Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Youngs picks up player award

Tom Youngs had a strong Six Nations for England and has also been selected for the British and Irish Lions

Tom Youngs' remarkable season reached a new high on Thursday night when the Leicester hooker was named Aviva Premiership Player of the Year.

Youngs was rewarded for a campaign in which he made his England debut and was called up by the British and Irish Lions - just three years after making the unprecedented switch from inside centre to hooker.

"It's been an unbelievable season for me and I'd like to thank all my team-mates at Leicester and the coaching staff who have helped me so much," Youngs said.

"I knew I was up for the award, but to win it is fantastic. There are some great players and to win against them, I can't really put into words.

"Chris [Robshaw] won it last year and is a great bloke and a great mentor to learn from so it's great to follow in his footsteps."

Youngs, who won nine England caps this season, won the main award ahead of Steve Borthwick, Danny Care, Akapusi Qera, Julian Salvi and Christian Wade. Wasps lock Joe Launchbury was named Land Rover Discovery of Season and Saracens boss Mark McCall won QBE Director of Rugby of the Season.

Wade, the prolific Wasps wing who finished joint leading try-scorer in the Premiership with 13 tries, was also short listed for the young player award. But Launchbury's rise to England colours earned him the award ahead of Saracens prop Mako Vunipola, Harlequins flanker Luke Wallace, Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns and wing Jonny May.

Burns won the Gilbert Golden Boot award for scoring the most points (240 to Gareth Steenson's 239) while Wade and his Wasps team-mate Tom Varndell shared the Towergate Top Try Scorer trophy after both touched down 13 times. Leicester fly-half Dan Bowden was the Guinness Try of the Season winner and Jonathan Joseph collected the award for best player of the JP Morgan Premiership Sevens Series.

The talkSPORT Dream Team, as voted by the public, featured eight Leicester players, including lock Ed Slater who has been called up for England's summer tour. Exeter's retiring number eight Richard Baxter was also recognised along with the Chiefs' exciting full-back Luke Arscott.

TalkSPORT Dream Team: L Arscott (Exeter); T Varndell (Wasps), M Tuilagi (Leicester), B Twelvetrees (Gloucester), C Wade (Wasps); T Flood (Leicester), B Youngs (Leicester); M Vunipola (Saracens), T Youngs (Leicester), D Cole (Leicester), E Slater (Leicester), G Parling (Leicester), T Wood (Northampton), J Salvi (Leicester), R Baxter (Exeter).

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