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Smith nominated for Breakthrough Player of the Season gong

Northampton Saints fly-half Fin Smith has been shortlisted for Premiership Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Season award following a stellar debut campaign in Black, Green and Gold.

The 20-year-old No.10 also claimed the Club’s Young Player of the Season award a fortnight ago, and is now in line to scoop the league-wide prize with the winner announced next Wednesday at the Premiership Rugby awards evening.

Smith joins Seb Atkinson (Gloucester Rugby), Tom Pearson (London Irish), and Gus Warr (Sale Sharks) on the shortlist, having made 15 appearances and scored 139 points so far for Saints since his early-season move from Worcester Warriors.

On the seven-person judging panel was BBC Rugby Union Correspondent Chris Jones, who said: “This category was incredibly difficult to judge with so many young stars breaking through this season. Some really deserving players have been left off the shortlist.

“Fin has had a remarkable season, joining Northampton in difficult circumstances, but going on to help drive the Saints into the top four and receiving an England squad call-up.”

Chris Jones, BBC Rugby Union Correspondent

“Meanwhile Gus is another semi-finalist who has really caught the eye with his consistency for Sale, and will no doubt have a huge role to play in the semi-final.

“Tom has been a colossus for Irish, making tackles, carrying hard and scoring brilliant tries in an impressive season for the Exiles, while Seb really impressed the panel with his consistently high levels of performance in the midfield at Gloucester.

“This award really shows the quality of young talent in the Premiership. It will be no surprise if some of these guys get full international recognition in the not-too-distant future.”

The judges were: Ali Eykyn (BT Sport), Jill Douglas (BBC/BT Sport), Craig Swayne (The Good, The Bad & The Rugby), Tom Hamilton (ESPN), Hugh Godwin (i), Alex Lowe (The Times), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live).

In the next few days, Premiership Rugby will also announce the shortlists/results for:

  • Gallagher Player of the Season
  • Try of the Season, presented by The Famous Grouse
  • Premiership Rugby Top Try Scorer of the Season
  • Premiership Rugby Top Points Scorer of the Season
  • BT Sport Dream Team
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