Pocock, Pelite scoop the pool at the 2018 RUPA Awards

by Staff Writer

Wallabies and Brumbies star David Pocock has won his third RUPA Medal for Excellence in Sydney.

The award, voted on by Australia's Super Rugby players on a 3-2-1 basis, is a prestigious one for players with voters only able to vote for their opponents.

Pocock, who also won the John Eales Medal this year, said the award carried an extra weight for that reason.

"It’s a huge honour," he said.

"The RUPA Awards carry a special weight because it’s by the players for the players and to be recognised by teammates is always special but to be recognized by your opposition is always very special.

"You look at the nominees and you look at the previous recipients, a number of whom I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside. Very gratefully for the recognition."

Pocock didn't stop at just one prize on Wednesday - the flanker tied with Sevens star Evania Pelite for the Australia's Choice Australian Player of the Year.

Pelite is the second woman to win the award, after Charlotte Caslick topped the vote in 2017 and Michael Hooper won the inaugural award in 2016.

She also took out the Women's Sevens Players' Player of the year, continuing a glittering season that also saw her win the Shawn Mackay Award for Australian Women's Sevens Player of the Year.

Ben O'Donnell followed up Pelite in doing that double, winning the men's Players' Player two months after the coaches voted him their best player of the year.

Brumbies flanker Tom Cusack was recognised for his tireless NRC efforts, taking out the Players' Player of the Year.

Youngsters Folau Fainga'a and Jordan Petaia shared the award for best newcomer after breakout Super Rugby seasons in 2018, with Fainga'a also making a surprise Wallabies debut.

Brumbies co-captain Sam Carter won the Academic Achievement Award and Jed Holloway's off-field work was acknowledged with the Community Service Award.

Holloway is an ambassador for the Starlight Foundation and is often out at clinics with the next generation of rugby players.

AWARDS

RUPA Medal For Excellence

Nominees

David Pocock

Taylor's Wines People’s Choice Australian Player of the Year

Winners

Evania Pelite, David Pocock

NRC Players’ Player of the Year

Winner

Jordan Petaia

RUPA Newcomer of the Year

Nominees

Folau Fainga'a

Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens Players’ Player of the Year

Nominees

Lachie Anderson, Maurice Longbottom, Ben O'Donnell, John Porch, James Stannard

Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens Players’ Player of the Year

Nominees

Evania Pelite

Academic Achievement Award

Sam Carter

Community Service Award

Jed Holloway