(Reuters) – England flyhalf Danny Cipriani capped a fine first season with Gloucester Rugby by being named the Player’s Player of the Year by the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old, who guided Gloucester to their first playoff appearance since 2010-11, polled the most number of votes from his fellow professionals to claim the honour.
The 2008 Young Player of the Year became only the third player in RPA history to have won both major awards, following in the footsteps of Christian Wade and Jonny Wilkinson.
“It’s humbling to be named the winner of such a prestigious and special award,” Cipriani said in a statement.
Cipriani fended off competition from Santiago Cordero and Henry Slade (both Exeter Chiefs), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks) and Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints).
“Rugby is the ultimate team sport and every day we work exceptionally hard together as a club to improve every aspect of our performance,” Cipriani added.
“I’d like to thank my fellow professionals for the wonderful recognition and to everyone who has continued to support me along this journey.”
Cipriani’s Gloucester team mate Ollie Thorley was named the Young Player of the Year.
Sarah Bern won the England Women’s Player of the Year award while Jonny May was crowned England Men’s Player of the Year.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)