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Aviva Premiership
Tom Youngs crowned Player of the Year
ESPN Staff
May 9, 2013
Leicester's Tom Youngs poses with the Premiership Player of the Season award, May 9, 2013
Leicester's Tom Youngs poses with the Aviva Premiership Player of the Season award © Getty Images
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Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs was named Aviva Premiership Player of the Year on Thursday evening.

The hooker has enjoyed a remarkable year in which he made his debut for England, established himself as their first choice No.2 and will travel with the British & Irish Lions in the summer. And all this after he originally started his rugby career in the centres and after opting to switch to the front-row, had a spell at Nottingham learning the trade.

Youngs, who beat Steve Borthwick, Akapusi Qera, Danny Care, Julian Salvi and Christian Wade to the honour, made his debut for England against Fiji back in November and has now played in nine successive matches for the national side. At his club side Leicester, he has formed an integral part of their side and Premiership Rugby's director of rugby Phil Winstanley heralded Youngs' impressive campaign.

Dream Team

  • 15. Luke Arscott (Exeter Chiefs); 14. Tom Varndell (London Wasps), 13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), 12. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), 11. Christian Wade (London Wasps); 10. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers), 9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers); 1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens), 2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers), 3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), 4. Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers), 5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), 6. Tom Wood (Northampton Saints), 7. Julian Salvi (Leicester Tigers), 8. Richie Baxter (Exeter Chiefs)

His story is extraordinary," Winstanley said. "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!

"I am sure that he will be the first to tell you that this award is also a tribute to the coaching staff at Leicester Tigers who have helped him every step of the way. He wouldn't be on the Lions tour and have become England's first choice hooker without their patience, dedication and expertise and it is such a positive endorsement of the Leicester Tigers academy system which has produced Tom and five of his team mates for this year's Lions tour.

"Tom certainly didn't get it his own way in the voting with every player on the shortlist getting significant support. In the end though, it was Tom's positional move and what he has achieved in such a short time that edged it his way."

Wade was up for three awards on the night and he had to settle for the top try-scorer gong which he shared with team-mate Tom Varndell for his 13 scores this season. And it his Wasps team-mate Joe Launchbury who beat Wade to the Discovery of the Season award. Similar to Youngs, Launchbury made his debut for England this term and shone on the Premiership scene and he was picked for the gong ahead of Wade, Freddie Burns, Jonny May, Mako Vunipola and Luke Wallace.

The director of the season award was between Saracens' Mark McCall, London Welsh's Lyn Jones, Leicester's Richard Cockerill and Wasps' Dai Young. And the panel opted to hand it to the Sarries coach after he led them to the top of the Premiership table and to a Heineken Cup semi-final.

The game changer of the season award went to Harlequins' Ollie Lindsay-Hague for his performance against London Welsh while Dan Bowden's score versus Saracens was named Try of the Season.

The awards in full:

Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season:
Winner: Tom Youngs
Shortlist: Steve Borthwick (Saracens), Danny Care (Harlequins), Akapusi Qera (Gloucester Rugby), Julian Salvi - (Leicester Tigers), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Discovery of the Season:
Winner: Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Shortlist: Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Luke Wallace (Harlequins)

Director of Rugby of the Season:
Winner: Mark McCall (Saracens)
Shortlist: Richard Cockerill (Leicester Tigers), Lyn Jones (London Welsh), Mark McCall (Saracens), Dai Young (London Wasps)

Try of the Season:
Winner: Dan Bowden (Leicester Tigers v Saracens - 23.2.13)

Game Changer of the Season:
Winner: Ollie Lindsay-Hague (Harlequins)

Community Player of the Season:
Winner: Shaun Perry (Worcester Warriors)

J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Series Player of the Season:
Winner: Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)

Top Try Scorer of the Season:
Winners: Tom Varndell and Christian Wade (both London Wasps) - 13 tries

Golden Boot:
Winner: Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby) - 240 points
Runner-up: Gareth Steenson (Exeter Chiefs) - 239 points

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