Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player – Wildcard nominees
With just a final four remaining in the Premiership Rugby Cup, Premiership Rugby are delighted to announce that Exeter Chiefs’ Josh Caulfield and Matt Gallagher from Saracens have been shortlisted for this season’s Premiership Rugby 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, Tom Collins and Adam Radwan.
Using Opta Rugby match statistics, a forward and back from each round has already been added to the shortlist, with Caulfield and Gallagher completing the ten-strong list due to their outstanding overall competition statistics.
Fans will get to vote for the winner from Monday 11 February, with the player at the top of the poll being announced prior to the Premiership Rugby Cup Final, with the lucky recipient also receiving a Promaster Tough 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
But for now let’s take a look as to why Caufield and Gallagher have been added to the list, with Wasps’ Tom Willis, Harlequins’ Gabriel Ibitoye, Tom Whiteley and Joel Kpoku of Saracens, Josh Bayliss of Bath Rugby, Northampton Saints’ James Grayson, Ted Hill or Worcester Warriors and Sale Sharks’ Arron Reed having already found their way onto it following the opening two rounds…
Forward – Josh Caulfield (Exeter Chiefs)
Age – 21
Appearances – 4
Carries – 94
Defenders beaten – 3
Tackles – 64
Tackle % – 89%
Lineouts won – 4
Josh Caulfield’s performances this campaign have earned him a wildcard nomination for this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough award. The 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs forward showed his versatility as he featured in both the second and back row, playing in all four of his side’s matches. Caulfield made 64 tackles – more than any other player – during his 285 minutes on the pitch, while only three forwards could better his tally of 41 carries.
Back – Matt Gallagher (Saracens)
Age – 22
Appearances – 4
Minutes – 297
Tries – 1
Carries – 52
Metres – 308
Clean breaks – 6
Defenders Beaten – 10
Offloads – 7
Matt Gallagher gets the nod as this season’s wildcard back. The Saracens full-back featured in all four rounds, clocking up 297 minutes and making the most carries and metres of any player, as well as making six clean breaks and hitting double figures for defenders beaten. Even when he was tackled the 22-year-old still proved a threat by making seven successful offloads, a tally no player could better during the four rounds of action.