Tom Cruse picked up Wasps’ prestigious players’ player-of-the-season award at the end of a glitzy ceremony in a packed Ricoh Premier Lounge.
The popular hooker who has made 23 appearances this season fought off stiff competition from Dan Robson, Danny Cipriani and Willie Le Roux.
In accepting the trophy from Charlie Pragnell, MD of presenting partner Pragnell Jewellers, Cruse said he was astonished by his success.
“I think someone spelled Willie Le Roux wrongly,” he joked.
“Given the quality of the people in our club, I’m just happy to be in the team every week.
“I’m nervous when the team sheet comes out every week – playing for a club like this is very special and this means so much to me.”
Le Roux’s consolation took the form of the Dell EMC supporters’ player-of-the-season.
The South African international, who has drawn rave reviews for his sustained excellence in Wasps No.15 shirt, passed on his gratitude to those who supported him.
“I’d like to thank the fans who voted for me,” he said, “and also my teammates without whom it wouldn’t have been possible.
“I should also mention my family back home in South Africa who are also very supportive and always cheer me on.”
Cipriani was also not left empty-handed. Wasps’ fly half shared the Land Rover community award with academy prospect Jacob Umaga, who sent a video message from New Zealand where he is currently playing club rugby.
Cipriani’s citation came for his overall contribution to the club’s community programme, and he acknowledged the importance of this wider role.
“When you’re injured you have to get yourself fit, but it also gives you an opportunity to get more involved with the community team,” he said.
“They are doing a fantastic job integrating us into a new area, and introducing us to some really worthwhile projects.
“We get to meet local children who may be in unfortunate situations and coach lots of kids enjoying mini-rugby on a Sunday and it’s great for all of us to play a small part.”
Another highlight was provided when European Cup winning skipper and board member Lawrence Dallaglio awarded the club’s highest honour – an Ivor Montlake cap for special services to Wasps – to Cipriani, James Haskell and Guy Thompson. The trio depart at the end of the season after collectively amassing 442 appearances.
Club captain Joe Launchbury also formally thanked leavers Guy Armitage, Marty Moore, Kyle Eastmond, Brendan Macken and Matt Symons, while Kearnan Myall, Nathan Hughes and Jake Cooper-Woolley plus Christian Wade and Simon McIntyre respectively received 100 and 150 appearance awards.
Jack Willis, who in the next week will discover whether he has lifted the Premiership Rugby and RPA young player-of-the-season awards, saw off Will Stuart and Owain James to lift his club’s CCP-sponsored young player award.
His younger brother Tom made it a family double by lifting the Matrix Fitness academy player-of-the-season, while the try-of-the-season award, sponsored by Coca Cola, was won by Marcus Watson’s superb finish against Worcester Warriors at Sixways in September.
The evening, which was hosted by Channel Five’s Mark Durden-Smith, opened with a look back to last summer, when Wasps Netball won the Vitality Superleague in their inaugural season.
Sponsors Scutum UK then welcomed Dan Robson and his Singha Sevens-winning squad to the stage after which Verity Brown was voted as the Npower club person-of-the-year.