NEWS: From next season the United Rugby Championship’s Chairman’s Award that recognises an individual or group of individuals for their positive contribution to the sport of rugby will be renamed as the Leonardo Mussini Award.
The award has been in existence since 2010 and has recognised the contributions of iconic players, match officials and more latterly, the efforts of medical personnel who helped the league to continue playing during the pandemic.
This prestigious award will now be dedicated to the memory of Leonardo Mussini, a much beloved figure within the league who passed away in 2021 at the age of 41. For nine years Leo was the heartbeat of Zebre Parma as a communications and marketing leader who poured his heart and soul into the club as he helped forge its identity.
With a forthright attitude and an incredibly warm demeanour Leo worked hard to grow Zebre’s recognition within local communities and the wider regions around Parma through a spirit of inclusion and bravery.
There are many within the environment of the United Rugby Championship across our five nations who embody this spirit and drive to better their club, colleagues and even rivals and now the Leonardo Mussini Award will seek to recognise these each year.
The criteria will be shared with each club who will be free to nominate individuals as they wish which will be reviewed by judging panel appointed by the URC.
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2009/10: Michael Bradley (Connacht)
2010/11: Alan Quinlan (Munster)
2011/12: Shane Williams (Ospreys)
2012/13: Michael Swift (Connacht)
2013/14: Leo Cullen & Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
2014/15: Al Kellock (Glasgow Warriors)
2015/16: John Muldoon (Connacht)
2016/17: Nigel Owens (WRU)
2017/18: Ed Jackson (Dragons)
2018/19: Ross Ford (Edinburgh)
2019/20: Max Mbanda (Zebre)
2020/21: PRO14 Medical Committee: Dr Vincenzo Ieracitano (FIR), Dr Rod McLoughlin (IRFU), Dr James Robson (SRU), Clint Readhead (SARU) and Prav Mathema (WRU), Dr Michael Dunlop (Edinburgh Rugby).