30 January 2012, 2:09pm
Bath Rugby's Olly Woodburn and Tom Heathcote have been nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award, following their impressive performances in this season's LV= Cup.
Both players have had an instrumental part to play in Bath's success so far in the LV= Cup, with the Club currently sitting top of their pool and maximum points taken from all three games. Wing Woodburn has scored a try in each game so far, whilst fly-half Heathcote has scored 27 points throughout the tournament, including a try against Worcester Warriors.
The award, designed to recognise a new player who has stood out in the 2011-12 competition, is backed by England head coach Stuart Lancaster. The group of 20 young players nominated will be whittled down to six by a panel of rugby experts, including Martin Bayfield (ITV), Ieuan Evans (Sky) , Gwyn Jones (S4C), and Gavin Mairs (Telegraph).
The winner will then be chosen by supporters, selecting who they feel has made an outstanding contribution to the competition this season.
The player with the highest number of nominations will receive a Tag Heuer watch plus £1,000 donated to a local grassroots club of their choice and of course, the inaugural LV= Cup Breakthrough Player trophy.
As England head coach Stuart Lancaster comments, the LV= Cup competition provides an excellent breeding ground for academy players to experience first team action.
"It's great to see LV= recognising the talent on offer in this competition through the LV= Breakthrough Player Award. There is a huge wealth of up and coming talent on show in the LV= Cup, and we've seen first-hand some of the exceptional players it has helped produce.
"The panel will have a tough job on their hands selecting the final six, as everyone included in the shortlist deserves recognition of the contribution they have made to their team during the competition. Best of luck to all those nominated!"
The LV= Cup is credited for playing a crucial role in the development of elite players and the introduction of the LV= Breakthrough Player Award aims to recognise and celebrate this talent.
Voting begins on Monday 6 February via LV.com/rugby, and closes at midnight on Sunday 11 March. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 March.
LV= Cup Breakthrough Player 20 shortlist:
Bath Rugby – Olly Woodburn & Tom Heathcote
Saracens – Jamie George
London Wasps – Elliot Daly
Ospreys - Matthew Morgan
London Irish – Jonathan Joseph & Steve Shingler
Leicester Tigers – George Ford & Sam Harrison
Cardiff Blues - Dan Fish
Sale Sharks – Rob Miller
Scarlets - Adam Warren & Liam Williams
Harlequins – Luke Wallace
Newcastle Falcons – Joel Hodgson
Gloucester Rugby – Jonny May
Northampton Saints – Jamie Elliott
Exeter Chiefs - Dave Ewers
Newport Gwent-Dragons - Steffan Jones
Worcester Warriors – Matt Kvesic