Pocock wins second RUPA Medal for Excellence

David Pocock has won a second RUPA Excellence award

Brumbies and Wallabies back rower David Pocock has crowned an outstanding 2015 season by taking out The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) Medal for Excellence, at Wednesday’s RUPA Awards Lunch.

The award is Australia’s highest player-voted individual honour. Pocock, who won the same award in 2010, was also chosen by the people of Australia as their favourite Rugby player in 2015, with his on and off-field performance and commitment acknowledged as he topped the online poll in the People’s Choice Award.

Speaking about winning the RUPA Medal for Excellence from Africa, where is on his well-earned holidays, Pocock said it was a very special honour.

“I’m sorry I can’t be there today to accept this in person,” Pocock said in a video shown at the RUPA Awards Lunch, “but it’s always an honour to be recognised by your peers.

“They are the ones you play alongside and against, and at the end of the day their opinion really does matter, so it’s a huge honour to win the RUPA Medal for Excellence; thank you very much.”

The awards capped a remarkable 2015 for Pocock which saw the 26 year old calmly dispel any doubts about his long-term durability as he shrugged off two seasons ruined by serious knee injuries to star for the Brumbies on their run to the Super Rugby Semi Finals. He scored eight tries for the Brumbies, including two hat-tricks, while in defence he made more than 96% of the tackles he attempted, and as always, was a constant threat at the breakdown for any opposing player.

Pocock was then one of the genuine stars of the Wallabies’ run to the Rugby World Cup Final, and he was named in the Team of the Tournament for the second successive time. He scored a double in his side’s opening Pool A clash against Fiji and also crossed the line against New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup Final. Away from Rugby, David is currently studying a Bachelor of Ecological Agricultural Systems at Charles Sturt University, and he is keenly interested in environmental and conservation issues.

Ita Vaea named Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Players’ Player

Brumbies backrower Ita Vaea was chosen by players from every team in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) as the NRC Players’ Player.

Ita, who was also the runner up in the Brumbies’ Players’ Player voting this season, thoroughly excelled in his first NRC campaign with the University of Canberra Vikings.

He scored five of his six NRC tries at Viking Park, as the UC Vikings made it all the way to the 2015 NRC Grand Final, to cap a remarkable comeback campaign after spending the past two years out of the game with a life-threatening injury.

In total there were 13 Brumbies representatives nominated for this year’s RUPA Awards.

The RUPA Awards Lunch, one of the highlights of the Australian Rugby calendar, allows RUPA’s members to acknowledge the significant achievements of their peers on and off the field. With a who’s who of Australian Rugby in attendance among a room of over 300 people including players, coaches, sponsors, media and other stakeholders of the game, it is seen as the ideal way to celebrate and reflect upon the Rugby season as the calendar year comes to a close before returning for next year’s Super Rugby competition in February.

28 players from Australia’s five Super Rugby franchises and the Australian Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens program who had been in attendance at RUPA’s Induction Camp at Coogee since Monday morning were also in attendance, symbolising a crucial stage in welcoming them to the Australian Rugby family as professional players.

The Rugby Union Players’ Association was incorporated in October 1995 in direct response to the professionalism of Rugby and was established to promote and safeguard the interests of its members, namely the professional Rugby players of Australia.

Its members comprises players from the Wallabies, the NSW Waratahs, the Queensland Reds, Brumbies Rugby, the Western Force, the Melbourne Rebels, the State Union Academies, Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens squads and past professional players since 1996.

Currently 100% of Australia’s full time professional players are members of RUPA.

RUPA Award Winners, 2015:

RUPA Medal for Excellence, David Pocock (Brumbies)

Finalists: Israel Folau, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Greg Holmes, Michael Hooper, Steve Mafi, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, David Pocock, Ita Vaea

Newcomer of the Year, Sefanaia Naivalu (Rebels)

Finalists: Rory Arnold, Ryan Louwrens, Campbell Magnay, Sefanaia Naivalu, Hugh Roach

Academic Achievement Award, Ben Daley (Reds)

Finalists: Ben Alexander, Ben Daley, Greg Jeloudev, Ian Prior, Junior Rasolea

Community Service Award, Paddy Ryan (Waratahs)

Finalists: Ben Daley, Tim Metcher, Paddy Ryan, Jordan Smiler, Joe Tomane

Men’s Sevens Players’ Player, Cam Clark

Finalists: Cam Clark, Tom Cusack, Con Foley, Ed Jenkins, James Stannard

Women’s Sevens Players’ Player, Charlotte Caslick

Finalists: Charlotte Caslick, Emilee Cherry, Shannon Parry, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams

People’s Choice Award, David Pocock (Brumbies)

Finalists: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Stephen Moore, David Pocock

Buildcorp NRC Players’ Player, Ita Vaea (UC Vikings)

Finalists: Jarrad Butler, Nick Frisby, Karmichael Hunt, Samu Kerevi, Junior Laloifi, Jono Lance, Jordy Reid, Ita Vaea

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