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Player of Year Trimble praises boss Schmidt

By Michael Sadlier

Ulster and Ireland winger Andrew Trimble has been named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year at the organisation's annual awards dinner which was held in Dublin last night.

Although currently out of action due to having had surgery on a toe injury picked up playing for Ulster against Glasgow in October, Trimble's stand-out performances from last season, when Ireland dramatically won the Six Nations in a nail-biting finish in Paris, secured him the accolade.

Though currently frustrated at not being able to play any part in Ireland's autumn series of Tests, Trimble was clearly delighted at picking up the award which brought the recently turned 30-year-old a double honour as he was also named as the IRUPA's Players' Player of the Year last May.

"It's a huge honour for me to receive the Guinness Rugby Writers' of Ireland Player of the Year Award," said Trimble, who has been capped 57 times for the national side.

"It's always nice picking up an individual award like this, but I have to put it down to being part of such a successful Ireland team last season.

"It's unfortunate to be injured at the moment, but watching the team play as well as they did against South Africa at the weekend makes me even more determined to get back on the pitch as soon as I can," Trimble added on coach Joe Schmidt's latest attention-grabbing triumph.

Trimble made a significant contribution to Ireland winning the Six Nations title during coach Schmidt's first campaign in charge and the winger who was recalled from the international wilderness ended up scoring three tries - one coming in the Paris finale - during what was Brian O'Driscoll's final season in a green shirt.

The Ulsterman also paid tribute to the impact Schmidt has made since beginning his tenure in the autumn series this time last year which saw the national side just miss out on an historic first win over the All Blacks before they then - and at that stage with Trimble in the side - went on to capture the Six Nations trophy.

"Joe came in and obviously all the Leinster boys loved him and rightly so. The reputation he had with them was re-enforced with us (Irish players from other provinces).

"I've learned a lot from Joe and the environment he's created which, as unpleasant an environment as it is at times, it's the environment that gets the best out of me and I know I reacted well so I'm sure all the boys would say the same.

"Then that just makes me think that when it comes down to most things, Joe knows best.

"His reputation has had a knock-on effect on the four provinces where everyone's trying to recreate that environment and that's not just good for the Irish rugby team but Irish rugby in general," Trimble added.

Trimble's efforts along with those of the whole squad resulted in Ireland walking away with the Dave Guiney Team of the Year over their Six Nations success.

Full list of award winners: Player of the Year - Andrew Trimble, Dave Guiney Award (Team of the Year) - Ireland, Tom Rooney Award - Philip Doyle and Fiona Coghlan, Guinness Hall of Fame - Hugo MacNeill, Women's Player of the Year - Niamh Briggs, Club of the Year - Clontarf.

Belfast Telegraph

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