Johnny Sexton named Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year

Johnny Sexton named Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year
Sexton with his award. Picture: Inpho

Ireland star Johnny Sexton has been named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year.

The Leinster captain has enjoyed a trophy-laden season for club and country, earning individual praise all season.

With Ireland, Sexton won the Six Nations - in doing so completing a Grand Slam and picking up a Triple Crown.

He helped Ireland win a Test series against Australia in the southern hemisphere and last week helped Joe Schmidt's side beat New Zealand for the first time on Irish soil.

With Leinster, Sexton guided his team to a superb double, winning the Pro14 and the Champions Cup last season.

On winning the award - which was voted for by the Irish rugby media - Sexton said he was delighted.

It’s a very prestigious award to win in Ireland. You look at the list of players that have won it before, it’s very pleasing that your efforts can be acknowledged.

It could have gone to many, many players with the season we had in this country, I can think of six or seven lads just off the top of my head, so I’m very happy to have been chosen.

Rory Sheridan of Guinness stated that: "2018 has been an incredible year for Irish rugby, one that will long be celebrated and remembered.

"We are delighted to award Johnny Sexton the Guinness Rugby Writers 'Player of The Year Award' for his outstanding performances for Leinster and Ireland."

Claire Molloy was also a winner on the night, picking up the Women’s Player of the Year award for the second year in a row.

The Ireland captain guided Ireland to wins over Wales and Italy in the Six Nations and has enjoyed a fine season with Wasps, who currently sit 3rd in the Premier League.

"I’m truly honoured to receive the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row," said the 63 cap flanker.

I’m very lucky to have great coaches and teammates that have helped my game develop over my career. It was a year of mixed results for the Irish team, in the Six Nations we had some great results at home, but we didn’t quite get the results we wanted on the road.

"We’re looking forward to another big test next weekend in Twickenham."

Leinster's double success was also acknowledged as they were named Club of the Year while Lansdowne won the Tom Rooney Award, which is awarded to a person or club who have made a significant contribution to rugby.

Mike Ruddock's side won every competition they entered at senior level last season.

There were also two inductees into the Guinness Rugby Writers Hall of Fame with Gerry ‘Ginger’ McLoughlin and John O’Driscoll being honoured.

McLoughlin, a Lions tourist in 1983, helped Ireland win a Triple Crown in 1982 scoring a famous try against England in the process.

O'Driscoll, another Lions tourist in 1980 and 1983 won 26 caps for Ireland before going on to be a Lions selector in 2001.

The prizes were presented at gala awards evening, hosted by Gavin Krenski and Rory Sheridan of Guinness, and Simon Lewis, Chairman of the Rugby Writers of Ireland.

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