Sam Warburton takes rugby writers' top award

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton was the youngest captain at the 2011 World Cup

Wales' World Cup captain Sam Warburton has beaten tournament-winning coach Graham Henry to the the Rugby Union Writers Club's personality of 2011.

Cardiff Blues flanker Warburton also beat retired Wales wing Shane Williams and France captain Thierry Dusautoir to the Pat Marshall Memorial Award.

Media members praised Warburton for his dignified response to being sent off in the semi-final against France.

Warburton, 23, was the youngest captain at the tournament.

He led Wales in a tournament in which they secured their best finish since 1987, finishing fourth in New Zealand having been third in the inaugural tournament.

RUWC chairman Paul Morgan said: "Sam has had an exemplary year, leading Wales with great dignity, marking himself out as one of the leading candidates to captain the [British and Irish] Lions in 2013.

"He's a worthy recipient of the Pat Marshall Trophy, just beating Graham Henry in a poll of rugby media. He joins an illustrious list of winners."

The RUWC's special award also went to one of Warburton's predecessors in the Wales number seven jersey.

Richard Parks scaled the highest peak on each of the seven continents and hiked to both poles within seven months for charity.

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