• Marc Luther Thomas

Guinness National Rugby Awards Winners Announced

The Guinness National Rugby Awards recognised clubs, players, coaches and volunteers across England in the country’s biggest celebration of grassroots rugby on Thursday 29 August.

Alex Goode presents Josh Grant with the SF Nutrition Men's Player of the Year award

Former England internationals Alex Goode, Topsy Ojo, Ollie Phillips and Women’s World Cup winner Nolli Waterman joined Sky Sports’ Alex Payne at Twickenham Stadium to mark the occasion, which announced winners in 11 categories including Team of the Year, Club of the Year and Player of the Year.


Now in its fifth year, the Guinness National Rugby Awards recognises the hard work and efforts of all those who contribute to rugby union in the country, with club members travelling from all four corners of England to join the festivities. Winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges, including Phillips, Women’s England Rugby player Marlie Packer and the Rugby Football Union’s [RFU’s] Head of Community Rugby Operations, Natasha Routledge.

Nolli Waterman presenting Laura Kapo with the Predator Women's Player of the Year award

Alex Goode, Saracens full-back and England international, said: ‘It’s so important to recognise those who have done incredible work to get more and more people involved in rugby at the grassroots level. The strength of grassroots rugby in this country cannot be underestimated and it’s fantastic to see people celebrating their achievements with their friends and family at Twickenham, the home of rugby. To see that and be part of it is phenomenal.’


Topsy Ojo, former London Irish winger and England international, added: ‘The Guinness National Rugby awards has been absolutely brilliant. It’s been amazing to celebrate so many superb people within the game that are not just players but are from all walks of life within the world of rugby. It’s really important to recognise the amazing work that goes on behind-the-scenes because sports clubs don’t just happen, they take a huge amount of effort and a huge amount of time from volunteers and tonight is an opportunity to celebrate all of their hard work.’


Ollie Phillips speaking at the Guinness National Rugby Awards

Adam Clayton, Co-Founder of Zeus Events, rights holders of the Guinness National Rugby Awards, said: ‘Every year the Guinness National Rugby Awards gets bigger and better and 2019 didn’t disappoint. These awards are an integral part of grassroots rugby in England and recognise all those who work tirelessly to help build the foundation of the sport that we all know and love. We’re delighted to be able to help these worthy winners celebrate their huge achievements. Thank you to everyone who helped make this another successful Guinness National Rugby Awards.’


Guinness provided a selection of prizes to reward award winners. These included a coin toss experience at a Guinness Six Nations match, coaching alongside members of the England rugby teams and a club-house facelift worth £4,000.



Referee of the Year – Simon Aldridge, Hampshire Referee Society Sponsored by Marriott London Twickenham, this prize included a two-night stay at the hotel.


Women’s Player of the Year – Laura Kapo, Richmond Ladies RFC Sponsored by Predator, this award’s prize is a coaching session alongside members of the Women’s England team.


Men’s Player of the Year – Josh Grant, Old Colstonians RFC Sponsored by SF Nutrition, this award’s prize is a coaching session alongside members of the Men’s England team.


Coach of the Year – Cai Griffiths, London Welsh RFC Sponsored by MVP, this award’s prize is a pair of tickets to a Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham, Murrayfield or Principality.


Women’s Team of the Year – Bath Ladies RFC Sponsored by Macro Meals, this award’s prize is a coaching session alongside members of the Women’s England team.


Men’s Team of the Year – Kings Cross Steelers RFC Sponsored by Scimitar, this award’s prize is a coaching session alongside members of the Men’s England team.


Club Sponsor of the Year – Petrus Communications, Bishop Auckland RFC Sponsored by Zeus Events, the prize for this award is four kegs of Guinness.


Facility Development of the Year – Oxford Harlequins RFC Sponsored by Matchpint, the prize for this award is Guinness post protectors.


Club Volunteer of the Year – Matthew Hearsum, Old Emanuel RFC Sponsored by The Telegraph, the prize for this award is a pair of tickets to a Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham, Murrayfield or Principality.


Rugby Club of the Year – Crawley RFC Sponsored by Pitchero, this prize for this award is a £4,000 club-house facelift from Guinness.


Lifetime Achievement Award – Nick Redfern, Witham RFC Sponsored by Guinness, the prize for this award is a coin toss experience at a Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham, Murrayfield or Principality.



Editor’s notes


NATIONAL RUGBY AWARDS The National Rugby Awards were created in 2015 to honour the achievements of every rugby club in the country and to celebrate the coaches, players and supporters for their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm. The National Rugby Awards recognises all those who contribute in so many ways to the great game of rugby in England.

You find out more about the National Rugby Awards by visiting: www.nationalrugbyawards.co.uk


ZEUS EVENTS Zeus Events was founded in 2013 by former professional rugby players and brothers Darren and Adam Clyaton. Today, Zeus Events is a leading event management company working with some of the biggest companies in the world. Zeus offers a variety of different and exciting events in three main areas - Zeus Corporate, Zeus Testimonial and Zeus Cycling. Zeus Events are rights holders of the National Rugby Awards and Women’s Tour of Scotland.

You can find out more about Zeus Events by visiting: www.zeusevents.co.uk


GUINNESS RUGBY

The GUINNESS brand has been sponsor of the Guinness Pro14 since 2014. In 2016, GUINNESS confirmed it would remain as title sponsor until 2020. GUINNESS has been the official beer Irish Rugby, English Rugby, Welsh Rugby, and Scottish Rugby as well as being proud partner of Leinster Rugby and Munster Rugby, two of the most outstanding club teams in the Irish Provinces. In addition, GUINNESS is a proud sponsor of the Guinness Series Irish Rugby Autumn Internationals, a platform for Ireland to compete annually against elite opposition from all over the world.


The GUINNESS brand’ legacy of enhancing the communities in which it operates, dates back to founder Arthur Guinness and his philanthropic vision and commitment. This philosophy has always underpinned and continues to define GUINNESS’ approach to partnership. Responsible drinking will be one of the cornerstones of the collaboration with The Six Nations Championship.


The GUINNESS brand is a strong believer in the power of sport to connect people, unite them in a common cause and positively contribute to their lives. This was brought to life by GUINNESS when it established the Guinness Athletic & Cycling Union in 1905 and when the Guinness Rugby Club was founded by brewery personnel in 1942. It remains in existence to this day.


The GUINNESS words and associated logos are trademarks.

Enjoy Guinness Sensibly. Visit www.drinkaware.co.uk / www.drinkaware.ie


RFU The Rugby Football Union is the national governing body for grassroots and elite rugby in England. Its purpose is to encourage rugby, and its values, to flourish across England. Rugby’s core values are:

Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline, Sportsmanship


The RFU is a members’ organisation of professional and amateur rugby clubs and a society registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act, reinvesting all profits back into the sport.

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