The Springboks star affectionately known as André the Giant made an impressive impact on Gallagher Premiership Rugby last month according to BT Sport pundit and Gallagher ambassador, Ugo Monye.
Monye said: "He can do everything, quite simply. We often focus on the obvious things. Ball carrying, brilliant. Defending, great. Work at the breakdown and work off the ball is exceptional.
“He possesses all the core attributes you would want of a highly skilled and destructive centre. He’s got a brilliant left boot. He kicked for goal earlier in the season against Wasps so he’s got that in his locker and he’s got a passing range that most centres would be envious of. Harlequins are really fortunate to have him in their team and to have him sign for another few years.
“Although these are hotly contested every month, I think when you win three back-to-back player of the match awards, it’s almost a rite of passage. He’s been exceptional and also so pivotal to not only how Harlequins play but also how they’ve won their matches during that period.
“Whether it’s last gasp tries against last year’s beaten finalists Exeter Chiefs a few weeks ago, to the performance he put in in the Big Game, he’s just been outstanding.”
Ruan Ackermann was second in this month’s poll with Wasps back-row Brad Shields third.
Harlequins continue their battle for a top-four spot this month and Monye believes that Esterhuizen will be crucial in their quest for a place in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby semi-finals.
Monye adds: "This Six Nations period is a time when squads get tested and Esterhuizen is an international in the prime of his career. To be able to have someone like him, a consistent performer, is really significant. He is a titanic player and not just in stature, that will aid Harlequins to position themselves by the end of this international window to go on a run similar to the one they made last year which will hopefully enable them to qualify for the top four.”
Michael Rea, CEO of Gallagher’s UK Retail division, said: “It’s fantastic to see André voted Player of the Month for January in Gallagher Premiership Rugby. He’s a huge talent at the club, giving his all in every match.
“Undoubtedly, André has been playing some of his very best rugby in recent months, with outstanding performances drawing widespread post-match praise and earning him three man of the match accolades in a row. Combining power with sharp passing and disruptive defence, he has created a number of showstopper moments for fans at the Stoop this season. Congratulations André – a very worthy winner.”
As part of his prize for being named Gallagher Player of the Month, Esterhuizen wins a shirt signed by the whole Harlequins squad and framed by Gallagher to gift to a charity of his choice, to help them raise funds for their chosen cause.
Esterhuizen was judged by a panel of experts as the player who made the biggest impact in Gallagher Premiership Rugby in January 2022.
Esterhuizen was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in January 2022, alongside a public poll on the Premiership Rugby app, which drew more than 500 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
- January - André Esterhuizen (Harlequins)
- December – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
- November – Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
- October – George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
- September – Adam Radwan (Newcastle Falcons)
Winners in the 2020-21 season
- May – Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
- April – Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
- March – Danny Care (Harlequins)
- February – Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
- January – Piers O’Conor (Bristol Bears)
- December – Alfie Barbeary (Wasps)
- November – Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Winners in the 2019-20 season
- August – Jack Willis (Wasps)
- May – Paul Hill and Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)*
- April – Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)*
- March – Jamal Ford-Robinson (Gloucester Rugby)*
- February – Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears)
- January – Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
- December - Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester Rugby)
- November – Tom O’Flaherty (Exeter Chiefs)
* Gallagher ran public polls while play was suspended to nominate a ‘Community Player of the Month’ in recognition of inspiring off-pitch performances made by players during lockdown to support their local communities and boost the morale of the wider rugby community.
Winners in the 2018-19 season
- April – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
- March – Santiago Cordero (Exeter Chiefs)
- February – Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints)
- December – Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints)
- November – Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)
- October – Alex Goode (Saracens)
- September – Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby)
Winners in the 2017-18 season
- April – Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons)
- March – Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
- February – Jack Willis (Wasps)
- December – Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors)
- November – Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester Rugby)
- October – Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
- September – Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Winners in the 2016-17 season
- April – Taulupe Faletau (Bath Rugby)
- March – Christian Wade (Wasps)
- February – James Short (Exeter Chiefs)
- December – Tom Varndell (Bristol Rugby)
- November – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers)
- October – Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
- September – Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps)
Winners in the 2015-16 season
- April – Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
- March – Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
- February – George Smith (Wasps)
- January – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
- December – Maro Itoje (Saracens)
- November – Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
- October – Nick Evans (Harlequins)
Winners in the 2014-15 season
- April – Joe Simpson (Wasps)
- March – Elliot Daly (Wasps)
- February – Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
- January – Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
- December – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
- November – Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs)
- October – Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby)
- September – Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby)
Winners in the 2013-14 season
- April – Chris Ashton (Saracens)
- March – Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
- February – Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers)
- January – Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
- December – Nick Easter (Harlequins)
- November - George Ford (Bath Rugby)
- October – Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
- September – Jacques Burger (Saracens)