By Barry Newcombe
Sam Warburton was last night named the Rugby Union Writers Club’s personality of 2011. Wales’ World Cup captain was presented with the Pat Marshall Trophy by last year’s winner, Maggie Alphonsi, at a dinner in London.
The 23-year-old flanker topped the RUWC poll ahead of New Zealand’s World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry, France’s captain Thierry Dusautoir and the Wales wing Shane Williams, who has retired from Test rugby
RUWC chairman Paul Morgan said: “Sam has had an exemplary year, leading Wales with great dignity, marking himself out as one of the leading candidates to captain the British and Irish Lions next year. He joins an illustrious list of winners.”
Warburton’s World Cup last autumn was marred when he was sent off against France in the semi-final, but that incident clearly did not deter the rugby writers from making him the player of the year.
Warburton was the youngest captain at World Cup and his exciting Welsh team had their best tournament since 1987.
The Rugby Writers’ special award was gained by one of Warburton’s predecessors in the Wales back row. Richard Parks climbed the highest peaks on seven continents and hiked to the North and South Poles, raising more than £1 million for the Marie Curie Cancer charity.
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