Western Force skipper and Wallaby veteran Nathan Sharpe has emulated the great George Gregan by winning the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) medal for excellence for the third time.
The medal, which the Test cap centurion won in 2002 and 2005 is voted on by all professional rugby players based in Australia and caps a good season for the hard-working lock who became the most-capped player in Super Rugby history this year.
Sharpe also became the fourth most-capped Wallabies player of all time when he played in his 101st Test against Wales in Cardiff and set a new franchise record of 53 consecutive games for the Force in what was his 14th Super Rugby season.
Last year's winner and Sharpe's Force teammate David Pocock was also nominated for the award but he had to make do with the foundation community service medal for his charity work with EightyTwenty Vision that develops sustainable communities in his native Zimbabwe.
Other nominees for the award were the Rebels' Mark Gerrard, and the Brumbies' Wallaby pair of centre Pat McCabe and hooker Stephen Moore.
Newcomer of the year was Reds centr Ben Tapuai who impressed this year despite having limited opportunities to showcase his skills.
The winner of the academic achievement award was loose forward Matt Hodgson who has a Bachelor of exercise science and sports management and has recently enrolled in a Masters in business management at Deacon University.
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The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
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