Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has been named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Player of the Year, and is on course to return from injury for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
The 25-year-old has been out of action with injury, first breaking his jaw in October in the Championship success against Italy, before suffering a second injury to his jaw in December in club action.
However he could now return for this weekend’s inter-provincial clash with Munster, which would allow him to stake a claim for Andy Farrell’s Ireland squad that is named next week.
Ringrose said: “I’m back on solid foods which is the main thing and a nice step, then I still have to tick a few boxes from a contact perspective to be available for the weekend.
“I’m hoping I can pass them and at least put my hand up to be involved in some way.
“Anyone who is out with injury is always itching to get back and obviously a game against Munster down in Thomond Park, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. In terms of intensity and pressure, it’s as good as it gets.”
Ringrose played in wins over Scotland and Italy in 2020, helping Ireland to third place in the Guinness Six Nations table.
He was also part of the Leinster side that went unbeaten in claiming the Guinness PRO14 title, and he was thrilled to be recognised for his efforts.
He said: “It is a real honour to be named the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Men’s Player of the Year. 2020 was an extremely challenging year for us all and I am very grateful to the rugby writers of Ireland for selecting me as the winner of this prestigious award at the end of it all.
“Although, last season was great and I am very proud to be part of the Guinness PRO14 winning team with Leinster, I hope that I can kick on in 2021 for both Leinster and Ireland.”
Winger Béibhinn Parsons was recognised for her breakthrough campaign as she was named Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Women’s Player of the Year.
And the youngster, who scored two tries as Ireland finished third in the Women’s Six Nations, was overwhelmed to have taken home the award.
She said: “Winning the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award is a real ‘pinch me’ moment.
“To follow in the footsteps of incredible players like Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy and Sene Naoupu is just incredible! To even be nominated for an award of this calibre has exceeded all my expectations. I would have never considered myself to be in the same bracket of players with those women.”