George Smith named Green Flag Forward of the Season

Wasps' George Smith was named the Green flag Forward of the season at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards 2016.

A panel of judges headed by Rugby World Cup winner Martin Corry decided to keep the award at the Ricoh Arena, so following Wasps back row Nathan Hughes last year, this time around they awarded the gong to one of the game's most-capped players, George Smith.

Corry said: "There's a danger that we just buy foreign players that don't really add an awful lot, but with Smith at Wasps he looks from the outside like he has changed the culture of how they are going to play.

"Listening to the Wasps players talk, he gives them a new way of looking at the game, he builds new skills.

"His impact on English rugby has been huge. He has come in and set the standard, everyone can see it and he is open with how you do it and he is teaching young guys the tricks of the trade.

"That is what is great about him. Yes he is a natural footballer, the way he is stepping up in ball-playing positions and what he is offering in attack, but his fundamental ability is in and around the breakdown, where he has been phenomenal." 

Smith added: "It's fantastic to get the recognition; to win an award with those nominees is fantastic," he said.

"It's always nice to get recognised for work you've done throughout the year. I really enjoy what I do, I enjoy the competition and I also enjoy the camaraderie we have with the players in the squad, they motivate me to be better as a rugby player.

"Obviously individual awards are always the by-product of team work and Wasps have been playing particularly well throughout the season.

"It's nice that two players, myself and Charles Piutau, have been nominated it shows the club is in a good position with players and the way we play the game."

Smith and Charles Piutau were shortlisted for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season, with Saracens' Alex Goode taking home the award. 

Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season shortlist:
  • Don Armand - Exeter Chiefs
  • Alex Goode - Saracens
  • Maro Itoje - Saracens
  • Charles Piutau - Wasps
  • George Smith - Wasps
  • Gareth Steenson - Exeter Chiefs

Smith was also named alongside Wasps teammates Piutau and Elliot Daly in the BT Sport Aviva Premiership Rugby Dream Team. 

The full Dream Team:
15. Alex Goode - Saracens
14. Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs
13. Elliot Daly - Wasps
12. Charles Piutau - Wasps
11. Telusa Veainu - Leicester Tigers
10. Gareth Steenson - Exeter Chiefs
9. Francois Hougaard - Worcester Warriors
1. Mako Vunipola - Saracens
2. Mike Haywood - Northampton Saints
3. Vadim Cobîlaș - Sale Sharks
4. Maro Itoje - Saracens
5. George Kruis - Saracens
6. Teimana Harrison - Northampton Saints
7. George Smith - Wasps (C)
8. Billy Vunipola - Saracens
 
Mark McCall was named Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season, with Wasps' Dai Young named as one of the nominees.
 
Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season shortlist:

  • Rob Baxter - Exeter Chiefs
  • Steve Diamond - Sale Sharks
  • Mark McCall - Saracens
  • Dai Young - Wasps
Elsewhere Saracens lock Maro Itoje was named the Land Rover Discovery of the Season, for the best Under-23 player in Aviva Premiership Rugby. While Sale Sharks' John O'Donnell was named Aviva Community Player of the Season.