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Nacewa becomes first overseas player to land the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player 2011


Leinster star Isa Nacewa, was last night voted the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player of the Year by his fellow players at the ninth Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Rugby Awards.

This is the first time an overseas player has won the top accolade and is just reward for his consistent but also outstanding performances this season. Connacht's Fionn Carr was also among those recognised when he was awarded the IRUPA Volkswagen Try of the Year for his 70 yard effort away to the Scarlets.

Isa was his typical humble self after receiving the award saying: "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. I'd like to thank all my team mates in Leinster who have made my job a lot easier".

Nevin Spence of Ulster picked up the IRUPA Nature Valley Young Player of the Year for his try against Bath in the Heineken Cup and Leinster's Richardt Strauss collected the IRUPA Nokia Unsung Hero Award. Joining Ireland's heroes in the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Hall of Fame was Leinster legend, Malcolm O'Kelly. Sean O'Brien was also awarded the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Supporters' Player of the Year, voted for by listeners of Newstalk 106-108 fm.

Omar Hassanein, CEO of IRUPA said: "Winning an IRUPA award is the highest honour a player can receive. Those players can take great satisfaction from the fact that they have the total respect of those who they play with and against. Congratulations to all those nominated and in particular to Isa, Fionn, Richard, Nevin, Brian, Sean and Big Mal in winning what are the most sought after awards in Irish rugby."

Commenting on tonight's awards John Mullins, CEO of Bord Gáis said: "Many congratulations are due to Isa on being honoured with the Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player of the Year. Leinster have reached their second Heineken Cup final in three years and Isa made an outstanding contribution to this feat on Saturday and indeed the run in to that victory over Toulouse.

"In a World Cup year it's encouraging to see Irish rugby continuing to flourish and I'd like to acknowledge the great work IRUPA does in supporting the players who make this possible. The turn out of top stars tonight is clear testament of the high regard in which they hold the organisation and Bord Gáis Energy is proud to be a part of that."

The O2 Rugby Moment of the Year was also announced at the awards with Brian O'Driscoll taking home the award for his record breaking try against England to break the Six Nations Championship try scoring record which stood for 78 years.


Niall Woods,
Navy Blue Consulting
Tel: 086 820 4747

Claire Turvey,
Pembroke Communications
Tel: 01-649 6312 /
087 983 4851

Notes to editors

Award Winners are as follows:

Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player Of The Year 2011
Isa Nacewa Leinster
Keith EarlsMunster
Isa NacewaLeinster
Sean O'BrienLeinster
IRUPA Nokia Unsung Hero Of The Year 2011
Richardt Strauss Leinster
Willie FaloonLeinster
Wian du PreezMunster
Richardt StraussLeinster
IRUPA Nature Valley Young Player Of The Year 2011
Nevin Spence Ulster
Conor MurrayMunster
Rhys Ruddock Leinster
Nevin SpenceUlster
IRUPA Bord Gáis Energy Hall of Fame 2011
Malcolm O'Kelly Leinster
IRUPA Volkswagen Try Of Year 2011
Fionn Carr Scarlets v CONNACHT, Magners League
Fionn CarrScarlets v Connacht, Magners League
Craig GilroyUlster v Cardiff, Magners League
Isa NacewaLeinster v Leicester, Heineken Cup
IRUPA Bord Gáis Energy Supporters' Player Of The Year 2011
Sean O'Brien Leinster
IRUPA O2 Rugby Moment Of The Year 2011
Brian O'Driscoll Leinster