Fans choose Cornish Pirates star Jack Nowell as Breakthrough Player of Year
NEWLYN rugby star Jack Nowell has been named the LV= Breakthrough Player for the 2012-13 season after a shortlist of ten nominees from the LV=Cup was put to a public vote.
Nowell, 19, who plays for Exeter Chiefs and is dual registered with the Cornish Pirates, was nominated for the award following his outstanding performances throughout all four pool stages of this season's LV=Cup.
He beat the likes of Bath's Tom Heathcote and Harlequins Luke Wallace to win the award.
As part of the prize for winning the award, Nowell will choose a grassroots club of his choice to receive a £1,000 donation from LV=, as part of the tournament sponsors commitment to fostering the development of future rugby stars.
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Speaking at the announcement of the award in Chester yesterday, Nowell said: "To win the LV=Breakthrough Player Award is massive for me.
"The fact that it is voted for by rugby fans makes winning a huge honour, so thanks to everyone that voted for me.
"It is nice to be recognised for playing the game I love and spurs me on to keep doing what I am doing.
"I have been really fortunate with all the coaching I have had throughout my career, so would like to thank all the people who have helped me get to this stage.
"If the donation from LV= can help players like me, it can only be good for rugby."
The LV=Breakthrough Player Award is designed to recognise the next generation of young players under 23 competing in the LV=Cup; a competition renowned for developing future international stars.
The eye-catching performances were backed up by the statisticians at Opta, who ranked him as the top performing back in the LV=Cup this season.
Nowell beat more defenders and made more metres in attack than any other player in the competition, despite Chiefs failure to reach the knock-out stages.
England Under 20 head coach Rob Hunter, who presented the award to Nowell, said: "All of the players shortlisted are outstanding talents but Jack is a deserved winner of this award."
Nowell and another Cornish Pirates player, Luke Cowan-Dickie, are in the England squad for tomorrow's game against Wales at Colwyn Bay (7.35 kick-off).
Hooker Cowan-Dickie also produced a stand-out performance in the England front row against Italy, earning the Sky Sports man of the match award.
He said: "I made the move to hooker this season, the first game I played there against Ireland and I didn't think I had done so well but I think things got better in this game."