Owain James nominated for Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player

Date: 14 Nov 2017

Premiership Rugby have announced that Wasps Academy's Owain James and Gloucester Rugby’s Jake Polledri have been shortlisted for this season’s Anglo-Welsh Cup Breakthrough Player Award.

Newcastle Falcons’ Adam Radwan and Ben Earl of Saracens were the first two names on the shortlist, but now let’s take a look as to why James and Polledri were nominated following on from a thrilling second round of Anglo-Welsh Cup action.  

Back – Wasps full-back Owain James

Minutes played: 80
Carries: 14
Metres gained: 79
Defenders beaten: 4
Offloads: 3
Tackle success: 100%
Catches from kicks: 5

Incredibly unlucky to miss out last week to Newcastle’s Adam Radwan, Wasps’ Owain James has been rewarded for his consistency as he put in another strong performance against the Ospreys on Friday night. Playing the full 80 minutes, 21-year-old James made 79 metres from his 14 carries – in fact, his distance gained with ball in hand means he ranks second overall this season for metres gained in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. He also beat four defenders, while he proved to be a threat even when he was tackled as he made three successful offloads, a tally only three players could better at the weekend.

Forward – Gloucester Rugby flanker Jake Polledri

Minutes played: 80
Tries: 80
Carries: 15
Metres gained: 75
Defenders beaten: 4
Clean breaks: 1
Tackles: 10
Tackle success: 91%

Gloucester’s Jake Polledri was in the thick of the action as the Cherry and Whites secured an emphatic win over London Irish. The flanker hit double figures for both carries and tackles during his 80 minutes on the pitch. His 15 carries saw him beat four defenders and gain 75 metres – only one forward made more metres or evaded more tacklers. The 22-year-old was rewarded for his fine display with a try as Gloucester fell just short of the half century on Saturday.

Launched in 2012, the Breakthrough Player Award celebrates and recognises under-23 players who have stood out in the tournament, with previous winners including the likes of Jack Nowell, Jonny May and Tom Collins.

Using OPTA match statistics, a forward and back from each round, along with two players with outstanding overall competition statistics, will form a ten-man shortlist, which will be submitted to a fan vote.

The winner will be announced prior to the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, with the lucky recipient also receiving a Perpetual Chrono A.T watch courtesy of Premiership Rugby partner Citizen.