Alex Goode’s superb week of success continued on Wednesday evening, as the full-back scooped the Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the season award just four days after lifting the European Champions Cup.
The 28-year-old beat teammate Maro Itoje, Exeter duo Gareth Steenson and Don Armand, and Wasps' Charles Piutau and George Smith to the gong at the sold-out Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane.
He was rewarded for his consistently excellent form all season, as he made 15 Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances and scored four tries – almost single-handedly dragging his side through a testing Six Nations period.
Goode’s already glittering mantelpiece may yet have one further addition this season with Saracens still in the running for a European and domestic double, but regardless the England international can hardly believe the success he has had.
“It’s been a brilliant few days for me,” he said. “First and foremost, to win the Champions Cup was so special for everyone involved but for me as well I have picked up the ultimate award.
“To win the Premiership Player of the Season award is incredible and I am humbled to have picked it up.
“There are so many world-class players in the Premiership and the list of names on the shortlist was incredible so it means a lot to me.
“We pride ourselves on the whole team being a part of it and I certainly wouldn’t have won this award if it wasn’t for my teammates.
“I am very lucky to be part of a great club but we know as a team we have won nothing this year so far in the Premiership and it would be a shame to not see that through for the rest of this season.
“Over the last couple of years I have really grown in confidence and managed to get more and more involved with Saracens in terms of games and I just feel in a really good place and I have great players around me which makes it even easier.”
Eleven awards in total were presented to the stars of Aviva Premiership Rugby, with representatives from all 12 clubs in attendance.
And Exeter Chiefs’ Thomas Waldrom was also among the winners as he collected the Trivento Top Try Scorer award for the second season running.
Last season Waldrom became the first forward to top the try-scoring charts since Neil Back in 1999 and he was well clear of the opposition, but this term it was much tighter.
His total of 13 tries was just one ahead of Wasps' Christian Wade and Bath Rugby's Semesa Rokoduguni, but despite his consistency at getting over the try-line, the 33-year-old No.8 insisted the prize should have been shared with the entire Chiefs pack.
Waldrom said: “I always tell people that [me scoring tries] is all about seven people getting their jobs right and then me being on the back there.
“Everyone has to do the job to get us over the line, so while this is an individual award it’s a big squad effort.
“When I came up with the tank engine celebration I definitely never thought I’d get to do it as much as I have – it is nice doing it and it is a testament to all the work our coaches are putting in
“I can’t really pick out any tries in particular. It’s more the whole performance that I remember, like against Worcester and Wasps where I scored tries but it was an incredible forwards effort.”
Waldrom was not the only Exeter man toasting his success, with Steenson lifting the Gilbert Golden Boot Award.
“Awards like this show how much the club is progressing,” said the fly-half. “I’ve been here for eight years now, and to be in the situation we’re in now is huge for the club.
“We’re always looking to knock ourselves along, and with that comes these sorts of awards. Thomas has won the top try-scorer two years in a row now which is great and we’ve had guys in the team of the season.
“It shows the club is going in the right direction, and it’s lovely on a personal level.”