The shortlist for the 2016/17 Land Rover Discovery of the Season award has been announced, and features some of the most exciting young players in the country.
Five of the six players will be involved with the senior England capacity in one form or another over the next few weeks, while another, Bath number 8 Zach Mercer, will be leading England U20 in the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia.
Mercer’s Bath teammate, Tom Ellis, formerly of Millfield School, is also nominated, he will link up with England tomorrow to prepare for the game against the Barbarians.
Alongside those two are four players who will your Argentina with the England senior side, Ellis Genge of Leicester Tigers, Harlequins Joe Marchant, a winner of last year’s World Rugby U20 Championship, Exeter Chiefs scrum half Jack Maunder, who is eligible for this year’s World Rugby U20s, and Sale’s cross-code convert, Denny Solomona.
Land Rover Ambassador David Flatman complied the shortlist alongside Tom Hamilton, Emma Thurston, Mike Hynard, Gavin Mairs, and Alex Lowe, with Paul Morgan chairing. Commenting on the shortlist, Flatman said:
“This shortlist shows the quality of players coming through the ranks for their Premiership Rugby clubs, 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.”
The award is only available for players who were U23 on 16th Octover 2015 and who have played at least 6 Aviva Premiership games this season without making their Test Debut. Previous winners include Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola, and Owen Farrell, all of whom are touring with the British and Irish Lions this summer, as well as stars of the game such as Joe Launchbury, Manu Tuilagi, and Danny Cipriani.
Land Rover Discovery of the Season Shortlist:
Tom Ellis (Bath)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
Jack Maunder (Exeter Chiefs)
Zach Mercer (Bath)
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
2016 Maro Itoje (Saracens)
2015 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
2014 Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
2013 Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
2012 Owen Farrell (Saracens)
2011 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
2010 Ben Youngs, (Leicester Tigers)
2009 Jordan Turner-Hall (Harlequins)
2008 Danny Cipriani (Wasps)
2007 Tom Rees (Wasps)
2006 Tom Varndell (Leicester Tigers)
2005 Ollie Smith (Leicester Tigers)