Premiership Rugby today confirmed the shortlist for Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season.
Three current England players, Jonathan Joseph, Billy Vunipola and George Ford are amongst the five-man shortlist, joined by two from Wasps, Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly who look certain to wear the Red Rose in the coming seasons.
Remarkably Jonathan Joseph, who has his 24th birthday this month, is the oldest of the quintet.
"As in all other seasons, the task of identifying any single individual performer in the Aviva Premiership is a tough one. This year is no different and the panel has identified some outstanding players. What is so striking this year is the relatively young age of these players," said Phil Winstanley, the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby.
"There has been significant investment of time and resource by Premiership Rugby and the RFU, so it isn’t surprising to see so many young, talented English players grace this list alongside Fijian Nathan Hughes."
- Elliot Daly – Wasps
- George Ford – Bath Rugby
- Nathan Hughes – Wasps
- Jonathan Joseph – Bath Rugby
- Billy Vunipola – Saracens
The shortlist was compiled by a panel of media professionals –Ben Coles (Planet Rugby), Mick Cleary (Daily Telegraph), Jill Douglas (Freelance), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Chris Jones (BBC Radio), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Nick Mullins (BT Sport), David Rogers (Getty Images), and Owen Slot (The Times). They were joined by Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby's Communications Director) who chaired the panel.
2013-14: Mike Brown (Harlequins)
2012-13: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
2011-12: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2010-11: Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
2009-10: Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
2008-09: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2007-08: James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
2006-07: Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers)
2005-06: Mike Catt (London Irish)
2004-05: Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)
On 20 May the winners of the following Awards will be announced:
- Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season
- Aviva Community Player of the Season
- BT Sport Aviva Premiership Rugby Dream Team
- Citizen Try of the Season
- Gilbert Golden Boot
- Green Flag Forward of the Season
- Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season
- Land Rover Discovery of the Season
- Trivento Top Try Scorer of the Season
The other shortlists will be announced over the next seven days.
The winners will be announced on Thursday 20 May at the sold out Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the Hilton, Park Lane. The event will be covered live on Twitter via the @premrugby account