The Aviva Premiership's 'alternative' awards
May 10, 2013
Sarra chats to Freddie Burns - her favourite interviewee of the season
Well it is that time of year again - when the great and the good of English rugby gather in London for the Aviva Premiership Awards. So I have drawn draw up a list of random (very random) 'alternative' awards based on my experiences this season - where instead of the rugby, important matters such as hairstyles, dance moves and pre-match interviewees are honoured!
Before we begin formal proceedings, let me start by saying - what a great Premiership season it's been! We have witnessed some fantastic games, seen some great tries, experienced young talent emerging and once again the buzz and excitement that surrounds this league has been clear for all to see.
From a personal point of view I would like to thank the clubs for allowing us such great access to their most prized possessions! It has gone further than just a five minute interview with a player or coach on a press day, we've had some great fun on my midweek travels this season with the players happy to spend their days off filming with us, travelling to locations and chatting openly about all things rugby.
It is great for us as fans to see the players in a different light - taking them out of their rugby surrounding and getting to know them as people. There is a hash tag that has been widely used this season on Twitter - "Rugbyfamily" - and thanks to TV coverage, the clubs and players' co-operation I hope everyone has felt included in that family this term.
And on that note, here are my 'alternative' Premiership awards for this season.
Best Club Hairdresser: Harlequins
No one came close to Quins in this category this season! They are truly 'untouchable' when it comes to the 'most creative with clippers and hair clay'! We only have to look at Joe Marler - the king of 'wacky' doos, Ugo Monye and Danny Care who are both fashion-forward in the hairstyle stakes and then Luke Wallace who's tussled locks must need a lot of TLC!
Best answer to a pre-match question: Alex Sanderson (Saracens)
Pre -match interviews are usually quite serious affairs despite my random efforts at times to jazz them up a little! But I questioned Alex early on this season season on Saracens' style of play, their lack of tries and sparse creative flair. His answer was simple, to the point - and raised a little smile.
Alex: "Sarra, to quote the immortal words of Woody Harrison in the film 'White Men Can't Jump' - we'd rather be a team that looks bad and wins than a team that looks good and loses."
Best Dancer: Billy Vunipola (Wasps)
Only one winner here! I will be eternally thankful to Billy for teaching a 33-year-old mother of two how to 'Dougie'. A little bird told me that Billy was a nifty dancer - now, being married to a former rugby player, having 'rugby player' friends and having worked alongside them for the last six years, I can tell you that rugby players aren't necessarily known for busting moves on the dance floor - that is, unless you are Billy Vunipola!!! He danced in our midweek shoot and then when I asked him to do a celebratory "dougie" as the winning Man-of-the-Match after a game at Adams Park, he did!
Most honest (and not afraid to embarrass the interviewer award): Marland Yarde (London Irish)
Although this is actually one of my most embarrassing moments of the season - I will share it with you anyway! I sat to interview Marland pitch side at their Sunbury training base. I had done the normal checks - sorted out my bouffant, applied lip-gloss and the necessary amount of mascara. So we started the interview, I asked the first question and was nodding and smiling politely at his reply when suddenly he started giggling and loosing his train of thought. With that he turned and said….
Marland: "Sorry Sarra it's putting me off a little"
Best Gaff: Bath Rugby HQ - Farleigh House
Wow, what a place. Imagine a beautiful stately home, with the best training facilities and immaculate training pitches - all located in spectacular serene surroundings. Now you have some sort of idea how great this place is!
Sarra visits Bath
Most embarrassing confession: Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
I really enjoyed interviewing Tom and Ben Youngs together recently, they are such great lads. Tom stitched his brother up by telling us a story about Ben (when he was 11) wanting to go to the toilet before a race at school and not actually having time to get there before the race started. So he held it in…which subsequently led to him having an 'accident' during the race!
Best Commentary: Nick Mullins
While watching Exeter Chiefs' lock Damien Welch score against London Wasps at Adams Park, Nick said: "There he goes like a giraffe on steroids!" Now, I have never seen what a giraffe on steroids looks like but am more than happy to take Nick's word for it .
Best day trip: Joel Tomkins (Saracens)
Now we've had some great days out this season with some of the Premiership's stars and I really have enjoyed them all: Thorpe park with Chris Ashton, clay pigeon shooting with some of the Wasps lads, a snooker hall with Ben Morgan to name but a few, but one of our favourite day trips was to Wigan (yes you heard me right!) with Joel Tomkins! It was great being showing around his old haunts, meeting his family and eating pies! I was not a pie lover before the trip - but I've been converted!!
Most entertaining interviewee: Freddie Burns
What a character - I cannot tell you how funny this guy is. He had us all in stiches for the entire duration of the interview - showing us pictures of his mum doing push ups, embarrassing family videos, saying something which then followed with a "I can't say that on camera mind"….then proceeding to do so anyway ! He is one of those guys that can laugh at himself as well as others and he really is a joy to chat to.
My list of categories could go on and on because I will remember this season not only for the great rugby we have witnessed but for all the great characters we are so very lucky to have in the game we love. And thank goodness for them! # rugbyfamily
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Sarra Elgan is a roving reporter for ESPN
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength