Lawes ends long wait to claim Saints' supporters' player of the season prize

Courtney Lawes has claimed Saints' supporters' player of the season award for the first time during his storied career at Franklin's Gardens.

Saturday, 31st October 2020, 7:55 pm
Courtney Lawes

The end-of-season gongs were handed out at a special one-off ceremony at a pop-up restaurant at the Gardens on Six Nations Super Saturday.

While the red carpet would usually be rolled out for the entire squad and almost 1,000 guests for a glittering black-tie event on the hallowed turf, this year social-distancing guidelines saw the awards winners announced in a unique way via a conference call.

And Lawes, who has enjoyed a 13-year career at Saints after emerging from the Academy, was one of the biggest winners, earning 25 per cent of the fans' vote.

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“This award really means a great deal to me," said the 87-cap England and British & Irish Lions international.

“It’s one I haven’t won before – I’ve been pipped to the post a few times in the past by many great players – so it’s a fantastic feeling to finally pick one up.”

Lawes' second-row partner and fellow England international, David Ribbans, claimed the Carlsberg players’ player of the season prize.

The hard-hitting 25-year-old lock was voted as the winner by his team-mates within Saints’ senior squad following a stellar season.

It saw him battle through two injury setbacks to make 17 appearances and score seven tries, earning himself a maiden England call-up in the process.

And Ribbans said: “It was a frustrating start to the season for me obviously, getting an ankle injury and then a broken wrist.

“While the results did not go our way, I enjoyed my rugby in the second half of the season, and it is a great honour to be voted for this award by my team-mates.”

“Getting the call into the England camp and training with the squad the last few weeks has been fantastic.

"It is obviously something I have been pushing for, so I was stoked to get involved.”

Props Paul Hill and Emmanuel Iyogun both also claimed some silverware, collecting the Michael Jones Jeweller try of the season and Church’s breakthrough player of the season awards respectively.

Hill’s only try to date for the men in black, green and gold was voted the best of the entire campaign, with the tighthead scything through the Leicester Tigers defence at Welford Road back in September.

And 19-year-old Iyogun was recognised for his standout performances in the face of a loosehead injury crisis at Franklin’s Gardens towards the end of the season, most notably during the club’s European Champions Cup quarter-final defeat at Exeter Chiefs.

Last but by no means least, centre Fraser Dingwall was named GRS Group young player of the season, following a superb campaign which saw the former England U20 skipper score six tries in 24 appearances.

“This award is very special for me, just because of the number of really talented young players we do have within our squad,” Dingwall said.

“That really excites us; we know as a group we can continue to build and hopefully learn from the tough period at the back end of last season, develop and then kick on in the future.”

Several players also reached significant milestones during the 2019/20 season for making 50, 100 and 200 appearances for Saints, and will be awarded their club caps in the coming weeks.

Saints' 2019/20 end-of-season award winners

Carlsberg players’ player of the season: David Ribbans

Travis Perkins supporters’ player of the season: Courtney Lawes

GRS Group young player of the season: Fraser Dingwall

Michael Jones Jeweller try of the season: Paul Hill

Church’s Breakthrough player of the season: Emmanuel Iyogun

200 appearances cap: Tom Wood

100 appearances cap: Paul Hill

50 appearances caps: James Fish, Piers Francis, Rory Hutchinson, Lewis Ludlam, Reece Marshall, Taqele Naiyaravoro, David Ribbans