- Sam Jones and Ben Ransom up for the LV= Breakthrough Player Award
- Voting open at www.lv.com/rugby
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LV= Ambassador and former England captain Lewis Moody believes England have an embarrassment of riches in the back row with 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominee Sam Jones the latest to state his case.
London Wasp Jones particularly impressed in round two of the LV= Cup against Newport Gwent Dragons, where he made 17 tackles and eight carries.
Jones is the latest back-rower to emerge from the west London club with England aspirations, following in the footsteps of World Cup-winner Lawrence Dallaglio and 2007 runner-up Joe Worsley.
The 22-year-old faces a tough ask to break into the current set-up with England captain Chris Robshaw leading a well-stocked back row contingent that also includes Jones’ former club-mate Billy Vunipola.
But Moody admits Wasps’ history of producing back row talents means Jones is in the perfect place to reach his potential.
“The past 20 or 25 years the back row seems to be a position where we have managed to find a number of quality players,” said Moody.
“You go back to Peter Winterbottom, Neil Back, Richard Hill, Dallaglio, Martin Corry, Joe Worsley, myself and it still continues now.
“You’ve got Tom Croft, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Matt Kvesic. You’ve got Luke Wallace in the Saxons team who in my mind should be in the England squad. And this award list shows again the strength and depth that Stuart Lancaster is able to call upon in his back row, which is nice.
“In Sam he’s got promising young talent. You want someone who works and someone who will be there to do all the hard work and enjoy knowing the fruits of his labours in terms of tackling. He gets through a lot of work in terms of breakdowns and the number of carries.
“But for me it’s not just about the stats it’s about the work on the park, the ball carrying and the running and I think Sam has certainly got a lot of potential.
“He’s been helped with guys like James Haskell and other back rows that have come through at Wasps helping him along. He’s certainly a promising young talent coming through. He’s learning his trade well at Wasps.”
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Jones joins fellow round two nominee and back-three flyer Ben Ransom from Saracens, who completed 17 carries for a monstrous 186 metres in Saracens’ second-round win against Scarlets.
“Ben has definitely got a high work rate,” he added. “For me that is what thegame is all about. A lot of guys that come through with a great deal of talent but they don’t always have the attitude that goes with that talent.
“Attitude gets you a long way in the game, especially when it comes down to not just doing the things that make you look good, it’s about doing the little jobs to make the team effective.
“He’s a solid player, very quick. He’s an elusive young man and certainly one of the guys you enjoy seeing.”
Jones and Ransom are two of ten 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominees with the winner to be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park on March 16 and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of the winner's choice.
The LV=Cup, watch the next generation break through. For more information on the LV= Breakthrough Player Award and voting, visit www.LV.com/rugby