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Gloucester and Bath rugby stars are chasing award

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 30, 2014

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Bath Rugby youngsters George Ford and Anthony Watson and Gloucester forward Elliott Stooke have been shortlisted for Premiership Rugby's Land Rover Discovery of the Season award.

Fly-half Ford, 21, arrived at Bath from Leicester last summer, while 20-year-old full-back/wing Watson was a new addition from London Irish.

Gloucester second-row Stooke has enjoyed a meteoric rise since starring for England Under-20s throughout the 2013 Junior World Championship and has established himself as an enforcer in the Cherry and Whites' pack.

The 20-year-old has been an ever-present feature since making his league Northampton Saints at the beginning of the season.

Jamie Elliott of Northampton Saints, Saracens' Billy Vunipola and Owen Williams of Leicester are the other nominees in the race to be named the best under-23 player in the Premiership.

Mike Hynard, Premiership Rugby's Head of Academies and Development, said: "The 2013-14 campaign has been a remarkable season for the emergence of quality, young English players into Aviva Premiership Rugby.

"More academy graduates are breaking through into Aviva Premiership Rugby sides every season. The result of this is an England squad that gets younger and younger, with the likes of Jack Nowell and George Ford now getting opportunities on the international stage.

"This is a direct result of the expertise, hard work and increasing investment into the Premiership Rugby clubs' academy programmes.

"The academy programmes are better staffed with quality coaches to ensure a more efficient and effective talent identification and player development system that maximises the potential of the talent within it.

"I have no doubt that Aviva Premiership Rugby will see more young English players of even higher quality breaking through over the coming years."

The winner will be announced at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane on Thursday, May 15 and will follow in the footsteps of previous winners including Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi. Joe Launchbury claimed the prize last year.

Speaking to Gloucester Rugby TV Stooke said: "I'm hugely honoured to be selected for the award against some very good competition."

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