Teams who feature in this Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals dominate the shortlist. Other nominees include Saracens’ Maro Itoje and Alex Goode, Exeter Chiefs’ Gareth Steenson and Don Armand.
“With 616 tries, almost 6,000 points scored this season and an English winner of the European Rugby Champions Cup, it is clear that we have had a stellar campaign,” said Phil Winstanley, the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby.
The shortlist is:
· Don Armand – Exeter Chiefs
· Alex Goode – Saracens
· Maro Itoje – Saracens
· Charles Piutau - Wasps
· George Smith - Wasps
· Gareth Steenson – Exeter Chiefs
“There were more than a dozen stand-out candidates and it is great to see a mixture of our own Academy graduates with a number of overseas stars. Just whittling it down to these six was an immense challenge for the panel. All of them have major significant contributions to a fantastic season and have been at the forefront of their Clubs drive to the semi-finals this weekend and they can be extremely proud of making the shortlist.
“The winner will take his place in an impressive list of Premiership Rugby players who have won this award previously.”
The shortlist was compiled by a panel of media professionals - Ben Coles (Planet Rugby), Jill Douglas (Freelance), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Chris Hewett (Freelance), Chris Jones (BBC Radio), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Robert Kitson (The Guardian), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), and Nick Mullins (BT Sport). They were joined by Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby's Communications Director) who chaired the panel.
The winner will rub shoulders with the biggest names in English rugby at a glittering ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane presented by BT Sport's Craig Doyle.
Performances in Aviva Premiership Rugby are the prime driver for selection on the shortlist but those in European and Test rugby are brought into consideration.
Along with the winner of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Season, the winners of the following awards will also be announced on 18 May:
• Aviva Community Player of the Season
• Guinness Director of Rugby of the Season
• BT Sport Dream Team
• Gilbert Golden Boot
• Green Flag Forward of the Season
• Citizen Try of the Season
• Land Rover Discovery of the Season
• Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Player of the Series
• Trivento Top Try Scorer of the Season
• Women's Premiership Players’ Player of the Year
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 18 May at the sold out Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the Hilton, Park Lane, and on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #AvivaPremAwards to join the conversation.
2014-15 – George Ford (Bath Rugby)
2013-14 – Mike Brown (Harlequins)
2012-13 – Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
2011-12: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2010-11: Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
2009-10: Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints)
2008-09: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
2007-08: James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester Rugby)
2006-07: Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers)
2005-06: Mike Catt (London Irish)
2004-05: Martin Corry (Leicester Tigers)