MONACO, FRA. – Perry Baker has earned his second consecutive World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Award, World Rugby announced last night at the 2018 World Rugby Awards in Monaco.
At a star-studded affair in France, the Eagles Sevens’ star was honored after voting and nominations from his peers made an easy selection for the award. Despite battling injury through much of the 2018 World Series, Baker still managed to cap off a brilliant year.
After earning his first World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year honor in 2017, the athlete crossed the tryline 37 times in a total of 30 matches during the 2018 season. In the earlier part of the year, Baker’s breakout performances allowed him to become the USA’s all-time leading try scorer — passing fellow 2016 Olympian Zack Test — and helping the United States transform into a powerful threat on the rugby pitch.
During the Men’s Eagles Sevens’ home stop in Las Vegas, the athlete helped his side win their first ever World Series gold medal on U.S. soil with a tactful tackle and cracking try that allowed the USA to defeat Fiji in the Cup Semifinals. The try is arguably considered one of the best ever scored in rugby sevens and saw Baker featured at the top of ESPN Sportscenter’s Top 10.
Thrilled for the honor, Baker expressed his enthusiasm for winning the award for a second year in a row, and how the honor comes in great company to fellow-nominees Jerry Tuwai (Fiji) and Ben O’Donnell (Australia).
“It’s hard to explain the excitement and how honored I am just to be mentioned as a nominee alongside the other two great guys,” said Baker. “I’m truly blessed and thankful for my teammates and staff; as well as all the great fans and players who make the game we play so respectable and exciting. Cheers for the opportunity.”
A proven and respected competitor, Baker has personified the brand of rugby sevens with his fast feet and well-rounded play.
“We are all very pleased and proud of Perry to have been recognized once again as World Player of the Year. It is a great honor and testament to his playing ability,” said Head Coach Mike Friday, describing how the coveted award is a fitting nomination for the athlete’s impact on the sport.
Baker was equally thrilled for the Award, thanking all those who paved the way for his success and allowed him to set benchmarks worthy of the best Sevens Series legacies.
As the World Rugby Awards in Monaco see the highlights of another season rewarded, the USA Men’s and Women’s Eagles Sevens embark on the next stop of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2019.
Fans anxious to see Baker open a new season should tune into the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens where the athlete will once again be available for selection. As the start to the men’s Olympic qualifying year — with the women’s already one stop into their Olympic qualifying season — Dubai Sevens will most certainly unearth a thrilling energy from teams alike.
The competition takes place Nov. 30-Dec. 1 with broadcast info updated closer to date.
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And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.