A player described as one of the key reasons for Northampton Saints’ qualification for next season’s European Rugby Champions Cup has today been named Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for April.
Teimana Harrison – who was called into the England squad at the weekend – was instrumental in Saints’ top-five finish in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season. Their run to the Champions Cup spots included them ending April with a crucial one-point victory over Bath Rugby.
"Teimana Harrison has been one of the bright sparks in an otherwise lacklustre season for Northampton Saints," said BT Sport analyst Austin Healey.
"Along with the performances of Mike Hayward and Harry Mallinder, arguably the form of Harrison over the past month has carried Saints into next year’s Champions Cup."
Harrison was involved in a three-way battle for this month’s title, eventually beating Wasps’ wing Christian Wade – who scored six tries in one match against Worcester Warriors – and Leicester Tigers’ hooker Harry Thacker.
Healey added: "Teimana has displayed exactly the physicality, ball carrying and downright dog that (Saints’ coach) Dorian West requires from his forwards. And with the new arrivals next year especially Louis Picamoles Saints could bounce back to their former glory.
"The big question now though for our Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month is will Eddie Jones take Harrison to Australia."
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 who had impressed them the most during the month of April.
One lucky fan who votes as a 10th Judge will be selected at random to win tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 28 May.
As well as the fans' vote Harrison 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.
Harrison wins a trophy and a £250 donation to the charity of his choice.
Winners in the 2015-16 season
October – Nick Evans (Harlequins)
November – Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
December – Maro Itoje (Saracens)
January – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
February – George Smith (Wasps)
March – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
April – Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
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)
April – Joe Simpson (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)