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Page last updated at 19:15 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 20:15 UK

Mapusua wins top players' award

London Irish centre Seilala Mapusua
Mapusua has been a key figure for London Irish this season

London Irish centre Seilala Mapusua has been named the Professional Rugby Association's players' player of the year for 2009.

The Samoa-born 29-year-old was a key figure in the Exiles reaching their first Guinness Premiership final next weekend against Leicester.

Mapusua beat Newcastle Falcons' Tom May and Sale Sharks' Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe to the award.

The young player of the year award went to Northampton's Ben Foden.

Both Mapusua and Foden were presented with their trophies at the PRA Awards in London.

Mapusua said: "It's a very humbling honour and a great surprise to be recognised with this award. I've enjoyed this season immensely, and to receive this award is a great bonus.

"This season has been fantastic, both for me and London Irish, and getting to our first Premiership final is something we have all worked very hard for.

"I'm looking forward to giving it a good crack on Saturday and hopefully finishing the season with another trophy to add to this one."

Foden was voted for ahead of Tom Croft of Leicester Tigers and Danny Care of Harlequins.

The full-back/scrum-half made his England debut before helping Northampton to the European Challenge Cup Final on 22 May.

He said: "Winning this award means an awful lot to me, and there is no greater honour than to be recognised like this by your fellow players.

"I wouldn't have been able to achieve everything I have this season without the continued support and advice of the players and coaches at Northampton, and I'd like to thank them for all their help and encouragement throughout this season."

Other players recognised on the night were Mike Catt, who won the special merit award for his contribution to the game, and Fran Cotton and Jeremy Guscott, who were both inducted into the PRA hall of fame.



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see also
Harlequins 0-17 London Irish
09 May 09 |  English
Northampton 16-13 Saracens
02 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Armitages shortlisted for awards
23 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Foden now world class - Mallinder
16 Mar 09 |  Northampton
Cipriani and Flutey land awards
21 May 08 |  English
Mapusua signs new deal at Exiles
05 Dec 07 |  London Irish


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