THE RPA COMPUTACENTER PLAYERS’ AWARDS 2012 NOMINATIONS

The RPA today announced the nominations for the Computacenter Players Player of the Year and LV= Young Player of the Year Awards.

Harlequins have a strong showing in the battle for the coveted Computacenter Players Player of the Year title with three players from the current league leaders making the shortlist of five.

The Midlands provides two formidable obstacles to the Londoners claiming the award as Northampton Saints George Pisi and Leicester Tigers Steve Mafi stand in the way of Mike Brown, Nick Evans and Chris Robshaw.

Four clubs boast nominees for the LV= Young Player of the Year with players from Gloucester, London Wasps, Leicester Tigers and Saracens having been recognised for the significant impression they have made this season.

Saracens Owen Farrell caps a memorable season for club and country with a nomination by his peers, while Cherry and White backs Jonny May and Freddie Burns go head to head in the West Country. Leicester Tigers George Ford will hope to add to his title of IRB Young Player of the Year and Christian Wade, back from injury, will have an extra spring in his step as he lines up for London Wasps crunch game this weekend following his nomination.

The winners will be announced in front of an audience of stars from the Aviva Premiership and the international game at The RPA Computacenter Players Awards 2012, to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London on 23rd May. The Awards will be broadcast on Sky Sports Rugby Club.

The nominations in full are:

COMPUTACENTER PLAYERS PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2012
Mike Brown  Harlequins
Nick Evans  Harlequins
Steve Mafi  Leicester Tigers
George Pisi  Northampton Saints
Chris Robshaw  Harlequins

LV= YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR 20
Freddie Burns – Gloucester Rugby
Owen Farrell  Saracens
George Ford  Leicester Tigers
Jonny May  Gloucester Rugby
Christian Wade  London Wasps
To qualify for the LV= Young Player of the Year Award, players must have been 23 or under at the start of the 2011/12 season.

Quotes from Computacenter Players Player of the Year nominees:

Mike Brown: Im really happy to have been nominated by my fellow peers in the Aviva Premiership. I wouldnt be on the list without my team mates and coaches. It has been a massive team effort. Its great to see three Quins players nominated as it shows how far we have come this season.

George Pisi: I am truly shocked and humbled that Ive been nominated by my fellow peers. Its been a blessing to have had this opportunity to play in the Aviva Premiership. I hope that my performance and that of the team gets us to the final at Twickenham and we can win it for Saints

Steve Mafi: I am enjoying my rugby here at Leicester and its a great honour to be included in the nominations for this award. Id like to thank any player who voted for me.

Nick Evans: Its a real privilege to have been nominated for the Computacenter Players Player of the Year Award and thank you to the players who voted for me and to my team mates and coaches for putting me in this position. Hopefully it will be a Quins name on the trophy this year with Chris and Mike also in the running, but the Leicester and Northampton boys have played brilliantly this season so anyone deserves to win it.

Chris Robshaw: Its a massive honour to have made the shortlist. It means so much when you know you have earned the respect of other players in the Aviva Premiership and Id like to thank anyone who voted for me. The shortlist is made up of some fantastic players and its brilliant to see two of my team mates on there too. Its great to have that recognition and hopefully we can live up to it in the next huge games for Quins.

Quotes from LV= Young Player of the Year nominees:

Freddie Burns: There I was having a gentle mid-afternoon nap when I get a text to call the RPA and I hear Ive been nominated for LV= Young Player of the Year. Now that was well worth waking up for. Sweet! I have to say its a total shock, but its a really nice feeling to know you are held in high regard by your fellow players in the Aviva Premiership. Thats special knowing other players have voted. When you see all the guys on the shortlist and you know how well theyve gone this season, it feels great that you have been put on that level. I know all these guys well from age-group level so Im pleased for all of them, although to be honest it will be a nightmare if Jonny May wins as hell be rubbing it in every day for months! [Laughs]

Jonny May: My first reaction is that Im completely humbled. To hear the names of the other guys on the shortlist is humbling because I have so much respect for them and they have played so well this season. I couldnt stand to see Freddie win it though because no doubt he would gloat to all the women about it  he already backs himself as a ladies man! [Laughs]

Owen Farrell: Its a massive honour to be voted for by the rest of the players. You spend every week playing against these guys, trying to prove yourself, so for some players to have nominated me feels brilliant. Ive enjoyed every minute of the season and have picked up so much from the guys I play alongside week in week out in the Aviva Premiership.

George Ford: Its a massive honour to be voted for by the players and as youd expect Im really happy to have been nominated! But its due to the team effort and I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity I have this season. I know all the guys on the list and especially Owen Farrell who Ive known for last six or seven years and its just nice to have made the same list as some of these guys who are playing in the Aviva Premiership week in and week out.

Christian Wade: Im so chuffed. I cant really believe it. Ive loved every second of the games Ive played this season, but having been injured for a while from January I didnt think I would have made that much of an impression on the other guys. This news has been a real boost going into such an important match this weekend and I really hope we can win it for all of the Wasps fans who have supported us so well.

Damian Hopley, RPA CEO : To be voted the best player in the Aviva Premiership by your peers remains the ultimate domestic honour and I would like to congratulate all players who have made the respected shortlists for The Computacenter Players Player of the Year and the LV= Young Player of the Year awards. After a transformational Six Nations campaign for England, it is very encouraging to see that once again all the nominees for the Young Player Award are English qualified, which bodes well for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The RPA Computacenter Players Awards is a momentous night for our members. It gives players an opportunity to honour their colleagues while also raising valuable funds for The RPA Benevolent Fund  the Professional Players Charity.

Notes to Editors:

Previous winners of the RPA Players Player of the Year Award are:
2011: Thomas Waldrom  Leicester Tigers
2010: Schalk Brits – Saracens
2009: Seilala Mapusua – London Irish
2008: Riki Flutey – London Wasps
2007: Glen Jackson – Saracens
2006: Jason White – Sale Sharks
2005: Martin Corry – Leicester Tigers
2004: Bruce Reihana – Northampton Saints
2003: Jonny Wilkinson – Newcastle Falcons
2002: Jason Robinson – Sale Sharks
2001: Mike Catt – Bath Rugby
2000: Pat Lam – Northampton Saints
1999: Neil Back – Leicester Tigers

For more information and for media opportunities before the Awards, please contact:

Melissa Platt
mplatt@theRPA.co.uk
Phone: 020 8831 7930 Mobile: 07770470106