Leicester hooker Harry Thacker admits it would be overwhelming to join an illustrious group of past winners after being nominated for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season Award.
Thacker joins Harlequin Jack Clifford, Northampton’s Paul Hill, Saracen Maro Itoje, Sale’s Sam James and Saints’ Harry Mallinder on the short-list, with past winners of the gong including Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola.
The shortlist was compiled by Land Rover ambassador David Flatman, ESPN’S Tom Hamilton, ITV’s Nick Heath, Premiership Rugby Head of Academies and Development Mike Hynard, the Press Association’s Nick Purewal, Alex Lowe from The Times and BBC’s Sonja McLaughlan. Premiership Rugby's Communications Director Paul Morgan chaired the panel.
Players aged under-23 on 16 October 2015 are eligible to win Land Rover Discovery of the Season and to make the shortlist, the player must have featured in five or more Aviva Premiership Rugby matches in the 2015-16 season.
The winner of the Land Rover Discovery of the Season will be named at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the London Hilton, Park Lane presented by BT Sport's Craig Doyle on 18 May.
The 22-year-old hooker, who has also played at flanker, has made 22 appearances for Tigers this season and admitted he was delighted to be included in the six-man shortlist.
“I was a bit shocked to be honest, with the players I am up against it is some company to be in,” he said.
“I am very lucky to be nominated and put alongside those names. It would be massive for me to be even regarded with those past winners; I feel very privileged.
“This season I have been lucky enough to get game time and the coaches have kept faith in me and given me a run which I didn’t think I would have at the start of the season.”
Thacker, son of former Tigers’ hooker Troy, is now looking to finish this season strongly ahead of the play-offs and also wants to target a starting berth next campaign.
“I am just enjoying my rugby and hopefully I can keep it up, finish this season well and go into next season a bit higher up the pecking order,” he added.
“I am happy to play wherever but hooker is probably a more long-term goal. With the hookers at this club it’s obviously a hard fought for spot with Tom Youngs, George McGuigan coming in and Greg Bateman, all are very good players.
“Hopefully I will get as much game time as I did this season.”
The Land Rover Discovery of the Season Award recognises the most impressive young Premiership Rugby players each season. The winner will be revealed at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards on 18 May.
The winners will be announced first on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #AvivaPremAwards to join the conversation or follow @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal.