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Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player – Round 1 nominees

Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player – Round 1 nominees
The Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player Award is back for another season with two starlets putting their names in the hat following a thrilling opening round of action, and Gloucester Rugby’s Aaron Hinkley is one of the nominees from round one.

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 and Jonny May, while last year’s gong was taken home by James Grayson as he led Northampton Saints to the title.

And following an exciting Round One of Premiership Rugby Cup action, Premiership Rugby are delighted to announce that Gloucester Rugby’s Aaron Hinkley and Gabriel Ibitoye of Harlequins have been shortlisted for this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup Breakthrough Player Award.

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 Premiership Rugby Cup Final, with the lucky recipient also receiving a watch courtesy of Premiership Rugby partner Citizen.

Premiership Rugby Cup

So now let’s take a look as to why Hinkley and Ibitoye are the first names on the list…

Forward – Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby)

Age – 20

Position – Flanker

Minutes – 80

Tries – 1

Carries – 8

Metres – 80

Defenders Beaten – 2

Tackles – 10

Lineouts Won – 3

Gloucester Rugby may have been on the wrong end of the scoreline against London Irish, however 20-year-old Aaron Hinkley put in a performance to be proud of, crossing the tryline to cap off a fine 80 minutes.

His tally of 80 metres gained was the second most of any forward in Round One, while he also hit double figures for tackles too. The Gloucester flanker also proved a good lineout option, making three catches for his side, showing his all-round ability.

Back – Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins)

Age – 21

Position – Wing

Minutes – 80

Carries – 13

Metres – 170

Average Gain – 13.1

Clean Breaks – 4

Defenders Beaten – 7

Tackle % – 100

Gabriel Ibitoye was one of the standout performers in Harlequins’ victory against Bristol Bears in Round One. The former England Under-20 wing didn’t get onto the scoresheet but was electric with ball in hand. His 170 metres were the most of any player in the opening round of the Premiership Rugby Cup, while he also beat seven defenders, more than any other player.

Defensively he saw less action, but was sharp when he was called into action, not missing any of his four tackles.
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