6 April 2023
London Irish is proud to confirm that back-row forward Tom Pearson has been named the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for March.
Pearson becomes the second Exile to be awarded this season, following on from teammate Benhard Janse van Rensburg’s success in January.
London Irish becomes only the second Club to have more than one winner in the 2022/23 season, following on from Saracens’ winners in September and October with Theo McFarland and Alex Goode, respectively.
Leicester Tigers duo Handré Pollard and Jasper Wiese were second and third in the poll for the month of March behind Pearson, who was presented the award by his Head Coach, Les Kiss.
The 23-year-old’s success caps off a brilliant two weeks personally, having picked up the Player of the Match gong in the Exiles’ St. Patrick’s party win over Northampton Saints.
Pearson then was named the Rugby Players’ Association’s 15 Under-23 MVP of the Month for March on Monday (3rd), the first Irish player to be bestowed with the award after Henry Arundell, Chunya Munga, Will Joseph and Chandler Cunningham-South were nominated this year.
In this Gallagher Premiership campaign, Pearson currently stands at the top of the tackle count charts with 219 executed, as well as the third-most turnovers won (20).
The loose forward has beaten the third-most defenders amongst forwards (34) and also amassed 16 offloads and 459 metres gained.
Throughout March, Irish maintained an unbeaten league record with wins against Newcastle Falcons, Sale Sharks, and Northampton Saints to end the month in one of the semi-final spots.
Pearson crossed the whitewash against Falcons and Saints to bring his try tally to six this season.
BT Sport pundit and Gallagher ambassador, Ugo Monye, said: “Tom has been tremendous on both sides of the ball, he’s got such a well-rounded game.
"He’s incredibly dynamic and elusive with his offloading game and his hard-line running.
"He’s brilliant in defence over the ball as well and makes big, dominant tackles.
“His form has come in conjunction with London Irish finding their form.
"I think the challenge for any young player is finding a level of consistency and that’s just not been an issue for him.
"I think it’s quite remarkable watching him, I’ve just not seen that drop off at all.
"He’s always in contention for Player of the Match most weeks.
"He’s a player with a huge amount of x-factor and provides those big moments but it’s all underpinned by consistent application of his game every single week.”
Jacob Fordham, Business Development Executive at Gallagher, and Club lead for London Irish said: "When watching Tom on the pitch it’s easy to forget that this is just his second season with London Irish, as the role he is playing in the team is outstanding, and he is a highly worthy winner of Gallagher Player of the Month for his performance in March.
"Given he is still at the start of his career he surely has fantastic opportunities ahead of him.”
As part of his prize for being named Gallagher Player of the Month, Pearson wins a shirt signed by the whole London Irish squad and framed by Gallagher to gift to a charity of his choice, to help raise funds for its chosen cause. Tom has chosen the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Pearson was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in March 2023, alongside a public poll on the Premiership Rugby app. The judges were: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Alex Lowe (The Times) Hugh Godwin (I), Andrew Baldock (Press Association), John Everly (Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle) Jill Douglas (Broadcaster), Craig Swayne (The Good, The Bad and The Rugby), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Tom Hamilton (ESPN). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby's Communications Director.
Winners in the 2022-23 season
March - Tom Pearson (London Irish)
February - Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
January - Benhard Janse van Rensburg (London Irish)
December - Rob du Preez (Sale Sharks)
November – Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)
October – Alex Goode (Saracens)
September – Theo McFarland (Saracens)
Winners in the 2021-22 season
March - George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
February – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)
January - André Esterhuizen (Harlequins)
December – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
November – Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
October – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
September – Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)
Winners in the 2020-21 season
May – Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
April – Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
March- Danny Care (Harlequins)
February – Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
January – Piers O’Conor (Bristol Bears)
December – Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)
November – Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Winners in the 2019-20 season
August – Jack Willis (Wasps)
May– Paul Hill and Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)*
April - Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
March – Jamal Ford-Robinson (Gloucester Rugby)
February – Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears)
January – Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
December - Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
November – Tom O’Flaherty (Exeter Chiefs)
* Gallagher ran public polls while play was suspended to nominate a ‘Community Player of the Month’ in recognition of inspiring off-pitch performances made by players during lockdown to support their local communities and boost the morale of the wider rugby community.
Winners in the 2018-19 season
April – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
March – Santiago Cordero (Exeter Chiefs)
February – Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
December – Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints)#
November – Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
October – Alex Goode (Saracens)
September – Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby)
Winners in the 2017-18 season
April – Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons)
March – Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
February – Jack Willis (Wasps)
December – Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors)
November – Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester Rugby)
October – Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
September – Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Winners in the 2016-17 season
April – Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby)
March – Christian Wade (Wasps)
February – James Short (Exeter Chiefs)
December – Tom Varndell (Bristol Rugby)
November – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)
October – Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
September – Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
Winners in the 2015-16 season
April – Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
March – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
February – George Smith (Wasps)
January – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
December – Maro Itoje (Saracens)
November – Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
October – Nick Evans (Harlequins)
Winners in the 2014-15 season
April – Joe Simpson (Wasps)
March – Elliot Daly (Wasps)
February – Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
January – Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
December – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
November – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
October – Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
September – Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Winners in the 2013-14 season
April – Chris Ashton (Saracens)
March – Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
February – Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
January – Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
December – Nick Easter (Harlequins)
November - George Ford (Bath Rugby)
October – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
September – Jacques Burger (Saracens)