Exeter Chiefs’ Ash Carter, Leicester Tigers’ Ryan Driver and Gloucester Rugby’s Shannon Duckett have today been announced as the three finalists for the HITZ Best Rugby Performer award supported by Land Rover. This award will be presented at the HITZ Awards on 28 November.
Through the power of rugby, HITZ tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today like crime, mental health challenges and unemployment.
The HITZ Best Rugby Performer award, supported by Land Rover, recognises a young person for their progress and development in the sport of rugby – on and off the pitch.
The award not only rewards progress in physical fitness and skill but also recognises how rugby’s core values have supported them in overcoming a range of challenges on their journey back to education, employment or training.
As a national partner of the HITZ programme, Land Rover recognises the commitment that youngsters on the programme demonstrate and is proud to be able to support HITZ and reward its participant’s with unique experiences ranging from tours of Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing facilities, retailer work experience days, Land Rover Experience visits and trips to Twickenham with Land Rover ambassadors.
Commenting on the shortlist, Richard Duncan, Sponsorship and Partnerships Manager at Jaguar Land Rover UK, said:
“The stories that come out of HITZ are genuinely inspiring; youngsters are benefiting from the programme and overcoming any number of challenges, the nominees for the HITZ Best Rugby Performer are no different and should be incredibly proud of their progress.
“All three of the nominees are incredibly worthy candidates and testament to the great work the Premiership Rugby clubs and HITZ officers are delivering. Programs like HITZ really make a huge impact in local communities, and that is very much what we at Land Rover are looking to achieve as a partner.”
HITZ Best Rugby Performer Award, Supported by Land Rover – shortlist
- Ash Carter – Exeter Chiefs
- Ryan Driver – Leicester Tigers
- Shannon Duckett – Gloucester Rugby
Exeter Chiefs’ Ash Carter persevered through his social anxiety disorder which previously caused him to avoid team sports and the gym environment, even representing Exeter’s HITZ programme in front of 82,000 people at Twickenham’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final this year.
Leicester Tigers nominee Ryan Driver was shortlisted for overcoming his learning disabilities to attend Brooksby Melton College and the club’s Academy of Sport, as well as playing for Coalville’s first team. Through HITZ, Ryan overcame his difficulties with Asperger’s and autism to integrate himself in a new environment, a new city and bring stability to an uncertain time in his life.
Shannon Duckett of Gloucester Rugby and Hucclecote Ladies was also shortlisted for thriving as a team player at HITZ. Despite living in supported housing, enduring a tough relationship with her mother and never knowing her biological father, her love for rugby has shone through and she is excelling on the field and in the classroom.
This year’s HITZ awards will take place at Barclays HQ on Monday 28 November where participants, mentors and former international rugby stars will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements.
HITZ is delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by national partners Land Rover, Barclays, Comic Relief and Wooden Spoon. HITZ uses rugby to increase young people’s resilience, self-reliance and confidence and gives them the skills to get back into education, apprenticeships and employment.