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Anglo-Welsh Cup – Round 3 Breakthrough players

Anglo-Welsh Cup – Round 3 Breakthrough players

Following on from a thrilling third round of Anglo-Welsh Cup action, Premiership Rugby are delighted to announce that Saracens’ Sione Vailanu and Joe Cokanasiga from London Irish have been shortlisted for this season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player Award.

Launched in 2012, the Breakthrough Player Award celebrates and recognises under-23 players who have stood out in the tournament, with previous winners including the likes of Jack Nowell, Jonny May and Tom Collins.

Using OPTA match statistics, a forward and back from each round, along with two players with outstanding overall competition statistics, will form a ten-man shortlist, which will be submitted to a fan vote.

The winner will be announced prior to the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, with the lucky recipient also receiving a Perpetual Chrono A.T watch courtesy of Premiership Rugby partner Citizen, while Gilbert, Official Ball and Rugby Clothing Partner of Premiership Rugby, will supply £1,000 worth of kit to a grassroots club of the winner’s choice.

Newcastle Falcons’ Adam Radwan and Ben Earl of Saracens were the first two names on the shortlist, while Gloucester Rugby’s Jake Polledri and Owain James of Wasps joined them after Round 2.

So now let’s take a look as to why Vailanu and Cokanasiga have joined them…

Forward – Saracens No.8 Sione Vailanu

Minutes played: 80
Carries: 18
Metres gained: 158
Defenders beaten: 14
Clean breaks: 3
Try assists: 1
Tackles: 15

Sione Vailanu is a recent addition to the Saracens squad and Mark McCall will be pleased with what he has seen so far.

Celebrating his 23rd birthday on Saturday, Vailanu had a day to remember, from his 18 carries he beat an impressive 14 defenders – more than any other player has managed in an Anglo-Welsh Cup game this season.

His 158-metre gain was the second most overall at the weekend (behind Joe Cokanasiga) and it was over 100 metres more than any other forward managed with ball in hand. He also made an impressive 15 tackles, boasting a 94% tackle success rate.

Back – London Irish wing Joe Cokanasiga

Minutes played: 80
Tries: 3
Carries: 11
Metres gained: 163
Defenders beaten: 7
Clean breaks: 3
Offloads: 3

Joe Cokanasiga is a name many rugby fans will be familiar with already, including England head coach Eddie Jones who has already introduced the London Irish winger into the England training camp.

Cokanasiga’s performance on Saturday will have pleased Jones too, as well as many Exiles fans, as he crossed for a hat-trick of tries – the only player to score more than twice at the weekend.

He also gained the most metres (163) of any player, while he also ranked in the top three for defenders beaten, clean breaks and offloads.

This year’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Final will be at the iconic Kingsholm Stadium, home of Gloucester Rugby, on Sunday 18 March. To buy tickets and be part of an unforgettable occasion click here

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