29 April 2014, 9:04am
Young Bath Rugby stars George Ford and Anthony Watson have been shortlisted for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award.
Premiership Rugby today confirmed the nominees – which also include one player each from Northampton Saints, Saracens, Leicester Tigers and Gloucester Rugby – who have emerged in the race to find the best Under-23 player in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Bath Rugby is the only side to have more than one player included in the shortlist, with the 2013-14 season proving to be a stellar campaign for young players in the league 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 English 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 English players of even higher quality breaking through over the coming years."
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.
In recognition of the achievement, the winning player will have the opportunity to become a Land Rover ambassador for the 2014/15 season.