McGuigan named Gallagher Player of the Month

Thursday 07 April 2022 Written by: Adam

The Falcons hooker hit scintillating form in March to take the prize, and finish the month as Gallagher Premiership Rugby’s leading try-scorer, a crucial cog in the club’s campaign according to BT Sport pundit and Gallagher ambassador, Ugo Monye, who feels that England honours could beckon for McGuigan.

Monye said: “George’s performances have been of an exceptionally high standard in almost every part of his game. I think when you look at him, he has made a far greater contribution to his side as an individual than perhaps any other player in any other team this month.

“I think he’s been knocking on the door for England for a little while now. He has not just got competition in Gallagher Premiership Rugby – he has got competition closer to home in Jamie Blamire. But George is the number one at Newcastle, and if you want to talk about contributions, he has contributed almost 20 per cent of all the metres made for Newcastle this season and is the top scorer in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

“He is an outstanding player, and I think for him, all he can do is remain focused and patient but also keep putting in the level of performances that he has done not just this month, but throughout the season and in previous seasons.”

In the week that he could make his 150th appearance for Newcastle Falcons, McGuigan said: “It’s a real honour to receive this award.

“I’ve never had anything like this before, but it’s nice to be recognised. I’ve managed to get over for a few tries, which probably helps, although a lot of them have really been team tries where I’ve just been on the back of a driving maul or running a support line on somebody else’s break.

“Still, it’s really nice to in the frame for this kind of thing, and to be making a positive contribution for the team here at Newcastle.”

Falcons fan and director of Gallagher’s Newcastle branch (pictured above) Frank Firth, said: “As the league’s leading try-scorer, with an impressive hat-trick in the tightly-fought match against Wasps, George McGuigan is a very worthy winner of Gallagher Player of the Month, and it was a pleasure to present him with his award.

“The results in March may not have gone Falcons’ way but the team was always threatening and George was on stellar form, picking up and powering over the line on the back of many a rolling maul. This created some great rugby for all the loyal and local supporters here in Newcastle, and ultimately built up to an emphatic away win over Worcester Warriors last weekend. Congratulations George.”

Northampton Saints’ scrum-half Alex Mitchell was the runner-up this month with Tigers’ hooker Julian Montoya third, and Monye believes there has been a change in style right across the league this season.

Monye said: “I think what we’re seeing in Gallagher Premiership Rugby this season is that the successful teams are built on a really good attack, and I think that’s George’s best attribute.

“His lines of running and the timing of his runs, as well as his understanding of where space is, is brilliant. Making dents into defences, running into holes or creating space for other people, that is where he has really grown as a player this year. Notwithstanding, his set-piece is always very solid at the lineout and scrum.

“I think it is a testament to the player, you know, we would ordinarily be picking players in the top half of the table, and Newcastle Falcons are not one of those teams.”

As part of his prize for being named Gallagher Player of the Month, McGuigan wins a shirt signed by the whole Newcastle Flacons squad and framed by Gallagher to gift to a charity of his choice, to help them raise funds for their chosen cause.

McGuigan was judged by a panel of experts as the player who made the biggest impact in Gallagher Premiership Rugby in March 2022.

McGuigan was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in March 2022, alongside a public poll on the Premiership Rugby app, which drew more than 1,200 votes.

The judges were: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Gavin Mairs (The Daily Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Hugh Godwin (I), Andrew Baldock (Press Association), Bobby Bridge (Coventry Telegraph), John Everly (Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle) Jill Douglas (Broadcaster), Craig Swayne (@BallcarrierRugby), 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.

**Winners in the 2021-22 season:**

March – George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)

February – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)

January – André Esterhuizen (Harlequins)

December – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

November – Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

October – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

September – Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)