The five nominees for the Premiership’s award recognising the standout job done by clubs’ director of rugby has been revealed.
The men shortlisted are Johan Ackermann (Gloucester), Rob Baxter (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Boyd (Northampton Saints), Pat Lam (Bristol Bears), and Mark McCall of Saracens.
They were selected by the public who cast almost 4,000 votes, along with a judging panel comprising respected members of the media – including Nick Mullins and Chris Jones.
The inclusion of Baxter and McCall comes as no surprise following their side’s stellar seasons at the summit of the Premiership table.
McCall’s side won their third European title in just four years at St James’ Park last Saturday to leave their chances of winning a league and cup double alive.
The impressive job head coach Ackermann has done at the Kingsholm has not gone unnoticed either, leading Gloucester’s charge to the play-off semis for the first time since 2011.
Chris Boyd’s transition from the Hurricanes to Northampton appears to have clicked into gear as they hold the upper hand over Harlequins in the race for fourth, while Pat Lam could still deliver Bristol Champions Cup rugby next season.
However, despite guiding them to the verge of a play-off place for the first time in five years there was no recognition or space in the line-up for Harlequins coach Paul Gustard, a noticeable absentee.
The winner of the category will be announced at the Gallagher Premiership’s rugby awards ceremony being held at the Royal Lancaster in London, next Wednesday.
JAMES JUBERT / GETTY IMAGES
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