NO-ONE was more surprised than James Haskell as he picked up a prestigious award at Twickenham last week, but the man himself admits he couldn’t have been more humbled.
Wasps back row Haskell won the Zebra Architects Professional Player of the Year prize at the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards at Rugby HQ on Thursday, fighting off competition from England teammates Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Alex Goode.
Now in its second year, the Crabbie’s National Rugby Awards are designed to honour the achievements of all the thousands of rugby clubs up and down the country.
And Haskell, who has won 70 international caps for England, insists he couldn’t have asked to be in better company as he picked up his award.
“It’s amazing to have won, I never really win any award so it’s very humbling,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to get the opportunity, and see how much it means to everyone else who won awards.
Currently ruled out of playing through a toe injury, Haskell’s determination to continue his fine form of last season is providing the perfect motivation as he fights back to full fitness.
And with the British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand rapidly approaching on the horizon, he insists he has plenty to look forward to.
“I was really pleased with how last season went. As a player, you’re conscious of what people think,” he said.
“I don’t really sit around dwelling on what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved and last season was a great season, but it starts again, I’ve got a new challenge getting back to fitness.
“I want to be a better player by the time I come back, I still want to play for England and for Wasps, and the Lions at the end of the season which is the dream of any player.
“There’s so much to be done, I’m just excited to get off crutches!”
For more information about the National Rugby Awards, please visit the Website http://www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk