Ulster number 8 Nick Williams was tonight voted the Hibernia College IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year for 2013 by his fellow players at the 11th annual awards ceremony.
This is only the second time an overseas player has won the top accolade and is just reward for his consistent but also outstanding performances for Ulster this season.
Nick Williams has scored seven tries in his 21 appearances for the province so far this season and this award comes only days after he was recognised as the RaboDirect PRO12 Player of the Year.
Williams’ Ulster team-mate and Ireland winger Craig Gilroy won the VW Try of the Year for his great score for Ireland against Argentina in the GUINNESS Series in November.
Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw was also among those recognised when he was awarded the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year award for 2013.
Williams was delighted to receive the award, saying ‘it is an honour to be recognised with this award, especially as it’s voted for by the players’.
As well as the honour of being Player of the Year, Nick and all the winners receive an inscribed Citizen Skyhawk watch kindly provided by Fields Jewellers.
Joining Ireland’s heroes in the BNY Mellon IRUPA Hall of Fame was Leinster and Ireland winger Denis Hickie.
Munster’s Billy Holland collected the O2 Unsung Hero award, voted for by the public on the O2 Ireland Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Holland’s provincial colleague Simon Zebo was presented with the Newstalk106-108fm Supporters’ Player of the Year as chosen by listeners of ‘Off the Ball’.
Leinster’s Isaac Boss was awarded the Hibernia College Medal for Excellence, which rewards on field effort combined with off field commitment to the game.
Nominees were voted by their peers but were also judged on their contribution to the sport through community involvement, education, work and charitable initiatives.
Omar Hassanein, CEO of IRUPA, said: “I am delighted for Nick, this award is a superb reflection of the wonderful season he has enjoyed with Ulster.
“Winning an IRUPA award is the highest honour a player can receive, Nick and all the winners and nominees have the total respect of those who they play with and against.”
Dr. Sean Rowland, President and founder of Hibernia College, said: “We would like to congratulate Nick Williams on being voted the Hibernia College IRUPA Players’ Player of the Year for 2013.
“We look forward to celebrating with Nick and all the players that have been nominated at the Hibernia College IRUPA Awards.”
2013 HIBERNIA COLLEGE IRUPA PLAYERS’ AWARDS:
HIBERNIA COLLEGE IRUPA PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Winner: Nick Williams (Ulster)
Nominations: Cian Healy (Leinster), Nick Williams (Ulster) and Simon Zebo (Munster)
NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Winner: Robbie Henshaw (Connacht)
Nominations: Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Ian Madigan (Leinster) and Luke Marshall (Ulster)
VOLKSWAGEN TRY OF YEAR –
Winner: Craig Gilroy (Ireland v Argentina, GUINNESS Series, November 2012)
Nominations: Craig Gilroy (Ireland v Argentina, GUINNESS Series, November 2012), Iain Henderson (Ulster v Saracens, Heineken Cup quarter-final, April 2013) and Simon Zebo (Ireland v Wales, RBS 6 Nations, February 2013)
HIBERNIA COLLEGE MEDAL OF EXCELLENCE –
Winner: Isaac Boss (Leinster)
Nominations: Isaac Boss (Leinster), Chris Henry (Ulster) and Marcus Horan (Munster)
BNY MELLON IRUPA HALL OF FAME –
Inducted: Denis Hickie (Leinster)
O2 UNSUNG HERO –
Winner: Billy Holland (Munster)
Nominations: Nigel Brady (Ulster), Billy Holland (Munster) and Michael Swift (Connacht)
NEWSTALK106-108FM SUPPORTERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR –
Winner: Simon Zebo (Munster)