BATH Rugby are nurturing a host of exciting talents and England legend Lewis Moody believes LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominee Ollie Devoto is one of the brightest sparks.
Devoto is one of the award’s wildcard nominations, handed out for excellent displays across all four games of the LV= Cup pool stage.
The 20-year-old utility back has stood out in the LV= Cup as well as making a number of appearances in the Premiership, as Bath continue to compete on all fronts this season.
His performances have impressed former Bath man Moody for some time now, alongside The Rec’s other upstarts – such as England pair Kyle Eastmond and George Ford.
And the former Leicester, Bath England flanker has rarely been more impressed by a youngster than Devoto’s display in Bath’s 35-17 win at Leicester Tigers to secure a home semi-final.
“Every time he takes to the field, he’s been one of the best players on the pitch, be it on the winning side or not,” said Moody.
“You talk about metres carried and it’s more than any other of the nominees in this category in a one-off game.
“I got to watch Ollie last year as well and he’s always been brilliant. He’s played a number of games now for the first team, either on the bench or starting.
“I think people underestimate his size. He’s a big lad, a strong lad, he doesn’t look particularly quick but he is. He is quite happy playing fly-half or centre and he’s caused a lot of problems in the games I’ve seen him play.
“Against Leicester he was absolutely outstanding, with the likes of Kyle Eastmond and Matt Banahan around him, for a lad of 20 it’s quite an achievement.”
Devoto is one of ten 2014 LV= Breakthrough Player Award nominees with the winner to be announced prior to the LV= Cup Final at Sandy Park on March 16 and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots rugby initiative of the winner's choice.
And alongside Exeter Chiefs prop Luke Cowan-Dickie Moody fancies Devoto as a front-runner for the award – giving the Bath man the edge.
“For me Ollie and Luke would be the two favourites,” he added. “If I was going to be slightly biased I think it would be Ollie.
“Ollie stands out because he’s a class player. He has that enthusiasm and natural ability combined with a super attitude and that’s why, for me, he will be favourite to lift the Breakthrough Player of the Year.”
The LV=Cup, watch the next generation break through. For more information on the LV= Breakthrough Player Award and voting, visit www.LV.com/rugby