Halfpenny named Player of the Championship
March 22, 2013
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny has been rewarded for an outstanding Six Nations campaign © Getty Images
Wales' Leigh Halfpenny has been named the Six Nations Player of the Championship after claiming 40% of the 80,000 votes cast in an online poll to decide the recipient of the honour.
Six Nations Roll of Honour
Halfpenny, who notched 74 points to help propel his side to back-to-back Six Nations titles, edged out Italy's Alessandro Zanni and Scotland's Stuart Hogg in the poll with some of European rugby's biggest including Italy's Sergio Parisse, England captain Chris Robshaw and fellow Wales stars Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar and Adam Jones among the others to miss out.
The 24-year-old fullback, hotly-tipped to be selected for the British & Irish Lions' tour to Australia later this year, said: "I can't thank the people who voted for me enough. It's a real honour and privilege to be voted RBS 6 Nations Player of the Championship, and I'm overwhelmed to be in amongst the players shortlisted.
"It's the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for Wales, and it is a privilege to be part of such an exceptional group of people. For my name to be added to the list of players who have won this award in the past is incredible and extremely humbling."
Halfpenny was quick to heap praise on his team-mates having claimed a 12-point haul in his side's stunning 30-3 victory over England in the title-decider last weekend that could have set the seal on back-to-back Grand Slams had they not slumped to a defeat at the hands of Ireland in their opening clash.
"When I reflect on the Six Nations as a whole, it is with a sense of pride even if the regret of the Irish defeat will always be there," he said earlier this week. "That's sport at the end of the day, not everything goes your way all of the time.
"How do I assess my own form? Look, it is hard to make a call on your own performances, but I'm pleased with the way it went for me personally...When you get praised you just have to remember that rugby is ultimately a team sport. I've never kicked a single goal without the hard work and good play of a team-mate giving me the opportunity to do so. And I'll miss the guys as we go our separate ways for the rest of the season."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September