RPA Awards: Brown, Launchbury and Vunipola shortlisted for England Player of the Year
Last Updated: 14/05/14 2:54pm
Full-back Mike Brown leads the three-man shortlist for the Rugby Players Association England Player of the Year accolade, with 2013 winner Joe Launchbury and Saracens back-row Billy Vunipola also nominated.
Launchbury, who claimed the inaugural award last year, is nominated once again following another stellar season which has seen the London Wasps second-row start in England’s last 16 test matches.
"It’s brilliant to even be nominated for this award. Knowing that it’s my fellow England players who have voted for me is a huge honour."
The 23-year-old finished his 2013 international year with his first try against Argentina in the summer international series and then doubled his tally a week later with a touchdown against New Zealand.
“Obviously to be nominated in the category for England Player of the Year Award is awesome and one that I’m very chuffed about,” Launchbury told the RPA’s official website.
“It’s been a really good year for the team and I feel as a squad we have come along leaps and bounds over the last few months.”
Mike Brown, who is also shortlisted for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Year, turned in three man of the match performances in this season’s Six Nations, leading to him being named RBS Six Nations Player of the Championship.
“It’s brilliant to even be nominated for this award,” Brown said. “Knowing that it’s my fellow England players who have voted for me is a huge honour.
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“We’ve worked really hard this year as a squad and have made some great progress, winning the first Triple Crown in ten years which has made us even hungrier for success.”
Vunipola, who has broken onto the international stage over the last 18 months, rounds off a remarkable year for both club and country with nomination also in the LV= Young Player of the Year Award 2014.
“It feels surreal to be honest, I never thought anyone would vote for me,” Vunipola claimed.
“But of course it’s a massive honour but I’m not expecting too much as the two other guys have had amazing years.
“I still pinch myself every time I pull on the England shirt, so to be nominated for an award like this is very special.”
The England Player of the Year Award 2014 in association with Rhead Group nominees are:
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasp)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)