Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton has been voted the Rugby Union Writers’ Club personality of the year for 2018.
Sexton received the prestigious Pat Marshall award at the club’s annual dinner in central London following a remarkable 12 months that also saw him crowned world player of the year.
The 33-year-old, who topped a poll of the RUWC’s 200-plus members, has acted as Ireland’s general during a run of 11 wins from 12 Tests including an historic victory over New Zealand on Irish soil.
He was also instrumental in Leinster’s march to a fourth European title after Racing 92 were toppled in the Champions Cup final in May.
Sexton succeeds England fly-half Owen Farrell as holder of the Pat Marshall trophy and follows in the footsteps of previous greats to have won such as Gareth Edwards, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson.
The list of five nominees in contention for the award was dominated by Ireland with head coach Joe Schmidt and tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong also present, as was Stuart Lancaster for his success as Leinster’s senior coach.
The final name among the nominees was South Africa flanker Siya Kolisi, who last year became the first black player to captain the Springboks’ Test team.