Exeter’s remarkable double-winning season has been recognised on the list of nominees for the Rugby Union Writers’ Club personality of the year for 2020.
Director of rugby Rob Baxter is one of three non-playing personnel to feature among the five names in contention to win the coveted Pat Marshall Memorial Award, which is currently held by South Africa captain Siya Kolisi.
In 10 years Baxter has transformed Exeter from Gallagher Premiership newcomers to the dominant force in Europe after Racing 92 and Wasps were toppled on successive weekends last season.
Joining Baxter among the nominees is referee Nigel Owens, who became the first official to oversee 100 Tests when France played Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.
Owens has now retired from international rugby, bringing the curtain down on a 17-year career as one of the game’s most respected referees.
Former Samoa international Dan Leo is also present as recognition for his work in the representation of Pacific Island players, including the release of the eye-opening documentary ‘Oceans Apart’.
The winner of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club Pat Marshall award for 2020 goes to @Springboks captain Siya Kolisi.
Huge congratulations to Siya from all at the RUWC. pic.twitter.com/6MzVKsuvpU
— The Rugby Union Writers’ Club (@RUWCOfficial) January 13, 2020
Completing the list are Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and France scrum-half Antoine Dupont.
Jones eclipsed Richie McCaw’s milestone of 148 to become the sport’s most capped player during the Autumn Nations Cup, while Dupont has thrilled audiences with his electric running skills.
The winner will be announced through the media and the RUWC’s Twitter account after the club’s annual dinner in London was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Greats of the game whose names are engraved on the trophy include Gareth Edwards, Bill Beaumont, David Campese, Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson, Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O’Driscoll, Maggie Alphonsi and Dan Carter.
Writers, broadcasters and photographers from the club’s 280 members have cast their votes for the Pat Marshall Memorial Award, which has been presented every year since 1976.
The Rugby Union Writers’ Club was founded in January 1960 to further the interests of its members – drawn mainly from the UK, but also from around the world – and the sport of rugby union.