19-year old fly-half Matthew Morgan is among 20 playersnamed in the LV= Breakthrough Player shortlist, a new award for this season's LV= Cup designed to recognise a young player who has stood out in the 2011-12 competition.
A 20 strong group of emerging stars will be whittled down to six by a panel of rugby experts: Martin Bayfield (ITV), Ieuan Evans (Sky), Gwyn Jones (S4C) and Gavin Mairs (Telegraph).
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.
The 20 shortlist*, selected by Paul Morgan, now Head of Communications at Premiership Rugby, includes at least one player from all sixteen LV= Cup clubs.
“This list shows the depth of talent in both England and Wales and some of the players who have made a breakthrough in the 2011-12 season,” commented Morgan.
“In compiling this initial list we were spoilt for choice and could have included another 50 players with ease. There is some great talent out there amongst the clubs in the LV= Cup, many of whom came through the clubs’ academies.
“We tried to come up with a list of players, Under-23, who have already had an impact on what has been a fascinating LV= Cup campaign so far. I don’t envy the panel members who now need to bring this long list down to six, and I will be fascinated to see who will win the fans’ vote which follows.”
LV=’s Head of Sponsorship Claire Jeromson also commented: “The 2011-12 LV= Cup has delivered some outstanding matches and we are thrilled to be launching an award that will identify some of the stand out players that have played a huge role in the success of this year’s competition.”
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
The LV= Cup Final is coming to Sixways, Worcester on Sunday, 18 March. Secure your ticket for just £10 with a 2-for-1 offer on the first 1,000 sold for the battle for this season’s first piece of silverware. These tickets will sell fast so book now at 01905 454183 or www.warriors.co.uk.