Northampton Saints’ Tommy Freeman has been nominated for this year’s Land Rover Discovery of the Season – with the 21-year-old fullback’s 12 appearances in the Gallagher Premiership earning him a place among the brightest young stars of European rugby on the five-man shortlist.
The Land Rover Discovery of the Season award celebrates the most exciting young rugby players emerging during the 2021/22 campaign, and is the first shortlist announced for the 2022 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher.
Players from London Irish, Harlequins, Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers have been recognised for establishing themselves in Gallagher Premiership Rugby throughout 2021/22 and by making a significant impact in the competition.
And they follow in the footsteps of world-class Lions stars Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and Tom Curry – three previous winners of the Land Rover Discovery of The Season award.
The 2021/22 winner will be announced on Tuesday 7 June at the 2022 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher.
The full Land Rover Discovery of the Season shortlist is:
- Henry Arundell (London Irish)
- Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers)
- Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)
- Hugh Tizard (Harlequins)
- Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers)
Past winners include Ioan Lloyd, Sam Simmonds, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Maro Itoje, Henry Slade, Billy Vunipola, Joe Launchbury, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Jordan Turner-Hall, Danny Cipriani, Tom Rees, Tom Varndell and Ollie Smith.
Broadcaster Elma Smit, who was part of the judging panel said: “We started with a long list of more than 80 players who have impressed in Gallagher Premiership Rugby this season, and there were so many young players who made a powerful claim to be on this shortlist.
“It just goes to show the strength in depth at clubs up and down the country at the moment, which is really exciting for all of us that are passionate about the sport.”Elma Smit
“The discussion amongst the judges lasted more than an hour with many changing their minds as the debate progressed. You can see all of these five young players going on to earn international honours and I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress in seasons to come.”
The shortlist and winner was voted for by a panel of media professionals.
The judges were: Alex Bywater (Daily Mail), Nick Heath (Freelance), Will Kelleher (The Times), Charlie Morgan (Daily Telegraph), Elma Smit (Broadcaster), Alex Spink (Daily Mirror/Express). The panel was chaired by Paul Morgan, Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director.
In the next seven days, in addition to Land Rover Discovery of the Season, Premiership Rugby will announce the shortlists for:
- Gallagher Player of the Season
- London Pride Director of Rugby of the Season
- BT Sport Dream Team
- The Famous Grouse Try of the Season
- Gallagher Community Player of the Season
- Premiership Rugby Top Try Scorer of the Season
- Gilbert Golden Boot
The winners at the 2022 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher, will be announced first on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #PremRugbyAwards to join the conversation.