Italian back, Andrea Masi, has been awarded the Player of the Championship prize for the RBS 6 Nations 2011 Tournament, after over 17,000 votes were cast in the final week of the Championship.
Despite Italy finishing 6th of the 6 teams, they had perhaps their best tournament since they joined in 2000 – as they had a dramatic, and historic win over France at Rome, where they also ran Ireland and Wales very close.
Speaking of the award, and the tournament, Masi said:
“It has been a Championship of highs and lows for the Italian team, our win against France will go down in rugby history but to finish sixth frustrated us all. However, to be named the RBS Player of the Championship is a fantastic way to end what has been one of the most competitive Championships I can remember. We have worked hard this year and can be proud of our achievements. Italian rugby continues to strengthen and we are very happy with our progress as a team. To be the first Italian voted to win this award by the fans is a huge compliment.”
Andrea Masi was selected from a public vote on the RBS 6 Nations website, conducted in the week following Italy’s win over France – during which Masi scored a vital try.
The vote was chosen from the following short list:
- 1. Andrea Masi (Italy)
- 2. Fabio Semenzato (Italy)
- 3. Toby Flood (England)
- 4. Chris Ashton (England)
- 5. Sean O’Brien (Ireland)
- 6. Sam Warburton (Wales)
- 7. Ronan O’Gara (Ireland)
- 8. Maxime Medard (France)
- 9. James Haskell (England)
- 10. James Hook (Wales)
- 11. Tom Palmer (England)
- 12. Thierry Dusautoir (France)
Masi joins an impressive list of former winners, including:
- 2010 – Tommy Bowe
- 2009 – Brian O’Driscoll
- 2008 – Shane Williams
- 2007 – Brian O’Driscoll
- 2006 – Brian O’Driscoll
Masi secured over 30% of the 2011 vote, which counted a total of 17,562 rugby fans. In second was his compatriot Fabio Semenzato, who was narrowly ahead of Sean O’Brien of Ireland and Toby Flood of England.