TOP BAR - Fixtures

Winger Olly Woodburn hails Exeter Chiefs team-mates after dream team award

Olly Woodburn has highlighted Exeter’s culture as the key factor in the club’s success this season – success which has led to him being named in this year’s BT Sport Dream Team.

The winger has had a stunning campaign, scoring 10 tries and receiving a nomination for the Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the season award, which was won by Jimmy Gopperth on Wednesday evening.

Woodburn picked up his award at the Aviva Premiership Awards ceremony at the London Lancaster Hotel, with Richard Wigglesworth and Jamie George of Saracens also attending after being selected for the Dream Team.

The 25-year-old flyer has been a revelation for the Chiefs since joining in 2015 from Bath where he came through the academy system.

Woodburn was voted by his team-mates as Exeter Chiefs Player of the Year, and by Exeter fans as Supporters’ Player of the Year, in what has been a sparkling season.

Despite the personal accolades, Woodburn was in humble mood on Wednesday and hailed his Chiefs team-mates as the reason for his success.

“I really wouldn’t see myself in a dream team so it’s been an awesome season and it really pays tribute to the team I’m in,” said Woodburn.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, they’re such a good unit and such a pleasure to play with as well.

“It’s the culture, it starts from the top, we’ve got Tony Rowe and Rob Baxter sitting at the back and they really drive the culture here, they drive the team and the unit.

“Everyone buys in to what we’re trying to achieve here, I’m a team player myself and I’m really proud of myself for diving in with them.”

Woodburn now turns his attention to the mouth-watering semi-final clash against European Champions Saracens at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Saracens ran out 34-13 winners when they visited Sandy Park back in September, but Exeter are on an impressive 14-game unbeaten run in the Premiership, and will be confident that have the ability to dismantle the visitors’ famed defence.

And Woodburn is looking forward to testing himself out against a team as impressive as Mark McCall’s side.

“It’s not hard to get excited when Saracens come down here,” said Woodburn.

“They rocked the house last week [in the European Champions Cup final against Clermont] and we’ve got a huge amount of respect for them as a team, to put a Clermont side away like that was incredible.

“It’ll be a different game this weekend but I’m really looking forward to having them down.”

BT Sport Dream Team

Saracens lead the way with five players – George and Wigglesworth being joined by skipper Brad Barritt, Mako Vunipola and Jackson Wray.

Wasps have four players in the star-studded line-up, in the form of Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Jimmy Gopperth and Joe Launchbury.

Northampton Saints forward pair Courtney Lawes and Louis Picamoles also make the list, while Woodburn and Don Armand are the Exeter representatives.

Full-back Telusa Veainu of Leicester Tigers and Harlequins prop Kyle Sinckler round off the XV.

15 Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers)
14 Christian Wade (Wasps)
13 Elliot Daly (Wasps)
12 Brad Barritt (Saracens)(capt)
11 Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs)
10 Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
9 Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
2 Jamie George (Saracens)
3 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
6 Don Armand (Exeter Chiefs)
7 Jackson Wray (Saracens)
8 Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints)

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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