Tom Hayes has been voted the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month. The Exeter number 8 was named November’s winner by a panel made up of rugby media representatives from print, TV, radio and photographers.
Rugby World editor Paul Morgan, who chairs the panel, commented: “Exeter Captain Tommy Hayes is the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month for November ‘Tommy’ embodies what has been a sensational season for Exeter, so far.
“They have become one of the biggest stories in Aviva Premiership Rugby and Tommy has been at the fulcrum of their magnificent start to the season, which culminated in two great wins in November, against Leeds and Sale. He epitomises everything good about what is a great club."
The Irishman, who led Exeter Chiefs into Aviva Premiership Rugby for the first time following last year’s promotion, has put in some inspired performances helping his team record famous victories over local rivals Gloucester and title contenders Saracens.
The team has defied the odds with a hugely impressive opening to their maiden Premiership Rugby season despite last weekend’s loss to Wasps which ended their five match unbeaten run in all competitions.
Hayes said:“Obviously I was a little bit shocked when I got told the news, but it is a huge honour for me and I’m delighted to have received the award. What we have achieved this season has been great so far, but it’s not just about me. All the guys have been superb and it has been a massive team effort.”
Rob Baxter, Exeter Chiefs head coach, added:“It’s always very pleasing as a club whenever you pick up awards of this nature. Tom has led from the front during our Premiership season and this award is due recognition for what he and his team-mates have achieved so far.
“The past 12 months have been memorable for all of us at the club and this award for Tom merely puts the seal on all of the hard work we have put in.”
Heather Smith, Head of Sponsorship for Premiership Rugby sponsors Aviva added: “Tommy is a worthy winner of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award. He is a player who leads by example, a true role model, who has harnessed the clubs fearless attitude so far this season.”