After an exciting season of Greene King IPA Championship Rugby, the shortlist for the Championship Player of the Year Award 2014 in association with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has today been confirmed.
The Championship Player of the Year Award, presented at the RPA Computacenter Players’ Awards 2014, is awarded to the player who has been voted as the most outstanding in this season’s Championship and will be unveiled during the awards ceremony to be held at Battersea Evolution, London, on Wednesday 21st May.
This year the Championship Player of the Year 2014 was voted by the captains of each Championship club.
This replaces the previous system where the winner was voted for by the Directors of Rugby at each Championship club.
The nominees for this year’s award include representatives from Greene King IPA Championship semi-finalists Leeds Carnegie and Rotherham Titans in Craig Hampson and Juan Pablo Socino, as well as Mark Bright from London Scottish.
London Scottish captain Bright was named in last season’s Championship Dream XV and last Friday was also named Caledonia Best Taste of Scotland Player of the Year at the club's End of Season Dinner.
A dynamic ball carrier, Bright has played in 28 games for London Scottish this season, scoring 21 tries in the process.
He said: “To be honest I am really thrilled and thankful to be nominated for the Championship Player of the Year Award 2014 in association with the RFU.”
“This season at London Scottish has been a really solid one for myself and I think as a team we have come a long way over the last 12 months.
“To be shown confidence and respect from the club captains is a great feeling and hopefully I can carry that form into next season.”
Rotherham Titans favourite and top points scorer Juan Pablo Socino was instrumental in Rotherham’s 1st leg play-off fixture against Bristol Rugby last weekend, superbly slotting three penalties, two from the half-way line, to put the visitors within three points of the promotion favourites going into the second leg.
The Argentinian is set to join Newcastle Falcons next season, after impressing Director of Rugby Dean Richards.
Socino said: “It feels amazing to be nominated, this is my first season in the Greene King IPA Championship, so to be rewarded like this is absolutely amazing.”
“Being chosen by my fellow players is a lot more meaningful and being picked by the guys who you play with and against means it’s a lot more important to me.
“Playing at Rotherham has been great, and we are really happy to have reached the semi-finals and confident that we can perform.”
Joining Socino and Bright amongst the Championship semi-finalists is Leeds Carnegie scrum-half Craig Hampson.
The 23-year-old, who is Bristol bound next season, has made 25 appearances for Carnegie this season, including in last weekend’s 38-31 semi-final victory over London Welsh.
Commenting on his nomination, Hampson said: “It’s an honour to be nominated by the captains and from your peers, and is the best kind of award you can win really.
“This season I have had a lot of game time and have been getting really good ball from the forwards, allowing us to play really expansive rugby.
“James Lowe commands an expansive style so it’s been great for my game personally.”
The nominees for the Championship Player of the Year Award 2014 in association with the RFU are:
Mark Bright – London Scottish
Craig Hampson – Leeds Carnegie
Juan Pablo Socino – Rotherham Titans
Last year’s winner:
2013: Tim Streather – Nottingham Rugby