Davies takes top junior award
Welsh flyhalf Sam Davies has been named the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2013 following a thrilling IRB Junior World Championship final.
Welsh flyhalf Sam Davies has been named the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2013 following a thrilling IRB Junior World Championship final at Stade de la Rabine which his side lost 23-15 to England.
Davies is the first Welshman to win the Award, and the first to receive an IRB age grade honour since Gavin Henson was named the IRB Young Player of the Year in 2001.
The 19-year-old just edged out England captain Jack Clifford and New Zealand captain Ardie Savea following a comprehensive voting system which included the votes of team coaches, commentators, analysts and the official TV production team.
For the second year running, the public also had a chance to vote on the shortlist with more than 2,000 fans having their say.
"I extend my warm congratulations to Sam on winning the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2013 Award. He is a magnificent flyhalf and he brought this tournament to life with his skills and determination," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset after presenting Davies with his Award.
"He was pivotal for Wales in some crucial matches, including kicking the conversion which saw them reach their first JWC final, and he has the potential to be a future star of world Rugby. He is a fantastic young player and I wish him all the best for his career ahead.
"I would also like to send my warmest congratulations to Jack Clifford and Ardie Savea, the other players nominated as they too played their part in making this an incredible tournament," Lapasset added.
Davies said: "It is an honour, just to see the names of the other people that have had it before me, it makes it extra special. I’m gutted with the result today but this is a bonus picking up this Award."
"I’m absolutely gutted at the moment, the boys gave it their all but we’ve come off second best.
"Credit to England, they were overpowering in that second half. It’s gutting to get to the final hurdle and fall short but it’s about getting back for pre-season now.
"We played well in the first-half but coming back out, we just couldn’t get into the game. We gave two penalties away which gave them field position and they ended up scoring. That was a huge factor.
The final defeat ended what has been a superb tournament for both Davies and Wales, the No.10 rewarded for his fine form with the coveted international award.
The flyhalf was outstanding through the tournament, playing in every round, with his calmness and composure under pressure pivotal, allowing him to be the creative influence to unleash the players outside him and also to kick the conversion that put Wales in their first JWC final.
He kicked well off both feet and from hand, as demonstrated by his perfectly weighted kicks for Ashley Evans to score a try in both the semifinal and final.
2012 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Jan Serfontein (South Africa)
2011 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: George Ford (England)
2010 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
2009 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
2008 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
2007 - IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 - IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 - IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 - IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 - IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year: Tatafua Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 - IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 - IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 - IRB Under 19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 - IRB Under 21 Player of the Year: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB Under 19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB Under 21 Player of the Year: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
2001 - IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)