Brown on award shortlist
England and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown is among six players shortlisted for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Season award.
The list includes players from five different nationalities, each from a different Premiership club - Brown, Leicester's Niki Goneva, Dan Braid from Sale, Jacques Burger from Saracens, Samu Manoa from Northampton and Worcester's Chris Pennell.
Brown, first capped by England in 2007, has already earned the Six Nations player of the tournament accolade this season after several man-of-the-match performances which helped England into runner-up spot, including tries against France, Scotland and Italy.
For Harlequins, he has scored eight tries in 20 games, keeping them in contention for a play-off place and helping them into Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against Northampton.
Centre-cum-wing Goneva has been a sensation for the Tigers, scoring 13 tries in just 23 games during his second season at the club, adding to his 10 scores in 2012/13.
The 30-year-old Fiji international tops this season's Premiership try-scoring table with 11.
Pennell, another full-back and the son of former England cricketer Graham Dilley, has impressed while playing every minute of Worcester's Premiership campaign this season, having scored 182 points in total for the club in 124 games since his first team debut in 2007.
Former New Zealand All Black Dan Braid has captained Sale to secure a top six Premiership place, qualifying them for the inaugural European Champions Cup next season, scoring seven tries for them from back row this season.
Namibia back row international captain Jacques Burger's no nonsense tackling has helped put Saracens at the top of the Premiership table with two games to go and into Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Clermont Auvergne.
Big 6ft 6 USA international Samu Manoa has had a huge impact for Northampton, the 19 stone second rower scoring ten tries for second-in-the-table Saints this season.
The Player of the Year title will be announced on May 15 at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards at the Hilton in Park Lane.
Past winners include England internationals Tom Youngs, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Chris Ashton and Mike Catt.
"There were a number of compelling candidates for this prestigious title and it was very difficult to reduce it to a six-man shortlist," said Phil Winstanley, the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby.
"I think the panel managed to arrive at a very balanced list, forwards and backs side by side.
"We've had an incredible season so far, and the length of the deliberations for the awards reflects the current standard of Aviva Premiership Rugby. The closeness of the matches is reflected in the fact that no one club has more than one player on the shortlist."
Shortlists for other awards to be announced on May 15 are due in the next few days and include Discovery of the Season, the Golden Boot and Game Changer of the Season.