Jacob Umaga on Aviva Premiership community award shortlist
Wasps academy fly half Jacob Umaga is on a six-strong shortlist for a prestigious award.
The 19-year-old Kenilworth product, who is currently spending the summer playing club rugby in Auckland, could this week be named Aviva Community Player of the Season.
The award celebrates those who go the extra mile to make a difference in their local community through charity work – emphasising how much good Aviva Premiership Rugby stars do in their own time.
Umaga, who last week shared his club's 2017/18 community award with Danny Cipriani, has played a big part in the Coventry-based Playing Advantage scheme which introduces rugby to disadvantaged children.
This year’s shortlist features experienced players such as Bath’s Freddie Burns, Nili Latu of Newcastle Falcons and Mark Lambert of Harlequins plus up-and-coming talents Umaga, Charlie Beckett of Gloucester Rugby and Saracens’ Joel Kpoku.
Explaining the award's significance, Premiership Rugby said: "Rugby players are often seen as role models in their local communities and the work they do can make a huge difference – especially with young people. This is why Aviva and Premiership Rugby have teamed up to recognise the differences players can make.
The six shortlisted players will now wait to see who takes the crown from last year’s winner Chris Pennell of Worcester Warriors at the glittering Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Wednesday May 16.
Other former winners of the award include Saracens’ Jamie George, Dom Waldouck of Northampton Saints, Dean Schofield from Worcester Warriors and Bob Casey of London Irish, who won the award in 2012 – and this year’s panel were impressed with the wide range of ages of those who are shortlisted.
The shortlist was compiled by the following panel – Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Mick Cleary (Telegraph), Stephen Jones (The Times), Jonny Fordham (The Sun), Dave Rogers (Getty Images) and Chris Jones (BBC Radio), while Paul Morgan (Premiership Rugby’s Communications Director) chaired the panel.