Saints duo beaten to RPA awards by Gloucester pair
Cobus Reinach and Rory Hutchinson missed out on awards at the Rugby Players' Association (RPA) dinner at Twickenham on Wednesday night.
Saints scrum-half Reinach was nominated for the players' player of the year award, but Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani was the winner.
And Saints centre Hutchinson was also beaten by a Gloucester player as wing Ollie Thorley scooped the young player of the year prize.
There was good news for Northampton flanker Jamie Gibson, though, as he earned the RPA gain line award, which is reward for his business work off the field.
Gibson, a passionate cook, has made the most of his love for food by launching his very own cooking blog, Butter Wouldn't Melt.
The 28-year-old has also worked hard to establish a successful business, Pannacotta, with his wife.
The online shop sells handcrafted baby items, such as wooden toys and hand embroidered blankets.
Gibson has harnessed his strong interest in photography to capture all images found on the site, leading to numerous local businesses approaching him to take similar shots for their use.
“I was thrilled to have won the first (RPA personal development) award, but I’m blown away to have been selected as the overall winner for 2019," Gibson said.
"Any recognition is hugely appreciated, but when I look around and see so many other players getting stuck in with their own talents and interests off the pitch, it’s a huge compliment to have been chosen as the winner.
"I am a very lucky man to have the opportunity to work every day alongside the woman I love on businesses we’re both extremely passionate about.”
Former Saints centre Rob Horne, who was forced to retire last year after suffering a career-ending arm injury, won the Blyth Spirit award, which recognises tremendous courage in the face of adversity.
"I am humbled and appreciative to receive the Blyth Spirit award," Horne said.
"I want to thank the rugby community as a whole for their unwavering support during a life-changing event.
"The thing about life-changing injuries is that they change lives, for everyone involved.
"My brachial plexus injury has challenged me but also enlightened me through exposure to new experiences, inspiring people and different perspectives.
"I don't believe that things happen for a reason, I believe that things happen, then it’s up to you as to what happens next."
The 2019 RPA winners...
The RPA players' player of the year: Danny Cipriani - Gloucester Rugby
The Sanlam young player of the year: Ollie Thorley - Gloucester Rugby
The O2 England Women's player of the year: Sarah Bern
England Men's player of the year: Jonny May
England Women's 7s player of the year: Alex Matthews
England Men's 7s player of the year: Will Muir
RPA Gain Line award: Jamie Gibson - Saints
RPA Special Merit award: Mathew Tait
RPA Blyth Spirit award: Rob Horne