Aviva Premiership: Leicester hooker Tom Youngs named Player of the Season
Last Updated: 10/05/13 6:52am
Tom Youngs: The new Aviva Premiership Player of the Season
Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs has been named Aviva Premiership Player of the Season for the 2012-13 campaign.
Youngs continued his rise through the ranks this season, becoming England's first choice in the No 2 jersey less than two years after starting his career as a centre - he also appeared for England as an U20 player on the wing.
The brother of Tigers team-mate Ben, Youngs was called into the England squad for the first time against Fiji last year and has appeared in their last nine Test matches, eight of them as a starter - he was also named in Warren Gatland's Lions squad.
"His story is extraordinary," said Premiership Rugby director Phil Winstanley. "To move from the centre to hooker is practically unheard of in professional rugby. To then go on and make your England debut and a Lions tour the following season is what dreams are made of.
"If you had suggested such a move could be done a few years ago in Aviva Premiership Rugby people would have doubted your sanity, but Tom has proved almost anything is possible.
"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."
Youngs also secured a place in the Aviva Premiership Dream Team, along with Ben and six other members of the Leicester team.
The Land Rover Discovery of the Season award went to Wasps and England lock Joe Launchbury, who like Youngs made a rapid rise through the ranks in the last 12 months.
The final major award, the QBE Director of Rugby of the Season, went to Saracens supremo Mark McCall, who guided his team to the top of the table at the end of the regular season - they lost only four games and finished three points clear of the Tigers.
talkSPORT Dream Team: Luke Arscott (Exeter); Tom Varndell (Wasps), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Christian Wade (Wasps); Toby Flood (Leicester), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Dan Cole (Leicester); Ed Slater (Leicester), Geoff Parling (Leicester); Tom Wood (Northampton), Julian Salvi (Leicester), Richie Baxter (Exeter)