Ashton wins Premiership player of the year

Former rugby league star Chris Ashton’s successful conversion to rugby union was confirmed on Tuesday when the Northampton winger was named the English Premiership player of the year.

The 23-year-old – who also broke into the England team during the Six Nations – scored 16 tries this season the second highest of all time only trumped by Dominic Chapman, who scored 17 for Richmond in the 1997-98 season.

Northampton team-mate Soane Tonga’uiha finished in second place as the Tongan prop played in all 23 of Saints’ Premiership matches, scoring three tries.

Saracens South African captain Ernst Joubert finished in third place while his Saracens team-mate and compatriot Schalk Brits and Northampton back row forward Phil Dowson were also nominated.

Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs won the Discovery of the Season award.

The 20-year-old beat Saracens flanker Any Saull into second place after a hugely impressive campaign for the league leaders which won him a place on England’s summer tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Leeds’ Andy Key, who helped keep the newly promoted club up, was voted as the league’s top director of rugby.

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