Maro Itoje named European Player of the Year
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 15/05/16 12:02pm
Saracens and England lock Maro Itoje has been named European Player of the Year after helping his side to Champions Cup glory.
The 21-year-old continued an incredible year by playing a big part in his side's 21-9 win over Racing Metro in Saturday's final in Lyon.
Itoje started the season as one of the country's most promising talents and could end it with a handful of the sport's biggest awards.
He was part of England's Grand Slam-winning side and helped guide Saracens to top spot in the Aviva Premiership ahead of the play-offs, doing enough to be named RPA Young Player of the Year.
Itoje is the fourth successive English player to win the award after Nick Abendanon, Steffon Armitage and Jonny Wilkinson.
Speaking after the win over Racing, Itoje said: "This group has been working towards this for the past seven years.
"There have been disappointments in the past and each time they have talked about getting stronger and now we have finally done it I am very happy and so are the rest of the boys - and long may it continue.
"We knew this was a game we could win and our form coming into it was about right. Racing are a quality team but we felt as if we did what we do, and try to dominate the gain line, then we would get the win.
"Obviously the defeat in the 2014 final was disappointing, and a hard loss for some of the established lads to take, but each year we start afresh, we start anew and we start building and we go again. And now we've finally done it."