Gloucester Rugby’s Jamal Ford-Robinson has today been acclaimed as a “one-man lifter of spirits” on being named the first-ever Gallagher Community Player of the Month.
With Gallagher Premiership Rugby currently suspended, our expert judging panel didn’t have any on-pitch action to select their Gallagher Premiership Rugby ‘Player of the Month’ for March based on normal performance criteria. But there’s certainly been no shortage of inspiring social and community stories emerging across the country during lockdown.
So, together with Premiership Rugby, we renamed this award the Gallagher Community Player of the Month – to find and applaud the Premiership player who has had the made the biggest social contribution to their local community in March.
Countless nominations produced a 12-strong shortlist of inspiring stories that Gallagher and Premiership Rugby then put to the public vote.
And Jamal emerged as the winner from a fans’ poll on the Premiership Rugby app which drew more than 5,000 votes as supporters applauded the individual actions of their players who have been delivering real and meaningful difference across the country.
The Gloucester Rugby prop self-produced a series of hilarious and uplifting videos through his social media accounts in March, capturing the imagination of fans across the country, boosting morale and giving his followers a much-needed lift.
Leading the praise for his exploits was Gallagher ambassador and Rugby World Cup winner, Nolli Waterman who said: “At a time when we were all having to meet the many challenges associated with lockdown and the new reality of social isolation, Jamal and his hilarious homemade videos quickly became an unmissable daily feature on social media – a real one-man lifter of spirits, smile-spreader and day-brightener throughout the rugby community.
“Laughter is a powerful force that brings us all together, even when we are forced to be apart, and let’s just say Jamal’s Whitney impression is definitely a case of once seen, never unseen!”
With a player from each Premiership Rugby team shortlisted for this new award, Jamal emerged just ahead of Bristol Bears’ Callum Sheedy and Northampton Saints’ Courtney Lawes. In addition to sending Jamal his trophy, Gallagher will be making a donation to his local NHS Trust and sending a shirt signed by all the players from Gloucester Rugby to the local charity of community of his choice.
Former England star Waterman added: “Jamal’s infectious positivity and efforts to entertain make him a worthy and popular winner of our first Gallagher Community Player of the Month award, as we look to recognise players’ off-pitch performance while play itself has to pause. As one of his countless nominators put it: Jamal has been superb – a credit to himself, his sport and his club.
“I also want to take this opportunity to applaud all 12 nominated finalists across the Gallagher Premiership.
“From powerful community outreach programmes - such as #MakeThatCall #LockdownLetters and deliveries for housebound fans - to bite-sized fitness-for-all and ongoing engagement with local charities, the month of March has been marked with some amazing social contributions from our players. Never has the rugby community felt stronger, more connected and collaborative.”