Quins trio on awards shortlist

Kingston Guardian: Chris Robshaw Chris Robshaw

England captain Chris Robshaw and his Harlequins team-mate Mike Brown have both been nominated for the Aviva Premiership player of the season award.

And with Harlequins sitting top of the table heading into the final round of regular-season matches, Conor O'Shea has been shortlisted in the QBE director of rugby category.

Robshaw and Brown are joined on the player of the year shortlist by Exeter flanker James Scaysbrook, Leicester flanker Julian Salvi, Saracens centre Brad Barritt and Gloucester prop Nick Wood.

"The panel has come up with an incredibly impressive shortlist, which reflects the strength of Aviva Premiership Rugby," said Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty. "It's great to see players who have emerged from our academies in what is undoubtedly a world-class list of players.

"It will be a tough job picking the winner as clearly all six would be a worthy Aviva Premiership Rugby player of the season."

Harlequins have been the Premiership pacesetters for most of the season, playing an exciting brand of rugby with a squad boasting the largest English representation of any in the league.

O'Shea is up against Leicester boss Richard Cockerill and Exeter's Rob Baxter, who has guided the Chiefs into the Heineken Cup in only their second season in the Premiership.

Things could get better still for Exeter, who are still in the hunt for the last semi-final place going into the final round of matches.

Leicester were hit hard by World Cup absentees but they have recovered from a slow start to the season to close to within a point of Harlequins following Saturday's thrilling 43-33 victory at The Stoop.

Quins and Leicester are in pole position for home semi-finals with defending champions Saracens third and Northampton, led by last year's award winner Jim Mallinder, now in fourth following their win against Exeter at the weekend.

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