ELLIOT DALY today capped a stellar period in his Wasps career by being named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for March.
The England Saxons centre has been in sensational form for a number of months and after coming second in the poll in February, went one better this time around.
Daly’s form has symbolised Wasps’ renaissance this season as they have moved to a new stadium and played the sort of rugby that made them one of the most feared teams in Europe less than a decade ago.
On the news, Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “This award is fully deserved and fantastic recognition of how Elliot has been playing for Wasps. Elliot has gone from strength to strength again this season. His defence is always very good and everyone knows what Elliot can do when you get the ball in his hands. He has the ability to get on the outside of people, to really cut defences and to feed his winger.
“As we saw against Toulon, he caused an international centre combination real problems and he has done that to teams all season. Elliot has the ability to beat people and that’s a rare commodity.
“If England are going to go out and win the Rugby World Cup, he’s the type of player you’ve got to have in the team so I’d certainly like to think he’s pushing for a place in the squad.”
BT Sport analyst Austin Healey believes the award is the culmination of a great run of form for Daly.
“For a good couple of years now us rugby watchers have known of the potential of Elliot Daly,” said Healey. “Over the last few months we have seen him realise it and perhaps with plenty still to come.
“He clearly has plenty of pace but what impresses me the most is how and when he uses it. He has a good understanding of outside angles and a great comprehension of who he's attacking, making him the best outside centre at attacking the outside.
“Couple this with his excellent footwork, defence and long range kicking abilities and it becomes easy to see why he is the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month.”
Daly is yet to win a full England cap but Healey believes that could come sooner rather than later adding: “The next question for Daly is can he get in the World Cup squad and challenge Joseph for the 13 shirt? Many think he can!”
A talented sportsman Daly was also offered a contract with Surrey Cricket before making a career in rugby.
Daly, 22, beat an impressive shortlist of his team mate Christian Wade, Chris Ashton (Saracens), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints) and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) to win the award.
Rugby fans also had their say on who deserved to win the coveted Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month Award, as they became the 10th Judge. Joining the panel of nine judges, fans voted for the player that had impressed them the most during the month of March. The most votes in this poll also went to Daly.
Fans can get involved and vote for their Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for April by visiting www.aviva.co.uk/10thjudge from midnight on Sunday 26 April. Each month, one lucky fan who votes will be selected at random to win four tickets to an Aviva Premiership Rugby game of their choice! This month's winner was Lee Rennox who won four tickets for the Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons game on the 9 May and a replica ball
As well as securing the votes of hundreds of fans, Daly was voted for by a panel of media professionals – Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (The Daily Telegraph), Steve James (The Sunday Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Jill Douglas (ITV Sport), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Ben Coles (Planet Rugby). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby's Communications Director.
Daly wins a trophy and £250, which he has decided to donate to Cancer Research.
Winners in the 2014-15 season
September – Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
October – Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
November – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
December – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
January – Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
February – Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
March – Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Winners in the 2013-14 season
September – Jacques Burger (Saracens)
October – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
November – George Ford (Bath Rugby)
December – Nick Easter (Harlequins)
January – Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
February – Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
March – Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
April – Chris Ashton (Saracens)