Mark Bennett picks up top prize at Edinburgh end-of-season awards
The Scotland international centre scooped the top prize as Edinburgh Rugby celebrated an historic year in their history, in which the team lifted the first-ever Scottish x Italian Shield, claimed back the 1872 Cup and secured Heineken Champions Cup rugby for next season – all in the club’s first campaign at the newly-built DAM Health Stadium.
Bennett enjoyed a resurgent season in the capital midfield, finishing the year with eight tries in 18 appearances, while the outside-centre made a welcome return to the international stage as he featured in Six Nations contests against France and Ireland.
Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair praised Bennett for his contribution to the team, saying: “We’re absolutely delighted to see Mark [Bennett] named Scottish Building Society Player of the Season after a brilliant year in which he was one of our most consistent and impressive performers.
“Mark was pretty candid in the fact Edinburgh fans hadn’t seen the best of him in the last few years due to injury but he was absolutely back to his best this season and I think that was evident in the way he provided a constant attacking spark with his line-breaking and carrying skills.
“Looking back at the season, there were so many games where Mark’s contributions made the difference. January’s home win against Cardiff was a match in which he cut them apart with nearly every run, while you only had to look at his try against Ulster last month which got us right back into the contest.
“Mark deserves all the plaudits he gets this year. He’s really stepped up to become an influential leader in this squad.”
Six more players picked up trophies on the night, including Emiliano Boffelli, who was voted Glen Moray Players’ Player of the Season after a hugely impressive debut campaign in the Scottish capital. The Argentine internationalist made an instant impact after arriving in November.
The Breadalbane Finance Young Player of the Season was Ben Muncaster. The 20-year-old featured in 15 games in his breakthrough season, stepping up from one appearance last year.
The Equity Gap Most Improved Player winner was Connor Boyle was named Equity Gap Most Improved Player, capping off an excellent season for the home-grown openside flanker who made 16 appearances in 2021/22, scoring three tries.
The Breadalbance Finance Man of Steel award for best defender went to Marshall Sykes. The Scotland international lock has become a key player for the capital side since make the switch from Glasgow Warriors in 2020.
Henry Pyrgos picked up the first-ever CBS Consulting Leadership Award, paying tribute to the scrum-half’s experience and influence on the squad.
And finally, Pierre Schoeman was the recipient of the only fan-voted award of the evening: The Caullie Lug.
Named after – and moulded by – the ‘cauliflower ear’ of club legend Allan Jacobsen, the award is given to the player that showed the most commitment to the jersey throughout the season.