Jack Willis: Wasps flanker wins RPA's players' player of the year award

Wasps Jack Willis celebrates a try
Jack Willis was named the RPA's players' player of the year in an online awards ceremony

Wasps flanker Jack Willis has been voted players' player of the year at the Rugby Players' Association awards.

The 23-year-old won the award four days after putting in a man-of-the-match performance in Wasps' Premiership semi-final victory against Bristol.

He was also shortlisted for the young player of the year award, but lost out to Gloucester's Louis Rees-Zammit.

Sale flanker Tom Curry was named England men's player of the year while Zoe Aldcroft took the women's award.

Aldcroft, who plays her club rugby for Gloucester-Hartpury, said she was "over the moon" to be recognised by team-mates in such a way.

Willis back better after injury

Willis has been a standout performer for Wasps throughout the protracted 2019-20 season, both before and after the coronavirus-enforced break.

His has topped the Premiership charts for turnovers with 44, which is 25 more than any other player in the competition this term.

His efforts have been all the more outstanding in what has been his first full season back after recovering from a major knee injury.

"A big focus for me was not to just come back [after my injury] and be the player I was," he said.

"I thought it gave me an opportunity to come back and be a more physical player, so I definitely wouldn't change it - and going through that was a good learning process."

He now hopes to complete the campaign with a Wasps victory over Exeter in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday, 24 October.

"If Wasps can achieve what we want to achieve this season, hopefully I can sit back in off-season and take a couple of weeks to enjoy everything that has happened," he added.

Award winners in full:

Players' player of the year - Jack Willis (Wasps)

Young player of the year - Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester)

England women's player of the year - Zoe Aldcroft

England men's player of the year - Tom Curry

England women's sevens player of the year - Meg Jones

England men's sevens player of the year - Ben Harris

RPA Special Merit award - Richard Wigglesworth

RPA Blyth Spirit award - Michael Fatialofa and Tom Smith

RPA Hall of Fame award - Bill Beaumont

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