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Danny Cipriani and Ollie Thorley honoured at RPA Awards Dinner

Danny Cipriani and Ollie Thorley honoured at RPA Awards Dinner
It was a memorable evening for Gloucester Rugby at the Rugby Players Awards Dinner on Wednesday, as Danny Cipriani was named Players' Player of the Year and Ollie Thorley the Sanlam Young Player of the Year.

It’s terrific recognition for the two players who have both enjoyed eye-catching seasons for Gloucester Rugby.

Cipriani, of course, is in his first season at the club and recently extended his contract to remain at Kingsholm on a long-term basis. He started the 2018-19 campaign in fine form, being named as Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for September, and has maintained that high level of performance as the club has secured its highest league finish for eight years.

The 31-year-old who was previously named the 2008 RPA's Young Player of the Year, became just the third player in RPA history to have won both major awards, following in the footsteps of former Wasps wing Christian Wade and England legend Jonny Wilkinson.

Cipriani was delighted to be recognised by his fellow professionals when he received the award at the RPA’s annual event at Twickenham.

“It’s very humbling to be named the winner of such a prestigious and special award. Rugby is the ultimate team sport and every day we work exceptionally hard together as a club to improve every aspect of our performance. I would like to thank my fellow professionals for the wonderful recognition and to everyone who has continued to support me along this journey.”

Meanwhile, Thorley has enjoyed a sensational 2018-19, despite missing the first few weeks as he recovered from injury. Also named as a Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month, in this case for November, he has caught the eye with some powerful running and for scoring some eye-catching tries.

That form hasn’t gone unnoticed by the England set-up, and the 22-year-old trained with England during the recent Six Nations campaign. He signed a new contract with Gloucester Rugby in January of this year.

[caption id="attachment_26139" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Ollie Thorley slaloms through the line (Martin Bennett / Gloucester Rugby)[/caption]

Like Cipriani, he was honoured to receive the award which is voted for by fellow professionals.

“It’s a huge honour to be voted the Sanlam Young Player of the Year by the players you play against every week. All of the guys nominated would have been deserved winners, so I am very humbled. Most significantly though, I’m proud of what Gloucester Rugby have achieved so far this season and I can't wait for the upcoming play-offs.”

The Sanlam Young Player of the Year

The Sanlam Young Player of the Year Award recognises the outstanding young player of the domestic season, as voted for by the players. Nominees must be 23 years or younger at the start of the season. The Young Player of the Year trophy is named after Harlequins and England scrum-half Nick Duncombe, who died tragically in 2003 from a rare form of blood poisoning, aged just 21.