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Lions pick Sam Simmonds voted the 2020/21 Premiership player of the year

By Kim Ekin

Trending on RugbyPass

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Free-scoring Exeter No8 Sam Simmonds has been crowned the Gallagher Premiership player of the season for 2020/21, the award capping a remarkable campaign in which he broke the record for the most tries in a single top-flight season with 20 touch downs.

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Simmonds has been instrumental in another fine year for the Chiefs, who finished second in the Premiership table to book a semi-final place and keep alive their hopes of retaining the title. The Torquay-born back-rower had already been recognised for an outstanding season with a call-up by the British and Irish Lions for their summer tour to South Africa and he has now capped that feat with the prestigious Gallagher award.

Gallagher ambassador and BT Sport pundit Ugo Monye believes Simmonds’ ability to stand out in a league brimming with quality shows how high his standards have risen. “Sam has been phenomenal this year. 

“He started the season fuelled by bitter disappointment (through lack of England selection), but he has focused on it in the right way, to become a record-breaker, help his team into the Gallagher Premiership Rugby semi-finals and is now a British and Irish Lion.

“He has excelled in a year where it has been tough for all players in the Gallagher Premiership, with back-to-back seasons and not much time off. But he hasn’t let off from being European player of the year last season to Premiership player of the year this season, which is outstanding.

 

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“His season has been one of the best individual seasons in Premiership history. When you are breaking any sort of record, it has to be put down as a memorable year. He has smashed the try record – not only beaten it but smashed it. That is the kind of form he has been in. It is unbelievable when you consider just how many talented players we have in Gallagher Premiership Rugby, and yet he has been the shining star, among a galaxy of superstars.”

Simmonds edged out Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith to win the award, with the latter selected as the runner-up. Smith continued his remarkable rise with a brilliant year at The Stoop, finishing the regular season as the highest points-scoring individual in the entire league. 

The 22-year-old scored 270 points in total, 82 more than Sale Sharks’ AJ MacGinty who was next in the rankings. An elusive and dangerous runner, Smith has once again been one of the most exciting players to watch in the Gallagher Premiership, as Quins prepare for a return to the semi-finals. Another Chief, Dave Ewers, was third after he played a big part in his team’s success this season, chipping in with six crucial tries of his own.

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Lions pick Sam Simmonds voted the 2020/21 Premiership player of the year

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