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Premiership Rugby

Deakin Medal inaugurated for Final

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The medal commemorates the late Saracens and Sale Sharks chief executive, who sadly passed away from cancer during the course of the season, having revolutionised the marketing side of the game during his time in Rugby Union, following a similarly successful off-field Rugby League career.

Deakin began his League career playing for his native Oldham, reaching England Amateur level, before crossing the Atlantic to work in sports management in America. In 1994 he joined Bradford Bulls Rugby League club, where his marketing initiatives helped  treble the gates in three years. Peter then crossed codes to join Saracens, where once again his innovative style of marketing led to success off the field.

Saracens' average home gates grew to 10,000 and in April 1998  Saracens attracted the (only recently beaten) Premiership record attendance, when over 19,800 supporters watched Saracens play Newcastle Falcons.

Deakin transferred codes again in 1999 to become chief executive of Warrington Wolves. Once again he helped increase attendance and improve their marketing.

'Deaks' made his final code change in 2001 when he became chief executive at Sale Sharks, during which time he helped secure the signing of England wing Jason Robinson from Wigan Rugby League.

Deakin had been battling cancer for a year when he finally died, aged 49, in February this year. He was a major believer in a 'Grand Final' as a finale to a season and everyone involved in Premier Rugby hopes that the Peter Deakin Commemorative Medal will be a fitting tribute to a great marketeer, who was often described as a breath of fresh air in the world  of sport.

The Peter Deakin Commemorative Medal will be along similar lines to the Rugby League equivalent, the Lance Todd Trophy, which is awarded to the man of the match in Britain's Challenge Cup Final.

Still seen as a great honour for star performances, the Lance Todd trophy has even been given to players from the losing team in past years, notably the brother of current Gloucester centre Henry Paul, Robbie, when he starred for Bradford Bulls.

Todd, like Deakin, was a much-loved figure in the game, a New Zealand tourist who played for Wigan, and was a renowned coach with Salford before his death in a road accident following a game at Oldham.

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