London Irish is delighted to announce that Tom Pearson has been named on the shortlist for the Premiership Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Season, presented by Defender.
Pearson has been no stranger to accolades in recent months, picking up the Rugby Players’ Association’s (RPA) 15 Under-23 MVP for March, as well as the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for March.
The 23-year-old was also voted in alongside Ollie Hassell-Collins in last season’s RPA Under-23 Team of the Season, and has since enjoyed a stellar second campaign with Irish.
After being welcomed into the senior fold over the 2022 offseason, the flanker has played 19 times for the Club this term, 17 of those coming in the league, currently boasting the second-highest tackles made (232) and third-highest turnovers won (21) in the division.
The nomination follows on from Pearson’s teammate Hugh O’Sullivan being recognised for his work with the London Irish Foundation's Homeless BEAT Project, Project Rugby and the London Irish Wild Geese by being nominated for the Premiership Community Player of the Season.
The shortlist is as follows:
Seb Atkinson – Gloucester Rugby
Tom Pearson – London Irish
Fin Smith – Northampton Saints
Gus Warr – Sale Sharks
On the seven-person judging panel was BBC Rugby Union Correspondent Chris Jones who said:
“This category was incredibly difficult to judge with so many young stars breaking through this season.
“Some really deserving players have been left off the shortlist.
“Fin has had a remarkable season, joining Northampton in difficult circumstances, but going on to help drive the Saints into the top four and receiving an England squad call-up.
“Meanwhile Gus is another semi-finalist who has really caught the eye with his consistency for Sale and will no doubt have a huge role to play in the semi-final.
“Tom has been a colossus for Irish, making tackles, carrying hard and scoring brilliant tries in an impressive season for the Exiles, while Seb really impressed the panel with his consistently high levels of performance in the midfield at Gloucester.
“This award really shows the quality of young talent in the Premiership.
“It will be no surprise if some of these guys get full international recognition in the not-too-distant future.”
The shortlist and winner was voted for by a panel of media professionals.
The judges were: Ali Eykyn (BT Sport), Jill Douglas (BBC/BT Sport), Craig Swayne (The Good, The Bad & The Rugby), Tom Hamilton (ESPN), Hugh Godwin (i), Alex Lowe (The Times), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live).
In the next few days, Premiership Rugby will also announce the shortlists for:
- Gallagher Player of the Season
- Try of the Season, presented by The Famous Grouse
- Premiership Rugby Top Try Scorer of the Season
- Premiership Rugby Top Points Scorer of the Season
- BT Sport Dream Team