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Charles Piutau named Premiership Player of the Month for February

Ugo Monye has described February’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby player of the month Charles Piutau as a “joy to watch” following the All Black’s starring role for the Bristol Bears in recent weeks.

The Bears won twice in February, against Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors, and started March with a first derby win at Bath Rugby in 14 years.

Piutau was influential in all three matches and Monye said: “He has been excellent. Bristol’s game is predominantly based on attack and he is a key part of that.

“He has become a real leader in that backline and helps bring out the best in those around him.”

Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, said: “Charles is really enjoying his rugby, but the biggest impact he is having, on and off the field, is his contribution to the team and those around him.

“He is playing really well, but it’s the input and influence he is he having on the guys around him and the confidence he brings to the squad.”

Piutau was the standout figure in Round 11, leading the way for carries (27) and defenders beaten (14) in the Bears’ 13-10 victory over Worcester.

He tops the overall Gallagher Premiership Rugby charts in both those categories as well as metres carried, where the 28-year-old’s tally of 1,180 puts him head and shoulders above the rest.

“Those are just world-class numbers – and he is a world class player,” said Monye, the BT Sport pundit, covering Gallagher Premiership Rugby, and Gallagher brand ambassador.

“He is a truly phenomenal player and he is a joy to watch – certainly one of my favourites.

“What I find so impressive is that this is his second spell in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and he keeps improving.

“He was exceptional at Wasps, had a great impact at Ulster and he has now returned even better.”

Monye went on to outline how Bristol’s young backs could learn from the mercurial full-back, who was capped 17 times for New Zealand between 2012 and 2015.

“I think day to day I would just want to sit down with him and understand how he has such an influence and how he gets involved in so many situations from his position at full-back,” he added.

“On a game day, I would look at the areas he goes into and the positions he takes up – you wouldn’t want to be far away from him.”

Piutau was presented with his award by Martyn Smith, Divisional Director of Gallagher in Bristol, where the insurance broker has a 60 strong team, part of its UK wide network of more than 70 offices.

Commenting on Piutau’s award, Gallagher’s Martyn Smith, said: “I was delighted to present this well-deserved accolade to Charles as he has played a leading role in the team’s results in the last month. As a lifelong Bristol Bears’ fan their performance this year has been exceptional and they will be a formidable opponent over the rest of the season.” 

Piutau – as part of his prize for being named Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Month – wins a shirt signed by the whole Bristol Bears squad and framed by Gallagher to be gifted to a local club, school, community group or charity of his choice.

Piutau was judged by a panel of experts as the player who made the biggest impact in Gallagher Premiership Rugby over the month of February 2020.

He was involved in a three-way battle to win the award eventually beating team-mate Callum Sheedy and Wasps back-rower Jack Willis.

Piutau was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in February, alongside a public poll which drew more than 3,000 votes on the Premiership Rugby app. The judges were: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (The Daily Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Jonny Fordham (The Sun), Jill Douglas (Broadcaster) Robert Kitson (The Guardian), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), David Rogers (Getty Images) and Tom Hamilton (ESPN). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby's Communications Director.


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