O'brien fully deserves award
Lest you need reminding -- and I suspect you do -- Andrea Masi was voted Player of the 2011 Six Nations championship. Apparently he got the most public votes, so there's no doubting his democratic right to that individual gong.
Far be it for me to begrudge the Italian full-back his honour, but, with hand on heart, it would be difficult justifying his selection in the tournament's best 15 -- never mind the top individual award.
But the same most certainly cannot be said of the Heineken Cup (European) Player of the Year for 2011, which was announced midweek. The merit and consistent impact of Leinster's Sean O'Brien needs little elaboration from me.
The Tullow man is the business. He is to Leinster now what Rocky Elsom was in 2009. The most dynamic ball-carrying rugby player to arrive on the Irish scene since his Ireland skipper first made his mark in Australia in 1999.
Injury allowing, and given his refreshing attitude, he will be around for some considerable time to come and dare we suggest he's already the biggest single reason why our World Cup stock has shifted so dramatically.