The best young players in English rugby have been shortlisted for the prestigious Land Rover Discovery of the Season award it was confirmed today.
The winner, who receives a Land Rover Discovery 4 for a year, will be announced on 8 May at the sold out Aviva Premiership Awards, at The London Hilton, on Park Lane.The Awards night will be shown on ESPN at 9pm on 9 May.
Even though London Wasps are at the wrong end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table their Academy has shone through this season and they lead the shortlist with two players – Christian Wade and Joe Launchbury.
Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens are represented by Owen Farrell – who was on the Land Rover Discovery of the Season shortlist last year – alongside London Irish’s Jonathan Joseph, Worcester Warriors’ back rower Matt Kvesic and Harlequins flanker Luke Wallace.
All six players have had impressive seasons in Aviva Premiership Rugby and their abilities have been recognised by a panel comprising of Land Rover ambassador and Rugby World Cup winner, Josh Lewsey, Sam Peters from the Mail on Sunday, Alastair Eykyn from 5 Live, Alex Lowe from the Press Association and Corin Palmer (Premiership Rugby’s Head of Academies and Development). They were joined by Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director) who chaired the panel.
“The Academies at the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs are clearly doing a great job as this current crop of young players are very impressive,” said Lewsey.
“There is real quality coming through the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs when we’ve had several years of England underachieving. Now you can see an England squad with players who are genuinely enjoying being part of the set-up which obviously bodes well.
“England’s new head coach Stuart Lancaster has instilled the correct culture for which they know that if they perform both on and importantly off the field, they will get their chance. All six of these young men epitomise that value set .
“The shortlist gives us a huge range of players from gun dogs like Matt Kvesic, nuggety players like Luke Wallace and the obvious mental fortitude of a guy like Owen Farrell. London Irish’s Jonathan Joseph has also impressed me and of course – although it wasn’t all my choice – I was delighted to see two players from London Wasps make the shortlist, after performing as they have, in adversity.”
To be eligible for the award players have to be 21 or younger on the day of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final, on 26 May, and have played seven or more Aviva Premiership Rugby matches in the 2011-12 season.
Land Rover Discovery of the Season 2011-12 Shortlist:
Luke Wallace (Harlequins)
Christian Wade (London Wasps)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Matt Kvesic (Worcester Warriors)
Jonathan Joseph (London Irish)
2011 – Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
2010 – Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
2009 – Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
2008 – Danny Cipriani (London Wasps)
2007 – Tom Rees (London Wasps)