By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs winger Olly Woodburn is among a six-strong shortlist who will be battling it out tomorrow night to be crowned the the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season.
Woodburn has enjoyed a stellar season in Exeter colours, featuring prominently during a campaign in which the Devon club finished level on 84 points with table-topping Wasps at the end of the scheduled season.
The 25-year-old, who has scored 11 tries in 25 appearances this term, was recently crowned both the club’s Player of the Year, as well as the Supporters’ Club Player of the Year.
Now, he will be hoping to add the prize of the Premiership’s top player to his tally.
Teams who feature in this Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals dominate the list with Newcastle Falcons’ Mark Wilson and Northampton Saints’ Louis Picamoles the only players to appear from sides outside of the top four.
The line-up contains two Wasps’ players Jimmy Gopperth and Joe Launchbury, Saracens back-row forward Michael Rhodes, as well as Woodburn himself.
The shortlist is:
• Jimmy Gopperth, Wasps
• Joe Launchbury, Wasps
• Louis Picamoles, Northampton Saints
• Michael Rhodes, Saracens
• Mark Wilson, Newcastle Falcons
• Olly Woodburn, Exeter Chiefs
The shortlist was compiled by a panel of media professionals – Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), Ben Coles (Planet Rugby), Jill Douglas (Freelance), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Alex Lowe (The Times), Nick Purewal (Press Association), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Jonny Fordham (The Sun), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), and Nick Mullins (BT Sport). They were joined by Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director) who chaired the panel.
The winner will rub shoulders with the biggest names in English rugby at a glittering ceremony at the Lancaster London Hotel tomorrow presented by BT Sport’s Craig Doyle.
Along with the winner of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season, the winners of the following awards will also be announced:
• Aviva Community Player of the Season
• BT Sport Dream Team
• Citizen Try of the Season
• Gilbert Golden Boot
• Land Rover Discovery of the Season
• 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
* The winners will be announced first on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #AvivaPremAwards to join the conversation.
2015-16: Alex Goode (Saracens)
2014-15: George Ford (Bath Rugby)
2013-14: Mike Brown (Harlequins)
2012-13: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
2011-12: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2010-11: Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
2009-10: Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
2008-09: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2007-08: James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
2006-07: Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers)
2005-06: Mike Catt (London Irish)
2004-05: Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)