In-form James Hume was a big winner at the Heineken 2021/22 Ulster Rugby Awards, with the center taking double the trophy.
Recently on tour with the Republic of Ireland in New Zealand, where he hopes to add to his three caps, the 23-year-old has produced a string of superb performances in Ulster midfield this season, starting last year’s breakout campaign, culminating in his Test debut.
A mainstay in the number 13 shirt, the former RBAI standout made 21 appearances for Dan McFarland’s team last season, as well as two substitutes for Ireland, and from November onwards was arguably the center of form throughout Ireland.
His performance against Munster in the URC quarter-finals at Ravenhill earlier this month was exemplary, with his Man of the Match showing one try and three assists, a perfect example of how his now remarkably rounded game has progressed since the start of the season. by the end.
And while he’s hoping there’s more to come as he aims for his first match against the All Blacks in the coming weeks, he’s been rewarded for his stellar run of performances with Heineken’s Men’s Player of the Year award. , voted for by Ulster supporters and Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year.
Hume was not the only player recognized on Thursday: his former classmate Mike Lowry was awarded URSC Player of the Year after a great season for Ulster itself, which was unfortunately cut short by a facial injury sustained after he took over. cornerback position. yours for winter and spring.
Lowry, like Hume, will hope to get Andy Farrell’s attention in New Zealand.
Back at Ravenhill, the Openreach Young Player of the Year award, which Hume won just last season, went to Ethan McIlroy. In a year when Jacob Stockdale and Will Addison didn’t play after the first month of the season, and even Robert Balukun missed some time due to injury, McIlroy was the star.
The 21-year-old, who had 10 previous senior starts prior to this campaign, has been consistent on the left flank, starting 21 of 22 games and scoring five tries, including a memorable double in the latter’s second leg. 16 draw with Toulouse.
In the women’s game, the Deloitte Women’s Player of the Year award went to Aishling O’Connell.
Cooke was a particularly prominent player in the Interprovincial Series last year, where her experience with the young team also proved to be valuable.
The prestigious Bank of Ireland Person of the Year award went to Ashley Orchard.
Orchard, née Baxter, has returned to the Ulster team following an injury and will join the coaching staff next season, as well as taking on the role of player/coach for her club club Cook.
Ulster Rugby CEO Johnny Petri commented: “I would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees on a very positive season for our clubs and players both at the grassroots and professional levels.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the game across Ulster for bringing rugby back into full swing this year. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, and I am very grateful to everyone.”