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Courtney Lawes and Finn Russell on four-man shortlist for top gong

By Josh Raisey
Courtney Lawes of Northampton Saints looks on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens on November 12, 2023 in Northampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Departing Northampton Saints legend Courtney Lawes has been nominated for Gallagher Premiership player of the season.

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The retired England centurion is joined by Bath fly-half Finn Russell and fellow England internationals Henry Slade and Fin Smith on the shortlist ahead of the Premiership Rugby Awards in London on Wednesday.

Smith’s inclusion means two Northampton players have made the list after topping the Premiership table heading into the play-offs.

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Their boss Phil Dowson has also been nominated for director of rugby of the season, where he is up against Bath’s Johann van Graan, Sale Sharks’ Alex Sanderson and Saracens’ Mark McCall.

Scotland captain Russell is in contention for the coveted prize after his first season in the Premiership. He has helped steer the West Country outfit to second in the table, booking a semi-final against Sale Sharks at the Rec.

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Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
22 - 20
Full-time
Saracens
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Russell’s Bath teammate next season, Newcastle Falcons flanker Guy Pepper, has been nominated for breakthrough player of the season alongside Exeter Chiefs winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and the Harlequins duo of Fin Baxter and Chandler Cunningham-South.

The nominations for Feyi-Waboso and Cunningham-South come after a season where they were both capped by England during the Guinness Six Nations. Smith also became an England international during the tournament, with all three making their debuts in white from the bench in the round one victory over Italy in Rome.

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Lawes has a maximum of two matches remaining of his Saints career before joining Brive at the end of the season. Despite retiring from international rugby after the World Cup, his level has not dropped at all as he has been pivotal in the Saints’s table-topping campaign and their journey to the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals.

Slade’s nomination caps a season where he worked his way back into Steve Borthwick’s England squad after missing out on selection for the World Cup at the end of 2023.

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1 Comment
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finn 34 days ago

It’s a shame that Baxter wasn’t nominated for DoR of the season. what he did is more impressive than McCall imo

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