Andrea Masi, Italy’s powerful back, has today been announced as the official RBS Player of the Championship for the 2011 Six Nations.
Over 17,000 votes were registered ensuring that the RBS Player of the Championship award was won by an Italian for the first time.
On receiving the trophy, Andrea Masi commented: “It has been a Championship of highs and lows for the Italian team, our win against France will go down in rugby history but to finish sixth frustrated us all.
“However, to be named the RBS Player of the Championship is a fantastic way to end what has been one of the most competitive Championships I can remember.
“We have worked hard this year and can be proud of our achievements. Italian rugby continues to strengthen and we are very happy with our progress as a team.
“To be the first Italian voted to win this award by the fans is a huge compliment,” he added.
The 2011 RBS Player of the Championship was decided as a result of a public vote, hosted on www.rbs6nations.com.
The shortlist was compiled of winners of the RBS man-of-the-match award from the first four weekends. Masi received his for Italy’s historic victory over France, scoring a try in that game as well as in their final defeat to Scotland.
Masi won his RBS 6 Nations Player of the Championship award whilst securing over 30% of the votes. His team-mate Fabio Semenzato finished second with just under 12%.
The two Italians were closely followed by Sean O’Brien of Ireland and England’s Toby Flood, with both gaining just over 10% of the votes.
RBS PLAYER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP – PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2010 – Tommy Bowe
2009 – Brian O’Driscoll
2008 – Shane Williams
2007 – Brian O’Driscoll
2006 – Brian O’Driscoll