Wood handed player award

Northampton forward named Aviva Premiership Player of the Season

Last Updated: 10/05/11 11:15pm

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Northampton flanker Tom Wood was named the Aviva Premiership Player of the Season at the league's awards ceremony on Tuesday.

England international Wood beat Saints team-mate Brian Mujati to the award, with Saracens hooker Schalk Brits in third place.

Wood has been a key figure in a Northampton side that has secured a place in the Premiership semi-finals and also reached the Heineken Cup final.

He moved to Franklin's Gardens from relegated Worcester last summer and says he has had a dream start to his Northampton career.

"I've definitely enjoyed my time at the Saints. It couldn't have gone much better really," the 24-year-old said.

"'I knew I had a challenge to establish myself as a Saints player, especially with the quality players that we have in the back row, and everything else has been a bonus.

"I certainly had no hesitation in signing a new contract. Hopefully we can finish the job this season and then build on that to bring more success to the club in the next few years."

Saints success

There was more success for Northampton as Jim Mallinder beat Saracens' Mark McCall and Rob Baxter of Exeter to win the QBE Director of Rugby of the Year award.

Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi took the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award - for players under 21 years old on the day of the Premiership final - ahead of Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell.

The MBNA Try of the Season was given to Brits for his score against Gloucester on April 24, while Sarries team-mate Hayden Smith took the Aviva Community Player of the Season award.

Exeter's Tom Johnson won the Gatorade Performance of the Season Award for his display in Exeter's win against Sale Sharks in November.

Newcastle fly-half Jimmy Gopperth was presented with the Gilbert Golden Boot award for the second straight year after a personal tally of 230 points, while Alesana Tuilagi collected his Guinness Top Try Scorer of the Season award with 12 tries.

Saracens scrum-half Kevin Barrett was named as the inaugural winner of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series Player of the Season.

Exeter lock Tom Hayes was named as the captain of the ESPN Dream Team, which was chosen by former England players Austin Healey and Ben Kay.

Dream Team: 15 M Brown (Harlequins); 14 D Strettle (Saracens), 13 M Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), 12 A Allen (Leicester Tigers), 11 C Ashton (Northampton Saints); 10 J Gopperth (Newcastle Falcons), 9 D Care (Harlequins); 1 S Tonga'uiha (Northampton Saints), 2 S Brits (Saracens), 3 B Mujati (Northampton Saints), 4 C Lawes (Northampton Saints), 5 T Hayes (Exeter Chiefs, capt), 6 T Wood (Northampton Saints), 7 J Burger (Saracens), 8 T Waldrom (Leicester Tigers).

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