Shaw scoops top award
May 24, 2004

Wasps and England forward Simon Shaw has been named Zurich Premiership player of the season.

The 30-year-old lock, who played a key role in Wasps' dramatic Heineken Cup final victory over Toulouse at Twickenham on Sunday, was nominated alongside Gloucester centre Henry Paul and Bath second-row Steve Borthwick.

Bath fly-half Olly Barkley took the young player honours, completing a quickfire double following his success at last week's Professional Rugby Players' Association awards ceremony.
And Northampton full-back Bruce Reihana, scorer of 13 Premiership tries this season, won the overseas player award, again completing a Zurich/PRA double after being named players' player of the year.

Bath boss John Connolly was named rugby director of the year, with Gloucester lock Alex Brown winning Premiership try of the season following his touchdown against Leicester in early January.
The Zurich outstanding contribution award for services to rugby, only previously awarded to Jason Leonard, was won by England's triumphant World Cup captain Martin Johnson.

Shaw missed out on selection for England's original World Cup squad last autumn, but he put that crushing disappointment behind him to turn in a succession of outstanding club displays.

His strength and power in a juggernaut Wasps pack proved crucial as they marched towards a Zurich Premiership final place at Twickenham next Saturday, where title rivals Bath await them.

And he is likely to command a Test team starting place when England tour New Zealand and Australia next month.
Barkley, meanwhile, proved the catalyst behind Bath's rise up the Premiership table from relegation candidates last term to championship contenders 12 months on.

And he finished the RBS 6 Nations Championship as England's No 10, producing assured displays against both Wales and France.

Australian Connolly has masterminded Bath's revival, and if they beat Wasps, it will be their first domestic title since a league and cup double-winning campaign of 1996.

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