London Irish flanker Tom Pearson has been named the Young Player of the Year at tonight’s Eterlast Rugby Players’ Association end-of-season awards ceremony.
The award comes after Pearson was named the Premiership Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year during the 2022/23 Premiership Rugby Awards last week, back-to-back wins for Irish after Henry Arundell’s 2022 nomination.
The 23-year-old was also named in the BT Sport Dream Team of the 2022/23 season at the Premiership Awards, and now, Pearson caps off a year to remember as he cements his name as one of English rugby’s best prospects.
Tom Pearson said: “I am honoured to win the year’s Young Player Award, especially getting voted by other players across the Premiership, it means a lot so thank you.”
The loose forward beat off Newcastle Falcons’ Matteo Carreras, Northampton Saint Fin Smith and Gus Warr of Sale Sharks to take the title.
In what is his second term as an Exile, Pearson has scored seven times in 20 games in all competitions, five of those coming in his last eight run-outs this season.
In the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership regular season, Pearson has registered the second-most tackles (235), third-most turnover wins (21) and the seventh-most gain line carries (86).
His standout performances have also been acknowledged throughout the season too, being chosen as the Gallagher Player of the Match in crucial wins against Saracens and Northampton Saints at the Gtech Community Stadium.
The Young Player of the Year award is the youngster’s fourth individual league-wide award of 2023, having also been recognised as the RPA’s 15 Under-23 March MVP, as well as the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for March.
Last year, Pearson was included in the RPA’s Under-23 Team of the Season alongside Ollie Hassell-Collins, also becoming the first Exile to win the aforementioned MVP award this campaign.
Speaking about the winners on the night, RPA General Secretary Christian Day said: “A huge congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Eterlast RPA Awards.
“To be voted for by your peers, and particularly those that you play against, remains the greatest accolade for any rugby player and all our winners have had outstanding seasons, so they should be hugely proud of their achievements.”
The full list of Eterlast RPA Awards 2023 Winners:
The RPA Players' Player of the Year
Winner: Jasper Wiese
“It’s very humbling to be named the winner of such a prestigious and special award. I’d like to thank the players from around the competition for voting for me, and I just want to thank my Leicester teammates for their support too.”
The Young Player of the Year
Winner: Tom Pearson
“I am honoured to win the year’s Young Player Award, especially getting voted by other players across the Premiership, it means a lot so thank you.”
The England Women's Player of the Year Award
Winner: Sadia Kabeya
“A huge thank you to the girls who nominated me for this award, to be named amongst such talented teammates is a privilege in itself but to win is something I am beyond grateful for. it’s been a great year for the Red Roses and it hopefully it only continues!”
The England Men's Player of the Year in association with Advanta Wealth
Winner: Freddie Steward
“To hear I won this award for a second year is an incredible feeling. Thank you to all of my teammates who voted for me, I’ve been fortunate to be part of a team which is growing every day and I am very much looking forward to what the future holds with England."
The Premier 15’s Player of the Year Award
Winner: Natasha Hunt, Gloucester Hartpury
I am truly honoured to receive this award. I feel very fortunate to be in a team stacked full of world class talent which makes my job easier. To everyone that voted, thank you so much, it means the world. I just love this sport and everyone involved in it."
The Vodafone Business Gain Line Award
Winner: Beno Obano
“I’m honoured to receive this award. You don’t really do these types of things to be rewarded for it, but I’m always grateful, so thank you!”
The RPA Special Merit Award
Winners: Dan Cole, Owen Farrell & Emily Scarratt
Dan Cole: “Thank you to the RPA Players’ Board for their nomination. For me to achieve 100 appearances for my country, means a lot of support from home, so I’d just like to thank my friends and family for allowing me to do this. I’m so proud to play for my country, and I've had some great teammates and coaches along the way, so thank you to all of them too."
Owen Farrell: “Thank you to my teammates and family for their support. I love playing for my country, it is a hugely exciting time for England, I can’t wait to be a part of this team, heading into the World Cup, so thank you for this recognition.”
Emily Scarratt: “To play 100 times for my country is amazing, and to make it in my home town meant so much to me. Thank you for this award, and I can’t wait to play for the Red Roses in the next few years to come.”
The RPA Blyth Spirit Award
Winners: Abi Burton and Ed Slater
Abi Burton: “This award means so much to me, it not only represents my journey back to full health and rugby, but the journey that my friends and family had to go through while I was fighting for my life, this is not just for me but for them. This is one of the proudest recognitions I’ve received in my five years of professional rugby.”
Ed Slater: "Thank you to the RPA for this Award, it is very humbling for me and my family. I'm really grateful for the support shown to me by the rugby community, following my diagnosis and will continue to raise awareness and fundraise to help all those suffering from MND."
The RPA Hall of Fame
Winner: Sarah Hunter & Doddie Weir
Sarah Hunter: “It is an absolute privilege to be inducted into the RPA’s Hall of Fame, and it means even more to be inducted alongside the legend that is Doddie Weir, so thank you to the board for their nomination.”
The Champagne Bollinger RPA Moment of the Season
Winner: Chris Ashton scoring his 100th Premiership try
“Thank you to all of the fans for voting for me to win this award, it means an awful lot. I’ve always wanted to score tries since I first picked up a rugby ball, so to score 100 Premiership tries is something special, so thank you to my family, coaches and teammates who have allowed this to happen.”