A memorable NatWest 6 Nations campaign for Ireland just got even better as record-breaking winger Jacob Stockdale was named the 2018 NatWest Player of the Championship.
The Ulster star bagged a NatWest 6 Nations record seven tries as he helped Ireland secure an historic Grand Slam for only the third time in their history. Stockdale, who scored against England, Italy, Scotland and Wales during this year’s Championship, eclipsed the six tries set by Chris Ashton, Will Greenwood and Shane Williams.
Stockdale’s teammate for club and country, Ian Henderson, presented the prestigious NatWest Player of the Championship trophy to him yesterday (Thursday).
Playing in the Ulster Bank League with Ballynahinch RFC as recent as 2016, Stockdale’s progression has been incredible and his meteoric rise continues to gather pace with this prestigious accolade.
The 21-year-old was a clear winner in the public vote, securing 32% of rugby fans’ votes. His Ireland teammate Conor Murray was second with 18.2%, just edging fellow Irishman Jonathan Sexton into third on 18%.
Another Ireland winger took fourth place with Keith Earls garnering 14.5% of the votes, followed by Italy’s rising star, Matteo Minozzi, who earned 13.2%. France captain Guilhem Cuirado completed the line-up with 4.1%.
Stockdale, who only had four caps heading into this year’s NatWest 6 Nations, commented: “It’s been a truly memorable few weeks, making my first NatWest 6 Nations appearance, winning the Championship then going on to complete the Grand Slam against England. Breaking the try-scoring record was the cherry on top! It’s an absolute honour to win the NatWest Player of the Championship, especially when you look at the amazing calibre of those shortlisted. Thank you to everyone who voted and for all the fans who gave us so much support throughout the Championship.”
The NatWest Player of the Championship shortlist was selected by a media panel of distinguished rugby writers and broadcasters from across the six nations. Each member of the panel submitted their top three nominations for the award, from which the six players with the most number of votes were identified for the shortlist. The panel were supplied with OPTA stats to assist their selections. The shortlist was open for public voting for two days.
NatWest Player of the Championship Voting Results
Player of the Championship – Previous Winners
2017 – Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
2016 – Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
2015 – Paul O’Connell (Ireland)
2014 – Mike Brown (England)
2013 – Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
2012 – Dan Lydiate (Wales)
2011 – Andrea Masi (Italy)
2010 – Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
2009 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
2008 – Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
2006 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)