Pair on shortlist Cipriani, Thorley are nominated
DANNY Cipriani has been nominated for the RPA Players’ Player of the Year 2019. His team-mate Ollie Thorley has also been nominated for Young Player of the Year with both being key figures in a Gloucester side that has reached the Premiership play-offs for the first time in eight years.
Cipriani enjoyed an outstanding first season at Gloucester and is one of five men on the shortlist for the top award, which is voted for by the players.
The only other Englishman on the list is centre Henry Slade, who is joined by Exeter Chiefs team-mate Santiago Cordero, with a pair of South African scrumhalves in Sale’s Faf de Klerk and Northampton’s Cobus Reinach completing the list.
“This is a big honour to be recognised in this way,” said Cipriani.
“I have enjoyed my first season with Gloucester and I am excited and motivated by what lies ahead. Thank you to my fellow players for the continued support.”
Cipriani was watched by Eddie Jones at Worcester on Sunday but the fly-half has been overlooked for international honours this season.
Thorley has scored six tries in 15 appearances this season with his form earning him a first senior England callup ahead of the Six Nations.
The 22-year-old is up against Bath and England wing Joe Cokanasiga, back rowers Tom Curry and Alex Dombrandt and Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson.
“It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for the RPA Young Player of the Year award,” said Thorley.
“There are so many amazing young players coming through the competition currently and long may that continue. I’m enjoying every single moment of it.”
The RPA Players’ Awards will take place on Wednesday, May 8 at Twickenham.
Meanwhile, Ben Morgan has won Gloucester’s Players’ Player of the Year award.
The club held their end of season dinner at Cheltenham Racecourse with the number eight coming away with the top honour.
Morgan, inset, has produced consistently outstanding performances in a campaign that has seen the Cherry and Whites already assured of a play-off place with two games of the regular season remaining.
The 30-year-old earned a recall to the England squad ahead of the autumn internationals but picked up an injury in training and did not feature in any of the games.
Cipriani was another winner on the night, picking up the Back of the year award with Fraser Balmain named Forward of the Year, both picked by the Gloucester coaching team.
The Gloucester’s Supporters’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year will be revealed after their final home game of the season against Newcastle on Saturday.
The awards evening also recognised staff members behind the scenes and the women’s and wheelchair rugby branches of the club.
Outstanding achievement award Helen Roe for work on the club rebrand.
Gloucester-hartpury Player of the Season - Millie Wood.
Gloucester Titans Wheelchair Rugby Player of the Season - Brad Hedges
Gloucester Community Department Player of the Season - Aaron Hinkley Forward of the Year - Fraser Balmain Back of the Year - Danny Cipriani Try of the Season - Ollie Thorley v Leicester Chairman’s Award - Alex Brown Players’ Player - Ben Morgan.