Shiny happy hooker: Showing off his fancy new paperweight is Aviva Premiership Player of the Season Tom Youngs

By Alan Dymock

IT IS awards season and whether you agree with the esteemed panels or punters’ votes, there are a few players carrying off more gongs than Daniel Day Lewis.

Ulster’s Nick Williams was the talk of the Celts, with the brutish No 8 claiming the RaboDirect Pro12 players’ Player of the Season as well as the same award from the Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association, a fillip for the wrecking-ball breakaway before tonight’s Pro12 semi-final against Scarlets.

Colour clash of the Titan: Osprey Justin Tipuric

Another double winner was Ospreys and Wales flanker Justin Tipuric, who went home with the Players’ Player and Young Player award after the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association dinner following an impressive season in which he displaced Sam Warburton on the Welsh openside and posted imperious displays against the likes of England.

The theme at these events seemed to be one of youth or at least change, though. At the Aviva Premiership dinner Leicester, England and now Lions hooker Tom Youngs took the top honour as Player of the Season while Joe Launchbury was their equivalent of Young Player of the Year. Freddie Burns won their golden boot.

At the Pro12’s gala event scrubbed-up youngsters were claiming silver as Luke Marshall was named Young Player of the Season while Ian Madigan claimed the golden boot.

Connacht’s 19-year-old full-back/centre Robbie Henshaw was also recognised for his contributions this season, winning the IRUPA’s inaugural Nevin Spence
Young Player of the Season award.

Here are the awards handed out so far as the season reaches its climax:

Aviva Premiership awards

Player of the season – Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Discovery of the season –
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Director of the season –
Mark McCall (Saracens)
Golden boot
– Freddie Burns (Gloucester)
Try of the season
– Dan Bowden (Leicester Tigers v Saracens)

RaboDirect Pro12 awards
Players’ player of the season – Nick Williams (Ulster)
Young player of the season
– Luke Marshall (Ulster)
Coach of the season
– Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors)
Golden boot
– Ian Madigan (Leinster)
Try of the season
– Andrew Trimble (Ulster v Connacht)

WRPA awards
Players’ player of the season
– Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
Young player of the season
– Justin Tipuric
Try of the season
– Ryan Bevington (Ospreys v Ulster)

IRUPA awards
Player of the season
– Nick Williams
Young player of the season
– Robbie Henshaw
Try of the season
– Craig Gilroy (Ireland v Argentina)