The shortlist for the newly sponsored, England Player of the Year Award 2014 in association with Rhead Group, has today been announced, with the award being presented at the RPA Computacenter Players’ Awards 2014 on Wednesday 21st May at Battersea Evolution.
Harlequins’ fullback Mike Brown, London Wasps’ lock Joe Launchbury and Saracens’ forward Billy Vunipola make up the shortlist for this year’s award, which enters into its second year on the RPA awards programme.
Joe Launchbury who won the 2013 award, is nominated once again following another fine season which saw the forward start in England’s last 16 test matches. The 23-year-old finished his 2013 International year with his first try against Argentina in the QBE Internationals and then doubled his tally a week later with a five pointer against New Zealand.
This year’s other nominees Mike Brown and Billy Vunipola have both been in impressive form for England over the last 12 months, with Brown earning three man of the match performances in this season’s RBS 6 Nations, as well as being named RBS 6 Nations Player of the Championship. Brown was also named man of the match in England’s 20-13 victory over Australia in November. Vunipola caps off a remarkable year for both club and country with nomination also in the LV= Young Player of the Year Award 2014.
Nigel Curry, CEO of Rhead Group, commented: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the England Player of the Year Award 2014. Many of the skills needed to win at rugby are identical to those required to construct major infrastructure projects. This sponsorship builds on our work with the RPA focusing on player’s professional development after their rugby careers. We are looking forward to working with the RPA on developing additional support programmes and business mentoring going forward.