Bok strongman wins top Premiership award
AWARDS: Springbok strongman Jasper Wiese has put down another big marker ahead of the World Cup in France.
The 20-times capped Bok has been crowned the Players’ Player of the Year at this year’s RPA Awards 2023.
The Leicester Tigers No.8 polled the greatest number of votes from his fellow professionals to claim the most prestigious award in the English game, capping off a fantastic year for the South African.
The 27-year-old loose forward has been a key cog for Tigers, who were knocked out in the semiofinals last weekend.
He featured fourteen times in the league, and scoring six tries.
He also made 130 tackles, 11 offloads and 218 carries, the fourth highest in the competition.
Up against some other incredible talent including Mateo Carreras, Ben Earl, Alex Mitchell and Tom Pearson, Wiese’s stellar season shows just why he deserves this illustrious award.
“It’s very humbling to be named the winner of such a prestigious and special award,” Wiese said.
“I’d like to thank the players from around the competition for voting for me, and I just want to thank my Leicester teammates for their support too.”
Meanwhile, London Irish’s Tom Pearson took this year’s Young Player of the Year award.
Pearson had a hugely influential season, helping Irish finish fifth in the table. The flanker has won 21 turnovers, and made 235 tackles, the second highest in the league. He beat off Matteo Carreras, Fin Smith and Gus Warr to take the title.
Pearson said: “I am honoured to win the year’s Young Player Award, especially getting voted by other players across the Premiership, it means a lot so thank you.”
Over in the international circuit, for a second year running, Freddie Steward won the England Men’s Player of the Year Award.
Meanwhile, last year’s Premier15s winner Sadia Kabeya took the award for England Women’s Player of the Year Award after an incredible Six Nations display. Both these awards were voted for by members of the Elite Players Squads.
Other notable winners on the night included Natasha Hunt being named the Premier 15’s Player of the Year, and Dan Cole, Owen Farrell and Emily Scarratt all being awarded the RPA Special Merit Award, for the outstanding achievement of reaching 100 appearances for their country.
The full list of RPA awards winners
The RPA Players’ Player of the Year
Winner: Jasper Wiese
“It’s very humbling to be named the winner of such a prestigious and special award. I’d like to thank the players from around the competition for voting for me, and I just want to thank my Leicester teammates for their support too.”
The Young Player of the Year
Winner: Tom Pearson
“I am honoured to win the year’s Young Player Award, especially getting voted by other players across the Premiership, it means a lot so thank you.”
The England Women’s Player of the Year Award
Winner: Sadia Kabeya
“A huge thank you to the girls who nominated me for this award, to be named amongst such talented teammates is a privilege in itself but to win is something I am beyond grateful for. it’s been a great year for the Red Roses and it hopefully it only continues!”
The England Men’s Player of the Year
Winner: Freddie Steward
“To hear I won this award for a second year is an incredible feeling. Thank you to all of my teammates who voted for me, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a team which is growing every day and I am very much looking forward to what the future holds with England.”
The Premier 15’s Player of the Year Award
Winner: Natasha Hunt, Gloucester Hartpury
“I am truly honoured to receive this award. I feel very fortunate to be in a team stacked full of world class talent which makes my job easier. To everyone that voted, thank you so much, it means the world. I just love this sport and everyone involved in it.”
The Business Gain Line Award
Winner: Beno Obano
“I’m honoured to receive this award. You don’t really do these types of things to be rewarded for it, but I’m always grateful, so thank you!”
The RPA Special Merit Award
Winners: Dan Cole, Owen Farrell & Emily Scarratt
Dan Cole: “Thank you to the RPA Players’ Board for their nomination. For me to achieve 100 appearances for my country, means a lot of support from home, so I’d just like to thank my friends and family for allowing me to do this. I’m so proud to play for my country, and I’ve had some great teammates and coaches along the way, so thank you to all of them too.”
Owen Farrell: “Thank you to my teammates and family for their support. I love playing for my country, it is a hugely exciting time for England, I can’t wait to be a part of this team, heading into the World Cup, so thank you for this recognition.”
Emily Scarratt: “To play 100 times for my country is amazing, and to make it in my home town meant so much to me. Thank you for this award, and I can’t wait to play for the Red Roses in the next few years to come.”
The RPA Blyth Spirit Award
Winners: Abi Burton and Ed Slater
Abi Burton: “This award means so much to me, it not only represents my journey back to full health and rugby, but the journey that my friends and family had to go through while I was fighting for my life, this is not just for me but for them. This is one of the proudest recognitions I’ve received in my five years of professional rugby.”
Ed Slater: “Thank you to the RPA for this Award, it is very humbling for me and my family. I’m really grateful for the support shown to me by the rugby community, following my diagnosis and will continue to raise awareness and fundraise to help all those suffering from MND.”
The RPA Hall of Fame
Winner: Sarah Hunter & Doddie Weir
Sarah Hunter: “It is an absolute privilege to be inducted into the RPA’s Hall of Fame, and it means even more to be inducted alongside the legend that is Doddie Weir, so thank you to the board for their nomination.”
The Champagne Bollinger RPA Moment of the Season
Winner: Chris Ashton scoring his 100th Premiership try
“Thank you to all of the fans for voting for me to win this award, it means an awful lot. I’ve always wanted to score tries since I first picked up a rugby ball, so to score 100 Premiership tries is something special, so thank you to my family, coaches and teammates who have allowed this to happen.”