Wales's Lydiate wins top gong
Wales flank Dan Lydiate has been named as the official Six Nations Player of the Championship for 2012, following his impressive displays for the Grand Slam champions.
The Newport Gwent Dragons back row forward missed Wales’ opening win away to Ireland, but returned with a man-of-the-match performance in the victory at home to Scotland.
And the 23-year-old blindside was also named man-of-the-match in last weekend’s Millennium Stadium win over France that clinched the Championship and sealed Wales’s third Grand Slam in eight years.
Lydiate beat Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton to the award after topping a public poll with more than 25 percent of a ballot that attracted in excess of 30,000 votes. Italy captain Sergio Parisse was third.
The 12-man shortlist for the award was made up of players who received man-of-the-match awards during the tournament.
It was dominated by members of the victorious Wales squad, with skipper Sam Warburton, Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert joining Lydiate among the nominees.
Lydiate’s achievement matched that of Martyn Williams and Shane Williams, who won the award in Wales’ last two Grand Slam seasons in 2005 and 2008.
“I am really surprised to be honest. I am genuinely chuffed to bits,” said Lydiate. “It tops off an amazing competition for me and for Wales.
“To be part of such a talented Wales team and win the Grand Slam in Cardiff on Saturday was incredible in itself but to then be voted player of the championship is absolutely unbelievable.
“It is a massive honour to win, especially given the quality of the other players up for the award. Thanks to everyone who voted for me, it means a lot.”