Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Youngs wins top award

Leicester's Tom Youngs has won nine England caps

Leicester hooker Tom Youngs has been named Player of the Season at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards.

Youngs has been rewarded for a remarkable season in which he made his England debut and was called up by the British and Irish Lions just three years after he made the unprecedented move from centre to the front row.

Wasps lock Joe Launchbury picked up the Land Rover Discovery of the season award and Saracens boss Mark McCall was name QBE director of rugby of the season.

Youngs, who has won nine England caps, claimed the main award ahead of Steve Borthwick, Danny Care, Akapusi Qera, Julian Salvi and Christian Wade.

"His story is extraordinary," said Phil Winstanley, the rugby director at Premiership Rugby.

"To move from the centre to hooker is practically unheard of in professional rugby. To then go on to make your England debut and a Lions tour the following season is what dreams are made of."

"If you'd suggested such a move could be done a few years ago in Aviva Premiership Rugby people would have doubted your sanity, but Tom has proved almost anything is possible."

Wade was also short listed for the young player category, having finished the regular season as the joint leading try-scorer with 13, but Launchbury's rise to England colours earned him the award.

Saracens and Lions prop Mako Vunipola, Harlequins flanker Luke Wallace, Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns and wing Jonny May were all shortlisted.

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