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Scrum Sevens
The magnificent seven
ESPNscrum Staff
May 2, 2012
England openside flanker Chris Robshaw gives the thumbs up, Italy v England, Six Nations, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy, February 11, 2012
It has been Chris Robshaw's season © Getty Images
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ESPNscrum's XV of the Season

  • Mike Brown (Harlequins), Horacio Agulla (Leicester), George Pisi (Northampton), Anthony Allen (Leicester), Christian Wade (Wasps), Nick Evans (Harlequins), Haydn Thomas (Exeter); Marcos Ayerza (Leicester), Rob Hawkins (Leicester), Carlos Nieto (Saracens), George Robson (Harlequins), Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Steve Mafi (Leicester), James Scaysbrook (Exeter), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)

With the Aviva Premiership building to a dramatic climax, this week's Scrum Sevens hands out some awards to those who have shone this season - and others who have not quite covered themselves in glory.

Player of the Season
In what has been another remarkable season for the Aviva Premiership there are many candidates who could lay claim to the award. At the foot of the table, Jimmy Gopperth has kept the Falcons within touching distance of the rest of the pack with another display of assured kicking and solid game-management. Rising up the table, Nick Wood has been impressive at Gloucester while Matt Garvey has been huge for London Irish. In the play-off mix, the likes of James Scaysbrook, Haydn Thomas, Brad Barritt, Anthony Allen, George Pisi and Mike Brown have all had huge seasons. But there's only one man for this award, it has been Chris Robshaw's season.

Whether Quins will end the campaign with the silverware remains to be seen but Robshaw has been a colossus for them on and off the field. Captaining England aside, his club form has been constantly impressive and he was a key part of their 14-game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign.

Director of Rugby of the Season
Conor O'Shea and Richard Cockerill have both stood out in this field over the past season. Harlequins have been a near-constant feature at the top of the table since the opening round of action while Leicester Tigers endured a torrid start to the season only to re-find their snarling best once their Rugby World Cup players had returned.

But like last season, the award goes to Exeter's Rob Baxter. It has been another remarkable campaign for the Devon side with Baxter's charges laughing in the face of those who suggested last summer that they would suffer the dreaded 'difficult second season'. Far from it, they've got better. A spot in next season's Heineken Cup is secure and although the odds are stacked against them, the fact that they are still in contention for a play-off spot is testament to Baxter's hard work.

Young Player of the Season
Wasps flyer Christian Wade is definitely in the mix for this accolade as are fly-half duo George Ford and Tom Heathcote. Jonathan Joseph has also been in great form for London Irish while Joe Launchbury has been fantastic for Wasps. But similar to Baxter, it has to be given to the same man who scooped it last season - Owen Farrell.

Showing maturity beyond his tender years, Farrell looks set for a bright future for both club and country. Harking back to the start of the season, he kicked the last-minute penalty to down Bath while also turning in a hugely impressive showing against Leicester as Sarries ran out 50-25 victors. In the ensuing months Farrell has played in five Six Nations matches, tamed the cauldron that is the Stade de France and could potentially lift his second Premiership title in as many seasons - not bad for someone who is still only 20.

Try of the Season
We can't pick between these two phenomenal scores - which both occurred in the same match - so let us know which you prefer on our Facebook page.

Jonny May's stunning solo effort against Harlequins

Ross Chisholm scores an incredible try of his own

Game of the Season
It was one of the most hotly anticipated match-ups of the campaign and it did not disappoint. In a game of running rugby, clinical finishing and impressive individual performances, there's only one winner for us - Leicester Tigers' triumph at the Stoop against Harlequins on April 22.

Harlequins' epic match against Leicester

Moment of the Season
It's immensely hard to select just one moment from an action-packed eight months of top-flight rugby. Rob Vickers' punch on Joe Marler during the Falcons' 9-9 draw with Harlequins could have robbed the Premiership's bottom side of a valuable four-point win. Then there was Sam Vesty's infamous early try celebration against Wasps. But for us, the moment of the season was the minute Craig Joubert blew the full-time whistle in Eden Park on October 23, 2011, to bring the curtain down on the World Cup.

The tournament's culmination meant that the struggling Tigers would soon have their full array of international stars back at Welford Road. Unsurprisingly, they soon rediscovered their bite and they have been in incredible form ever since. Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi, Martin Castrogiovanni and Marcos Ayerza scored tries to lead them to a key win over Sale as the Tigers began their renaissance, leaving them with a great chance of lifting the Premiership title come May 26.

Villain of the Season
Two of England's brightest talents Danny Care and Chris Ashton hardly covered themselves in glory this season, with Care having numerous brushes with the law before being kicked out of Six Nations contention while Ashton was at the centre of a tug-of-war between Saracens and current side the Saints. And talking of tugs, he also pulled Alesana Tuilagi's hair in their brutal east Midlands showdown back in December.

But, bless him; we have to give the gong to Sam Vesty. The versatile Bath back has been solid all season for the West Country side and he showed his delight at crossing the line for what he thought was going to be their fourth try against Wasps a fortnight ago. But Wasps' Tom Varndell scampered back and made a try-saving tackle to embarrass Vesty and ensure his side escaped with what could be an all-important losing bonus point. It's harsh on Vesty as we are yet to see how big the ramifications are, but it was a monumental cock up and for that, he gets the nod.

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