SALE SHARKS are flying high in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and one of the players who has been instrumental in their rise, Rob du Preez has today been named Gallagher Player of the Month for December 2022.

Du Preez, the top scorer in Gallagher Premiership Rugby, with 133 points to his name was today acclaimed by BT Sport pundit and Gallagher ambassador, Ugo Monye.

Monye said: "Sale Sharks have been putting in rounded team performances, the most I have seen from Sharks in quite a long while, and of course, Rob has been crucial to that.

"He has been really commanding, leading with his actions on the pitch whether it has been gameplay, control, goal kicking, his all-round game has been fantastic in December.

"He has added some really impressive try-scoring form of late whether that be in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby or Europe. Sharks are sat there in second in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and really playing in quite a groove.

"They could still chase down Saracens in the top spot, and they have given themselves a buffer because they have beaten teams up and down the league as well as the ones around them.

"So, that result at the weekend getting five points and denying Harlequins anything shows that they can get points off teams that are targeting those top two spots."

Gallagher Premiership Rugby

Andy Newby, (above with Rob), Sales Director at Gallagher, who presented the award said: “We are delighted to present the award for Gallagher Player of the Month to Rob for his performance in December. The Sharks have now established a good distance between them and Harlequins in third place and Rob has played a key role in helping them achieve this.

“Drawing on his international experience he has become a key member of Alex Sanderson’s squad and will continue to play a pivotal role in the team’s success during the rest of Gallagher Premiership Rugby this season.”

Saracens outside-half Owen Farrell was the runner-up this month with London Irish's Ollie Hassell-Collins third. Monye is delighted to see the way the Sharks are not only performing on the pitch but off it.

He added: "They sold out their last game at the AJ Bell, so it is not just what the team is doing but the community is getting really excited about what they have up there.

"It says a lot about the side that Alex is building up there, you can often see the personality of a director of rugby run right throughout the team and Alex as a player and a coach is very detailed around the fundamentals of the game.

"He respects the fundamentals and so does the team, they are a hard-working side with the best defence in the league and they have layered some great attack on top of that.

"They are the attributes that you need to be really competitive, so it is no surprise that they are sat where they are."

As part of his prize for being named Gallagher Player of the Month, Du Preez wins a shirt signed by the whole Sale Sharks squad and framed by Gallagher to gift to a charity of his choice, to help raise funds for its chosen cause.

Du Preez was voted for by a panel of media professionals based on his performances in December 2022, alongside a public poll on the Premiership Rugby app. The judges were: Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Alex Lowe (The Times) Hugh Godwin (I), Andrew Baldock (Press Association), John Everly (Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle) Jill Douglas (Broadcaster), Craig Swayne (The Good, The Bad and The Rugby), 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 2022-23 season

December - Rob du Preez (Sale Sharks)
November – Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)
October – Alex Goode (Saracens)
September – Theo McFarland (Saracens)

Winners in the 2021-22 season

March - George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons)
February – Freddie Burns (Leicester Tigers) 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) )