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Voting opens for 2014/15 LV= Breakthrough Player

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Voting for the 2014/15 LV= Breakthrough Player Award is now open, with the final four nominees confirmed.

Saracens flanker Matt Hankin joins Leicester Tigers full-back Tommy Bell amongst the ten nominees, following their standout performances from round four. The duo is joined by Gloucester Rugby's Daniel Thomas and Scarlets' Jordan Williams as the two 'wildcard' additions, both of whom have registered impressive statistics through the pool stages.

Round four
 
Forward
Matt Hankin, Saracens

Matt Hankin has been impressive throughout Saracens LV= Cup campaign this season, and proved his worth again this weekend against Exeter Chiefs. The 21-year-old made a game-high 14 tackles, which took his tally in the competition this season to 58 in four games. The Sarries flanker also made 10 carries, in which he beat two defenders, showing that he has more to his game than just his strong defensive work. Hankin also managed to cross the whitewash to record his first try in this season's competition, which was richly deserved for the youngster who has put in a mammoth effort in Saracens LV= Cup games this season.
 
STATS
Tries – 1
Carries – 10
Metres – 27
Tackles (missed) – 14 (2)
Defenders Beaten – 2
 
Back
Tommy Bell, Leicester Tigers

Tommy Bell was undoubtedly the star back of round four. The Leicester Tigers' full back scored a try which was no less than his performance warranted in Leicester's 43-9 victory over Cardiff Blues. The 22-year-old managed a 135 metre gain from just 14 carries, beating five defenders and making six clean breaks. Bell's 135 metre gain was bettered by only one player during this weekend's round of fixtures, while his tally of six clean breaks was made all the more impressive by the fact that no other player in round four made more than three. The Tigers man is surely one to watch in the future, and deservedly is nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award this season.
 
STATS
Tries – 1
Carries – 14
Metres – 135
Average Gain (m) – 9.6
Defenders Beaten 0 5
Clean Breaks – 6
 
'Wildcard'
 
Forward
Daniel Thomas, Gloucester Rugby

Daniel Thomas becomes the first wildcard to be nominated for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award, thanks to the impressive performances in three appearances this season. After the first three rounds of rugby no player had made more tackles than the 21-year-old who completed 44 in that time, before adding a further nine at the weekend against Harlequins. The Welshman has also proved himself to be a turnover machine in the cup this season, winning 11 so far for the Cherry and Whites – three more than the next best player.  He has also beaten eight defenders as well as bagging a try against Harlequins and also Ospreys, which will surely have pleased the ex-Scarlets man.
 
STATS
Tries – 2
Clean Breaks – 2
Defenders Beaten – 8
Tackles (missed) – 53 (7)
Turnovers Won -11
 
Back
Jordan Williams, Scarlets

Jordan Williams is the backline wildcard nomination for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award. The Llanelli man racked up some impressive stats for Scarlets in his two 80 minute outings for the Welsh region, making 20 carries and gaining 199 metres. Going into last weekend's LV= Cup action no player to make at least 20 carries in the competition had a better average gain than the Welshman. He has also managed to beat five defenders and make three clean breaks as well as producing three effective offloads. Williams was particularly impressive in Scarlets mid-November clash with Cardiff, when he gained 140 metres from just 12 carries, and despite Scarlets not enjoying their LV= Cup campaign this season, Williams has shown his undoubted talent in his 160 minutes of action.
 
STATS
Carries – 20
Metres – 199
Average Gain (m) – 9.95
Clean Breaks – 3
Defenders Beaten – 5
 
Click here to register your vote now. The winner will be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of the winners choice.
 
Launched in 2012, the LV= Breakthrough Player Award celebrates and recognises those young players who have stood out in the tournament with previous winners including Jack Nowell, Jonny May and Ollie Devoto. The LV= Breakthrough Player Award is designed to recognise the next generation of young players. For more information click here.
 
 2014/15 LV= Breakthrough Player nominees:

Round 1
Thomas Youngs (Wasps)
Tom Collins (Northampton Saints)

Round 2
Alex Lozowski (Wasps)
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)

Round 3
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby)
Tyler Morgan (Newport Gwent Dragons)

Round 4
Matt Hankins (Saracens)
Tommy Bell (Leicester Tigers)

'Wildcard'
Daniel Thomas (Gloucester Rugby)
Jordan Williams (Scarlets

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