ISA NACEWA capped a glittering night for Leinster as he became the first overseas player to be named Bord Gáis Energy Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association (IRUPA) Players’ Player of the Year.
The Auckland-born full-back — one of five players from the province to pick up an award last night, topped the poll after a season where he has played a crucial part in helping the Blues reach the Heineken Cup final and the Magners League play-off.
However, Nacewa, who also helped Leinster to 2009 Heineken Cup success, was keen to share the plaudits with his team-mates.
He said: “This is the first time I’ve received an award in any country which has been voted for by my peers and I am overwhelmed to be honest that the other players in Ireland have chosen me.
Nevin Spence of Ulster picked up the Young Player of the Year accolade, while Nacewa’s team-mate, South African Richardt Strauss, picked up the Unsung Hero Award.
Connacht’s Fionn Carr scooped the Try of the Year award for his 70-yard effort away to the Scarlets in the Magners League.
The Rugby Moment of the Year award also headed to the RDS as Brian O’Driscoll was selected for his try against England which broke the Six Nations Championship try-scoring record, which had stood for 78 years.
IRUPA award winners 2011
Bord Gáis Energy Players’ Player of the Year: Isa Nacewa (Leinster).
Nokia Unsung Hero of the Year: Richardt Strauss (Leinster).
Nature Valley Young Player of the Year: Nevin Spence (Ulster).
Bord Gáis Energy Hall of Fame inductee: Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster).
Volkswagon Try of the Year: Fionn Carr (Scarlets v CONNACHT).
Bord Gáis Energy Supporters’ Player of the Year: Sean O’Brien (Leinster).
O2 Rugby Moment of the Year: Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster).
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