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Ford collects young player award

George Ford was voted 2014 young player of the year at the Rugby Players Association awards dinner in Battersea, but Bath and England were tight-lipped over reports the fly-half will miss the summer tour to New Zealand because of shoulder surgery.

It is thought the 21-year-old will undergo an operation on the joint after Friday night's Amlin Challenge Cup final against Northampton, preventing him from participating in the first Test on June 7.

Ford stated at Wednesday night's RPA awards dinner he will start the Cardiff Arms Park showdown, adding "I'm probably the fittest I've ever felt".

"I'm fit and ready to go. I feel really good at the minute," Ford said.

"I've had 25-26 games under my belt this season and I'm probably the fittest I've ever felt. All the boys are fit and ready to go."

A Bath spokesperson insisted there will be no update on Ford until after Friday night's final.

Speaking of his honour at the RPA awards, Ford said: "I'm massively honoured to get the award and it's even more special because other players voted for it," Ford said.

"This is my first proper full season playing week in week out. I've enjoyed it and have learnt so much."

Leicester winger Vereniki Goneva was crowned players' player of the year in Battersea.

Goneva was recognised by his peers after scoring 12 tries in 18 Aviva Premiership matches in his first season at Welford Road.

The Fijian is known for his tackle-busting runs and muscular defence and recently signed a new two-year contract with beaten Aviva Premiership semi-finalists Leicester.

"This means a lot and I'm really very happy. It's an honour to win this award because a lot of players have done very well this season," Goneva said.

"To be voted by other players is something very special. A lot of players fight for this award so to be recognised like this is great."

Mike Brown's flurry of awards continued after he was named England player of the year.

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