The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) today confirmed the nominees for the RPA Young Player of the Year 2017 as voted for by Aviva Premiership players based on performances in domestic rugby this season.
To qualify for the RPA Young Player of the Year Award players must have been 23 or under at the start of the season. The first of five nominees is Leicester Tigers and England prop Ellis Genge. The 22-year-old has been in excellent form this season, playing a key role in all 21 Aviva Premiership matches for Leicester, scoring three tries and proving a pivotal cog in the club's drive to the play-offs. The second player nominated is Saracens exciting fly-half Alex Lozowski. The play-maker has excelled in North London this season, appearing in 20 matches and amassing a crucial 160 points to become an important part in the club's potent attack. Harlequins centre Joe Marchant is this year's third nominee. The talented 20-year-old burst onto the scene this season, developing into one of the most promising outside backs in English rugby. With seven tries under his belt from 19 matches, Joe has been rewarded with a place in Eddie Jones' squad to tour Argentina. The penultimate nominee is Bath Rugby's Zach Mercer. At just 19, Zach has made a huge impact for the West-Country club this season. The versatile back-row has been a stand-out for Bath in both the Aviva Premiership and Anglo Welsh Cup, confirming his status as one of the most exciting prospects in English rugby. Ross Moriarty is this year's final nominee. The 23-year-old Welsh international, has been a formidable force for Gloucester Rugby this season, playing a total of 862 minutes in the Aviva Premiership, confirming his reputation as one of the hardest working backrows in the competition.
Quotes from the RPA Young Player of the Year 2017 nominees: Ellis Genge said: “It means a huge amount to be nominated for the Young Player of the Year award. I must thank everyone who has helped me along the way, my coaches, teammates, family and friends. I have enjoyed my rugby this season and it’s always nice to have the support from my fellow players.” Alex Lozowski said: “It’s a superb feeling to be nominated by the guys you play against week in, week out, and I’m extremely happy to be up for such a great award. Hopefully as a club we can continue playing well and have a really strong finish to the season.” Joe Marchant said: “I can’t really believe it to be honest. It’s such a rewarding feeling to know that players from other clubs have voted for me. I have really enjoyed this season. I’ve had a lot of game time, experienced the highs and lows and learnt a huge amount.” Zach Mercer said: “Rugby is about all the hard work you put in during the season, and to be given an opportunity to play the game you love full-time is such an honour. Therefore to be recognised by my fellow players for the way I play is a massive achievement and I’m completely over the moon to have their support.” Ross Moriarty said: “I’m really thankful to all the players who have voted for me. There’s no better feeling in rugby than to have the support of your peers. I have enjoyed my rugby this season both at club and international level. It's been a great experience and I’m looking forward to a big finish to the year.”
The winner will be announced at the RPA Players’ Awards 2017 in association with England Rugby on Wednesday 10 May 2017, at Battersea Evolution in London. To book your place please contact Martin Olima on 020 3053 6670 or molima@theRPA.co.uk