Munster and Ireland winger Keith Earls was awarded the title of Zurich Players’ Player of the Year for 2018 by his fellow players at tonight’s Zurich Irish Rugby Awards ceremony.
Limerick man Earls, who made his debut for Ireland in 2008, enjoyed a standout season for Munster and Ireland and has been widely praised by his peers for his dedication and hard work throughout his career.
He was played a crucial role as Ireland won their third Grand Slam in March, and he was also instrumental for Munster as they progressed to the latter stages of both the Champions Cup and Guinness Pro 14.
The 30-year-old wins the award ahead of last year’s winner and fello Limerick man Conor Murray, as well as Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton and Tadhg Furlong.
On receiving his award, Earls commented:
“It has been a great season with many special memories for me. For all the successes, there were some challenges along the way too and so it means a lot to get the recognition of my fellow players across the country. I’ve given it my all, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my team-mates, friends and of course my family.”
Meanwhile, Jacob Stockdale was named the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year. The Ulster winger, who is now the record try scorer in a Six Nations campaign, first came to prominence in an Ireland jersey following several try-scoring performances last November. In claiming the award, Stockdale came in ahead of strong competition in the form of Leinster duo James Ryan and Jordan Larmour.
While Duncan Casey, who departed Munster for Grenoble in recent months, was awarded the Vodafone Medal for Excellence, which rewards on-field effort combined with off-field commitment to the game.
CJ Stander also claimed a prize as he was awarded the try of the year for this effort against England.