Baxter shortlisted for top award
By Mark Stevens
Rob Baxter is among a five-man shortlist for the Ricoh Director of Rugby of the Season award.
The Exeter Chiefs leader has seen his side top the Gallagher Premiership for the majority of the season and he knows victory over Northampton Saints will ensure his side finish top of the pile after 22 rounds for the second consecutive year.
Baxter has overseen an impressive campaign to date for the Devonians, who booked their place in the end of season play-offs in record time, defeating Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in Round 18 to ensure their last four spot.
In what has been one of the most competitive Premiership Rugby seasons, the men at the helm have had it all to do as the battle for League positions intensified over nine months of competition.
And with the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final fast approaching the long list has been whittled down to just five thanks to a panel of judges, including a first-ever public vote.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday, 22 May at the star-studded 2019 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher, and the full Ricoh Director of Rugby of the Season shortlist is:
- Johan Ackermann – Gloucester Rugby
- Rob Baxter – Exeter Chiefs
- Chris Boyd – Northampton Saints
- Pat Lam – Bristol Bears
- Mark McCall - Saracens
While McCall and Baxter have won this accolade before – the former on three occasions – Ackermann, Boyd and Lam are all looking to take home the prize for the first time.
While nearly 4,000 fans voted through the official Premiership Rugby app, the judging panel was completed by Nick Mullins (BT Sport), Alastair Eykyn (BT Sport), Mick Cleary (The Daily Telegraph), Sarah Mockford (Rugby World), Robert Kitson (The Guardian), Chris Jones (BBC 5 Live), Owen Slot (The Times) and Tom Hamilton (ESPN), with Premiership Rugby Communications Director Paul Morgan chairing the panel.
Along with the winner of the Ricoh Director of the Season, the winners of the following awards will also be announced at the 2019 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher:
- Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Season
- Land Rover Discovery of the Season
- BT Sport Dream Team
- Gallagher Community Player of the Season
- Premiership Rugby 7s Player of the Season
- Top Try Scorer of the Season
- Gilbert Golden Boot
- Citizen Try of the Season
The winners at the 2019 Premiership Rugby Awards, presented by Gallagher, will be announced first on Twitter via the @premrugby account. Use hashtag #PremRugbyAwards to join the conversation.