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Rugby News

Veainu named RPA Players' Player of the Year

Telusa Veainu paid tribute to the players and staff at Leicester Tigers after being named the RPA Players’ Player of the Year.

Veainu received the most number of votes from his fellow professionals to claim the award at the 20th RPA Players’ Awards, in association with England Rugby, which were held in central London on Wednesday evening.

Tigers full-back Veainu scored 10 tries in all competitions for Tigers this season.

The 27-year-old beat 89 defenders, the most in the regular Aviva Premiership season since Opta, the official statisticians, began recording this data in 2008/09. He also made 1,520m, the third most in the league, while his 21 offloads was the sixth highest.

Tonga international Veainu said: “It’s an enormous privilege to win this award. I am very surprised but also very thankful for the awesome support shown by my peers.

"I must give credit to my Leicester teammates and coaching staff. Rugby is obviously a team sport and while these individual awards are very humbling, it takes 14 other guys to do their jobs on the pitch to allow me to play my best. Without their support I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Watch our LTTV highlights of Veainu's season below.

Former Tigers centre and England head coach Sir Clive Woodward became the latest inductee in the RPA Hall of Fame.

Sir Clive, who is also a former Tigers board member, said: “It is a great honour to be inducted into the RPA Hall of Fame, alongside some wonderful players and personalities who have contributed so much to the game.

“I still consider myself a player first and a coach second. It was my experiences as a player that have shaped my approach to coaching. I still view the game through a player’s eyes and I am sure that is why I love the game now as much as ever.”

The RPA Blyth Spirit Award went to Doddie Weir and Ed Jackson.

Weir said: “I have been overwhelmed by the rugby community’s amazing response to my diagnosis and the launch of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and feel fortunate to have had so much enjoyment from the game.”

Jackson added: “I want to dedicate this award to all of you that have made such a big difference to me and my family over the last twelve months. It’s not what I have done but what everyone has done for me that shows the true spirit of rugby. Thank you.”

Other notable award winners included Marcus Smith, who was named the Sanlam Young Player of the Year, Mako Vunipola, the England Men's Player of the Year in association with All Sport Insurance, and Danielle Waterman, the O2 England Women's Player of the Year.