Springboks centre Esterhuizen wins Premiership award

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Andre Esterhuizen scoring for Harlequins against London IrishEsterhuizen has been one of Harlequins' stand-out performers this season

Harlequins' Andre Esterhuizen has been voted the Rugby Players' Association's players' player of the year.

The South Africa international has scored eight tries for Harlequins this season, as they aim to retain their Premiership title in June's play-offs.

The 28-year-old won the most votes in a poll conducted by fellow players.

Centre Esterhuizen joined Quins in 2020 and has started all 23 of the team's league matches this season, playing an average of 77 minutes.

"It's an incredible honour to win this award and for it to be voted by all the players and teams that I've played with and against makes it even more special," he said.

"It is something that I am extremely proud of. Thank you to all of my family and team-mates for their support."

Leicester and England full-back Freddie Steward was named young player of the year, ahead of Quins fly-half Marcus Smith, London Irish back Henry Arundell and Sale prop Bevan Rodd.

"It is a big honour to win an award voted on by your peers, and I feel humbled to win, given the talent in the game," Steward said

Steward was also named England men's player of the year. The 21-year-old has won 10 England caps since making his international debut last summer.

Marlie Packer won the England women's player of the year award, while Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care claimed the RPA's special merit award.

Elsewhere, the RPA's Blyth Spirit award - which recognises courage in the face of adversity - went to Kevin Sinfield and Andrew Fenby, former England women's star Katy Daley-McLean was inducted into the RPA's hall of fame and Leicester wing Chris Ashton breaking the Premiership's all-time try-scoring record was voted moment of the season.

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