Rugby-Exeter's Simmonds named Premiership Player of the Season

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - European Champions Cup - Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow Warriors - Sandy Park, Exeter, Britain - December 13, 2020 Exeter's Sam Simmonds in action with Glasgow's Jamie Dobie Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Exeter Chiefs' back row forward Sam Simmonds has been named Premiership Player of the Season, the league announced on Friday.

The 26-year-old scored a record-setting 20 tries in the Premiership this season and his performances earned him a call-up to the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Harlequins flyhalf Marcus Smith, 22, finished as the runner-up after scoring a league-high 270 points. Simmonds' Exeter team mate Dave Ewers came third.

"He (Simmonds) has excelled in a year where it has been tough for all players in Premiership Rugby, with back-to-back seasons and not much time off," said former England winger Ugo Monye, who was part of the judging panel.

"But he hasn't let off from being European player of the year last season to Premiership player of the year this season, which is outstanding.

"His season has been one of the best individual seasons in Premiership history. I think when you are breaking any sort of record, it has to be put down as a memorable year."

The shortlist and the winner were selected by a panel of media professionals.

Exeter, who finished second in the league table, will take on third-placed Sale Sharks in the Premiership semi-final on Saturday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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