Leigh Halfpenny has been named the top player in the 2013 Six Nations
Last Updated: 22/03/13 5:10pm
Leigh Halfpenny: Played a huge part in the Welsh triumph.
Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has won the RBS Player of the Championship award for the 2013 Six Nations.
Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has won the RBS Player of the Championship award for the 2013 Six Nations after playing a starring role in the Welsh triumph.
A 15-man shortlist was decided through a mixture of technical statistics and fan sentiment on social media, which was then voted on by 80,000 fans.
And the 24-year-old Halfpenny triumphed with over 40 per cent of the vote after a superlative campaign, during which he impressed with his kicking, notching 74 points, and his superb tackling.
Wales bounced back from an opening loss to Ireland to win their next four games, thrashing England at Cardiff last Saturday to clinch the title, and Halfpenny is favourite to be the Lions full-back in the Tests against Australia this summer.
"I can't thank the people who voted for me enough," said Halfpenny, who plays his club rugby for Cardiff Blues.
"It's a real honour and privilege, and I am overwhelmed to be among 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."
Zanni and Hogg next best
Italy flanker Alessandro Zanni finished runner-up in the voting, with Scotland's dashing full-back Stuart Hogg third.
Halpenny is following in the footsteps of his Wales colleague Dan Lydiate, who took the top Six Nations individual award last season.
And Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley said: "Leigh is fearless, courageous and is one of the best full-backs in world rugby. He can be very proud of his performances throughout the championship.
"He constantly strives for perfection in his preparation and performance, and he sets high standards.
"He is a model professional in every facet of the game, and I am delighted for him. His contribution to the side has been huge."