Premiership Rugby today confirmed that six of the brightest young rugby talents have been shortlisted for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award.
Two players from Bath Rugby and one each from Northampton Saints, Saracens, Leicester Tigers and Gloucester Rugby have emerged in the race to find the best Under-23 player in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
The 2013-14 season has been a stellar campaign for young players in Aviva Premiership Rugby as the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 continues.
The full Land Rover Discovery of The Season shortlist is:
- Jamie Elliott – Northampton Saints
- George Ford – Bath Rugby
- Elliott Stooke – Gloucester Rugby
- Billy Vunipola – Saracens
- Anthony Watson – Bath Rugby
- Owen Williams – Leicester Tigers
The winner will be announced at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the London Hilton, Park Lane on 15 May.
“The 2013-14 campaign has been a remarkable season for the emergence of quality, young players into Aviva Premiership Rugby,” said Mike Hynard Premiership Rugby’s Head of Academies and Development.
“More academy graduates are breaking through into Aviva Premiership Rugby sides every season. The result of this is an England squad that gets younger and younger, with the likes of Jack Nowell and George Ford now getting opportunities on the international stage. This is a direct result of the expertise, hard work and increasing investment into the Premiership Rugby clubs’ academy programmes.
“The academy programmes are better staffed with quality coaches to ensure a more efficient and effective talent identification and player development system that maximises the potential of the talent within it.
“I have no doubt that Aviva Premiership Rugby will see more young players of even higher quality breaking through over the coming years.”
The Land Rover Discovery of The Season award is designed to recognise the most impressive young players in the Aviva Premiership Rugby each season and reward them for their outstanding contribution to the competition.
The winner will follow in the footsteps of some special talents; previous winners have included Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi with Joe Launchbury claiming the prize last year.
To celebrate the player’s achievement, they will have the opportunity to become a Land Rover ambassador, for the 2014/15 season.
The shortlist was compiled by a panel of media professionals – Sonja McLaughlan (BBC 5 Live), Hugh Godwin (Independent), Tom Hamilton (EPSN Scrum.com) along with Mike Hynard (Premiership Rugby’s Head of Academies and Development). Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director chaired the panel.
- 2012-13: Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
- 2011-12: Owen Farrell (Saracens)
- 2010-11: Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
- 2009-10: Ben Youngs, (Leicester Tigers)
- 2008-9: Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
- 2007-8: Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
- 2006-7: Tom Rees (London Wasps)
- 2005-6: Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)
- 2004-5: Ollie Smith, (Leicester Tigers)