Poppy Cleall.

By Press Association Published: 9 June 2021 - 7.00pm

Sam Simmonds’ stellar season continued after the Exeter number eight was crowned Rugby Players’ Association player of the year.

Simmonds has enjoyed a standout campaign, setting a new record for tries scored in a Gallagher Premiership season after crossing 20 times and securing a place in the British and Irish Lions squad bound for South Africa.

The 26-year-old’s Lions selection comes despite being overlooked by England since winning the last of his seven caps in 2018.

He follows in the footsteps of Wasps flanker Jack Willis in winning the award, which is voted on by players across the Premiership.

“This award in particular means a lot. The way that it is picked and the way you get nominated is from players that you play against every week and throughout the season,” the 2019-20 double winner said.

“So for them to recognise and notice that I have been having a strong season is fantastic and I appreciate that.

“Once the season is over – hopefully after a few more wins – then I can look back both individually and as part of the team and feel good about what we have achieved.”

Marcus Smith won the young player award
Marcus Smith won the young player award (Adam Davy/PA)

Marcus Smith, 22, has been named young player of the year after his dazzling form helped Harlequins claim a place in the play-offs.

“It is always nice to be honoured for individual awards, but a lot of the credit has to go to my team-mates at Harlequins,” Smith said.

“They’ve made me look good this year and without the forwards, I couldn’t have done my job.”

Versatile England forward Poppy Cleall has been named women’s player of the year.

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