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Aviva Premiership
Young trio up for pair of awards
ESPN Staff
May 3, 2013
Wasps' Christian Wade races over to score, Wasps v Gloucester, Aviva Premiership, Adams Park, High Wycombe, England, February 17, 2013
Christian Wade is up for both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards © Getty Images
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Nominations for RPA Player of the Year

  • Danny Care - Harlequins
  • Joe Launchbury - London Wasps
  • Julian Salvi - Leicester Tigers
  • Mako Vunipola - Saracens
  • Christian Wade - London Wasps
  • Tom Youngs - Leicester Tigers

Shortlist for RPA Young Player of the Year

  • Elliot Daly - London Wasps
  • Joe Launchbury - London Wasps
  • Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs
  • Billy Vunipola - London Wasps
  • Mako Vunipola - Saracens
  • Christian Wade - London Wasps

The shortlist for the Rugby Players' Association's end of year awards has been announced with Wasps and Leicester both having two players in the final six for the Player of the Year gong.

Wasps' Christian Wade and Joe Launchbury both get the nod while Leicester's Julian Salvi and Tom Youngs are also in the mix. Completing the shortlist are Saracens' Mako Vunipola and Harlequins' Danny Care. Wade, Launchbury and Vunipola have also received nominations for the Young Player of the Year Award alongside Mako's brother Billy, Jack Nowell and Elliot Daly.

The news sees Wade complete a clean sweep of award nominations as he is also up for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Year gong, alongside Leicester's Salvi, Youngs and Harlequins' Care.

Launchbury, Tom Youngs and Mako Vunipola have all enjoyed a remarkable year which saw them make their debuts for England while Wade has continued to push his claims for a Test spot with a series of impressive performances on the flank for Wasps. Care has shone for Harlequins while Salvi has continued to put in a solid showing for the Tigers at openside.

RPA CEO Damian Hopley said of the announcement: "This has been another remarkable season for English rugby and it is great to see so much young home grown talent emerging throughout the Aviva Premiership. I would like to congratulate all those players who have been nominated by their peers for these awards - which are the most coveted in English rugby."

What the players said:

Danny Care: "I am absolutely delighted to be nominated for the Players' Player of the Year Award. It always means so much more when it's your peers voting for you and I'd like to thank everyone who nominated me as well as Harlequins and my team mates as I wouldn't be on the list without the team performances. That's a tough list of players to beat though so we'll have to wait and see!"

Joe Launchbury: "It's a massive honour to be nominated. To be recognised and voted for by your peers is what means most to the players. I'm absolutely delighted and surprised, particularly to make the shortlist for the main Players' Player of the Year. That's a big shock to be part of the top list when there are so many amazing players in the Aviva Premiership. We've been playing some good rugby at Wasps and I owe a lot to the club and the team to allow me to be in this position.

"I'm also really happy to the see the other Wasps' players on the Young Player of the Year shortlist. I'm sure there'll be some fun rivalry now about who might win it, but everyone really deserves to be there."

Julian Salvi: "It's very humbling to be nominated by the players you play against every week. As well as playing for enjoyment you always want to earn the respect of the players you go up against and it's the absolute pinnacle to be recognised in this way by your peers. It's been a fantastic career move for me joining Leicester Tigers and I'm loving my rugby here which is hopefully showing through in some of my performances, so a massive thanks must go to the Tigers and my team mates."

Mako Vunipola: "It's a great honour to be voted for by my peers and make both shortlists. If I could have bought the dream season, given what's happened, this would have been it! The only thing which could top everything that's happened so far is if we can win silverware with Saracens who I owe a lot of this season to. It's also great for the family to see Billy on the Young Player list. I'd better call him!"

© Getty Images
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Christian Wade: "I'm quite shocked to hear I have made both shortlists. I was hoping I might be in with a chance of being nominated for the Young Player of the Year category but to also feature on the shortlist for the Players' Player is a truly humbling moment. I have so much respect for the more experienced players in the game and so to be acknowledged by some of them and to have your hard work recognised by the people you play against week in, week out, is an absolutely awesome feeling.

"It's great to see so many players from Wasps on the list. Last year was tough for us but it gave us a bag of experience which has come in useful for this season and helped us all to progress."

Tom Youngs: "It's a great honour to be nominated for the Players' Player of the Year Award. To know some players you have battled against week in week out have voted for you is very special. It's been an absolute dream season for me and I'd like to thank Richard Cockerill and the Tigers coaches for taking the risk on me and most importantly sticking with me and supporting me when I was making mistakes early in my switch to hooker!

"I learnt so much during that time and to know you have coaches and team mates who will stick by you during the hard times makes such a difference to a player's confidence and performance."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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