Gopperth cleans up at Premiership awards

Jimmy Gopperth has swept the board in English rugby’s top awards by being named the Aviva Premiership player of the season.

The Kiwi playmaker added the prestigious Premiership crown to his player of the season gongs from both Wasps and the Rugby Players’ Association.

The 33-year-old also collected two more trophies at the Premiership’s annual awards ceremony in London on Wednesday — taking home silverware for the golden boot and also the try of the season.

Gopperth helped Wasps finish top of the Premiership’s regular-season table for the first time, and will be itching for Dai Young’s side to see off Leicester in Saturday’s hotly-anticipated semifinal clash at the Ricoh Arena.

“It’s difficult to put into words just how valuable Jimmy has been for our squad, both on and off the pitch,” said Wasps rugby director Young.

“We all know he is a quality fly-half, but his ability to play 10, 12, 13 and even a couple of games at full-back for us this season has really helped the side.

“Jimmy always puts the team before himself and he’s always played at a very high standard in every position he’s played.

“He’s a real club man and a quality player who deserves all the accolades he’s got this season. He’s also one of the most modest guys you could meet, really hard-working and a real leader around the camp.

“The team is the most important thing to him and he’s a role model to the younger guys coming through. We’re really pleased for Jimmy and he thoroughly deserves all the awards he’s won.”

Gopperth’s 221 points off the tee secured the ex-Leinster star the Gilbert Golden Boot Award, while he was also honoured for his try in Wasps’ 20-15 win at Northampton in September.

Gopperth capped a field-length break, launched by Joe Simpson passing blind from a five-metre scrum and Danny Cipriani recovering a cute grubber to sneak Wasps out of their own 22.

Wasps’ recognition hardly stopped at Gopperth’s stunning haul however, with boss Young landing the director of rugby of the season award – and Christian Wade taking home the leading try-scorer trophy for his regular campaign haul of 17 scores.

“I’m delighted for Dai that he has been given this award,” said Premiership Rugby’s director of rugby Phil Winstanley.

“He has been at Wasps since 2011 and has seen some difficult times but has been at the forefront of guiding the club through these.

“He has built a fantastic squad over the past couple of seasons following the move to the Ricoh Arena and has developed an extremely entertaining and exciting style of play.

“The Wasps performances this season have produced the most tries in the competition and they’ve been great to watch. He’s a great character for us to have in the competition and very deserving of this accolade.”

Leicester Tigers’ England prop Ellis Genge claimed the Land Rover Discovery of the season award, while Exeter’s Sam Simmonds took the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s player of the tournament.

Worcester fullback Chris Pennell was named Aviva Community player of the season, while Harriet Millar-Mills claimed the women’s Premiership players’ player of the year award for the second season.

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