Leicester's Tom Youngs named Premiership player of the season

Tom Youngs

England and Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs has been named Premiership player of the season.

The 26-year-old, brother of England and Tigers scrum-half Ben, switched from playing centre to become club and country's first-choice hooker.

His performances have also earned him a place on the British and Irish Lions' tour of Australia this summer.

Mark McCall won director of rugby of the season after Saracens finished top of the table for the first time.

Sarries, who host Northampton Saints in their play-off semi-final on Sunday, lost just four games during the regular season, finishing three points ahead of Leicester.

Norfolk-born Youngs, who started his first game at hooker for Nottingham against Cornish Pirates in September 2009, made his England debut against Fiji last November and has now appeared in nine consecutive Test matches, eight of them in the starting line-up.

He beat club-mate Julian Salvi, Saracens second row Steve Borthwick, Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care, Gloucester back row Akapusi Qera and Wasps wing Christian Wade to the award.

"His story is extraordinary," said Phil Winstanley, the rugby director at Premiership Rugby.

"To move from the centre to hooker is practically unheard of in professional rugby. To then go on to make your England debut and a Lions tour the following season is what dreams are made of.

"I am sure that he will be the first to tell you that this award is also a tribute to the coaching staff at Leicester Tigers, who have helped him every step of the way.

"He wouldn't be on the Lions tour and have become England's first-choice hooker without their patience, dedication and expertise and it is such a positive endorsement of the Leicester Tigers academy system which has produced Tom and five of his team-mates for this year's Lions tour."

McCall beat Leicester's Richard Cockerill, Lyn Jones of London Welsh and Wasps' Dai Young to win the director of rugby award.

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