The Leicester Tigers number 8 was picked for December by a panel made up of rugby media representatives from print, TV, radio and the photographers.
Rugby World editor Paul Morgan, who chairs the panel, commented: “Since arriving from New Zealand, Thomas has really lived up to his nickname of ‘The Tank’ marauding around the Aviva Premiership Rugby and contributing to his team’s recent impressive performances. He is world-class in the tight but what sets him apart is his love of the open spaces, where he is a sensational runner, and up there with the most consistent players in Europe. A very well deserved winner.”
The powerful, ball carrying New Zealander renowned for his gutsy displays, has found real success at the base of the scrum playing a pivotal role in the Leicester pack and helping his team climb to the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
Thomas spoke of the pride he felt for being named December’s Player of the Month: “It is very special to win the award,” “It was unexpected but I will definitely take it.
“I feel like I have been playing some good rugby in a team that has been playing some good football and it is nice to get recognised.
“It has been going really well for the team, we have worked hard and when we have had an injury people have stepped up but we know there is a long way to go.”
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “We knew we were signing a very good player when we brought Thomas in during the summer and I’m delighted that he’s settled so well. He has been playing well, he gives us a good balance in the back row, he is enjoying his rugby and his family like it here.”
Heather Smith, Head of Sponsorship for Premiership Rugby sponsors Aviva added: “Thomas’ work ethic and attitude is symptomatic of Leicester Tigers approach to the game. He has been a consistent performer and who strives to give 100% in every match.”