Bath Rugby Academy star Ollie Devoto returned to Sherborne RFC last night to present the club with a £1,000 donation which he received as a result of winning the 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player award.
Designed to recognise the next generation of young players competing in the competition, the LV= Breakthrough Player Award was this year presented to Devoto following his outstanding performances throughout all four pool stages. Like 2013 winner Jack Nowell, Devoto recorded the most impressive statistics, provided by Opta, of any back in the competition during the pool stages.
As part of the prize for winning the award, Devoto was able to choose a grassroots club of his choice to receive a £1,000 donation from LV= as part of the tournament sponsors' commitment to fostering the development of future rugby stars. The Yeovil-born utility back selected Sherborne RFC as the recipients of the donation; a club that developed him through age grade rugby and where his father still coaches.
"Sherborne RFC have been a huge part of my life since I was a boy, and it's here that my love of rugby came from," said Devoto. "They've always been hugely supportive of my career, and still bring groups of kids to come and watch me play for Bath, so to be able to give something back to them that will benefit them so much is great."
James Gower, Head of Rugby at Sherborne, added: "Ollie is a real credit to the club, and we're delighted for him to see how his career has taken off in the last couple of years. It's great to have him back here doing a bit of a coaching with the kids – I've no doubt they'll learn a lot from him. To have this funding is a big boost to us and we're really grateful Ollie chose to come back to us – it's going straight in the pot to help towards our clubhouse refurbishments!"
Despite his young age, 20-year-old Devoto has already made a big impression for Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground with a series of accomplished performances in the LV= Cup. In attack he made 67 metres from 23 carries, proving his ability to beat defenders (four) and bring teammates into play (five offloads) in the process. A tackle success rate of 90% showed his strength in defence and paired with three turnovers won, it's clear to see why the utility back was named this season's LV= Breakthrough Player.
"We're obviously delighted for Ollie that he won and has the chance to give something back to Sherborne," commented Bath Rugby Head Coach Mike Ford. "He's really worked hard at developing his game over the last two seasons and, if he keeps going the way he is, he has a bright future ahead of him."