England Sevens trio in line for player of the year award

By Alex Dudley

England Sevens stars Holly Aitchison, Alex Matthews and Abbie Brown have all been shortlisted for the prestigious player of the year accolade at the end-of-season awards.

The award is given to the player that has enjoyed an outstanding season in 2018/19 and is voted for by their fellow players. The winner of the prize will be revealed at the glitzy RPA award ceremony on the 8th of May.

The RPA awards celebrate the sport and the achievements that have been made over the past 12 months and will take place from the English home of rugby at Twickenham. As well as the player of the year award, the other leading award to be decided is the young player of the year accolade.

Matthews is looking for successive wins in the category, and she spoke about her joy at being nominated again with England Rugby.

She said: “It’s a huge honour to be nominated for this award by my teammates. It’s been an enjoyable yet challenging couple of years for me, but I am grateful for the girls’ support and the brilliant team around me.”

Meanwhile, Aitchison will be looking to go one better after being nominated last year.

“I’m so surprised to receive recognition again this year from the girls, I’m incredibly honoured. I’ll forever be grateful for the support of my teammates and proud to be part of such a special group of players.”

Brown echoed the sentiment. She recalled: “To be nominated by my teammates means the world to me. They’re the ones you go through everything with, so to have their support is incredible.”

For the moment, though, the English players are focusing on the fourth leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Kitakyushu, Japan.

England are in Pool C with United States, Ireland and Fiji and will need a monster performance to move up the table and challenge for a top-four position in the series standings.

They are eighth after three tournaments on 19 points, with fourth-placed Australia on 46 points. Only the top four qualify automatically for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with three tournaments remaining.

Main photo credit: England Rugby

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