Gareth Puttock, 25, had just won the Clubman of the Year award at Roundhegians RUFC when he passed away suddenly this month.
The 1st XV player was a popular member of the Roundhay-based club, which he joined after to moving to north Leeds to start a graduate job with Lloyds Banking Group.
Club secretary Mick Mulligan described Gareth, who was originally from Devon, as sociable and well-liked.
"He only moved up about a year ago and straight away he joined his local rugby club. His death has had a big effect on the club. He played every week and was a big part of the social scene.
"He was a young lad and rugby was a big part of his life. He was experienced and had been playing for years, and he was outgoing and popular. He was involved in all the social aspects here, and organised events. Even though he was a new player he was always in the midst of everything.
"The rest of the lads have been really upset by it - it was so unexpected. He went to bed and died in his sleep, he was meant to be going to work the next day but he never woke up. He hadn't been ill so it's been a really big shock."
The club are now planning their own tribute to the second row player.
"We're waiting for details of the funeral, and we've got his photo in the club to remember him by. We've talked about maybe taking a team down to Devon to play his childhood club, Tavistock, in future, but that's tentative at the moment.
"He died just before our end-of-season awards, where he was going to be named Clubman of the Year - because he'd contributed the most to the club. We will still give out that award every year in his memory.
"He was just a very well thought-of lad, very nice and very sociable."
Gareth was a Sheffield Hallam University graduate who had previously played for Hallamshire RUFC in the city.