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LV= Breakthrough Player: Holmes and Thacker impress

12 November 2013

  • LV= Cup Breakthrough Player Award returns for the new season
  • Previous winners include Jonny May and Jack Nowell
LV= Breakthrough Player Award, Round 1

Photo: RFU Archive

The LV= Breakthrough Player Award returns for the new season, with London Wasps and Leicester Tigers each represented in the first two nominees.

Launched in September 2011, the LV= Breakthrough Player Award is designed to recognise the wealth of impressive young talent on show in the competition. Previous winners include Gloucester Rugby's Jonny May and Exeter Chiefs' Jack Nowell, both of whom went on to England honours soon after receiving the LV= award.

Two players from each round, along with two 'wildcard' players who have strong overall competition statistics, will form a shortlist, which will be released to a fan vote on

Fans will vote for the winner of the LV= Breakthrough Player Award from the end of Round 4 until midnight after the second semi-final. The winner will be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of their choice.

Kicking off the 2013/14 LV= Breakthrough Player Award are London Wasps wing Jonah Holmes and Harry Thacker, of Leicester Tigers.

LV= Breakthrough Player Award, Round 1

Photo: RFU Archive

Jonah Holmes, London Wasps

Jonah Holmes returned to his parent club from a loan spell at Leeds and did not miss his opportunity to show what he can do. The Wasps wing incredibly beat nine defenders and made four clean breaks in this game, totting up a gain of 151 metres, making his average carry 13.7 metres. Three of his four clean breaks were initial breaks of the line, whilst the other was a supported break. Holmes made more metres and breaks than any other player in the tournament this weekend, whilst his tally of defenders beaten was only bettered by Andries Pretorius of Cardiff Blues (10). His efforts were not enough for Wasps, who were forced to settle for a bonus point against local rivals Saracens.

Director of Rugby Dai Young took solace from Holmes' performance. He said: "I thought James Haskell, Guy Thompson and Jonah Holmes were very good tonight so there were some positives out there but as a whole we have to improve if we want to stretch teams like Saracens."

Carries - 11
Meters - 151
Defenders beaten - 6
Clean breaks - 4
Offloads - 1

Harry Thacker, Leicester Tigers

Leicester's bonus point victory over Ospreys on Friday was particularly pleasing for the Tigers coaching staff given the amount of youngsters they bled into the first team. Alongside the likes of Thomas Waldrom and Scott Hamilton, many of the Tigers' youngsters caught their eye but none more so than 19-year-old Harry Thacker who scooped the man of the match award. The hooker made a phenomenal 21 carries in the game, a figure only beaten in the opening round of action by teammate Owen Williams. He also beat two defenders and made a clean break, as well as being impeccable at the line-out. He also did not miss a tackle in 70 minutes of action.

Waldrom singled him out for special praise after the match. "We all know what Harry Thacker can do because we see him in training, so it is nice for him to be out there on national TV and show everyone else what he can do,” he told the Leicester Mercury. "He is a very exciting young fella and we are very happy to have him here. Hopefully, he can go from strength to strength. The LV= Cup gives these guys great exposure, as you saw with someone like George Ford, who came through in this competition. I imagine Harry will go down a similar route."

Thacker's stats from the Ospreys game are below:

Carries - 21
Metres - 51
Defenders beaten - 2
Clean breaks - 1
Lineout throws - 11/11