By Mark Stevens
Jack Maunder will be aiming to become the second Exeter Chiefs player in history to pick up the Land Rover Discovery of the Season prize at the annual Aviva Premiership Awards night.
The talented scrum-half is one of six youngsters who have emerged in the race to recognise the most impressive young players in Premiership Rugby, rewarding them for impressive impact they’ve made on the competition this season.
Maunder will battle it out against players from Bath, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers to claim the prize, which was collected two years by club-mate Henry Slade.
The full Land Rover Discovery of the Season shortlist is:
· Tom Ellis – Bath Rugby
· Ellis Genge – Leicester Tigers
· Joe Marchant – Harlequins
· Jack Maunder – Exeter Chiefs
· Zac Mercer – Bath Rugby
· Denny Solomona – Sale Sharks
“This shortlist shows the quality of players coming through the ranks for their Premiership Rugby clubs,” said David Flatman, Land Rover Ambassador and one of the judges for this season’s award.
“It’s no coincidence that the majority of previous winners have gone on to represent their country; testament not just to their clubs but the players themselves.
“All of the nominees have been catching they eyes of rugby fans all season and are showing themselves to be class acts and deserving of this nomination.”
Players aged under-23 on 16 October 2015 are eligible to win Land Rover Discovery of the Season. The player must have featured in six or more Aviva Premiership Rugby matches in the 2016-17 season and not made their Test debut before May 2016.
The shortlist was compiled by the following panel – David Flatman (Land Rover Ambassador), Tom Hamilton (EPSN Scrum.com), Emma Thurston (Freelance), Mike Hynard (Premiership Rugby Head of Academies and Development), Gavin Mairs (Telegraph), Alex Lowe (The Times). Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director) chaired the panel.
The winner will rub shoulders with the biggest names in English rugby at a glittering ceremony at the London Lancaster Hotel Lane presented by BT Sport’s Craig Doyle on Wednesday 17 May.
Along with the winner of the Land Rover Discovery of the Season, the winners of the following awards will also be announced:
- Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season
- Aviva Community Player of the Season
- BT Sport Dream Team
- Citizen Try of the Season
- Gilbert Golden Boot
- Ricoh Director of Rugby of the Season
- Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Player of the Series
- Trivento Top Try Scorer of the Season
- Women’s Premiership Players’ Player of the Year
To celebrate the player’s achievement, the winner of the Land Rover Discovery of the Season Award will have the opportunity to become a Land Rover Ambassador for the 2017-18 season.
* The winners will be announced first on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #AvivaPremAwards to join the conversation.
2016-17: Maro Itoje (Saracens)
2015-16: Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
2013-14: Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
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