Anthony Watson in action this year for England U18 against Italy

England U18 full back Anthony Watson was today shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2011 after a stellar year of rugby.

Watson, 17, is the youngest ever London Irish player to play in the Aviva Premiership, making his debut against Newcastle Falcons in September 2011.

He also picked up gold for England Rugby Sevens at this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man, and represented England U18 in the FIRA/AER Championships, scoring a last-minute try in the semi-final to beat Wales.

On December 3, he will represent a ‘Northern Hemisphere XV’ at Twickenham for a special charity match, playing alongside the likes of Serge Betsen and World Cup winner Will Greenwood, with all proceeds going to Help for Heroes.

Watson said: “It’s a massive honour to even be considered for this award. A quick look down the list of previous winners is quite humbling and I’ve got massive respect for them all. I’ve enjoyed my rugby this year, and to be shortlisted has really capped it off.”

The 10 contenders shortlisted for the prestigious BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year 2011 award (in alphabetical order) are:
Liam Broady, Tennis
Sally Brown, Athletics
Tom Daley, Diving
Lucy Garner, Cycling
Jack Laugher, Diving
Pat McCormack, Boxing
Laura Robson, Tennis
Eleanor Simmonds, Swimming
Lauren Taylor, Golf
Anthony Watson, Rugby Union

The BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award is in its 10th Anniversary year. It is awarded to the outstanding young sportsperson of the year, who is aged 16 or under on 1 January 2011, selected from nominations made to the BBC and by sports governing bodies via the Youth Sport Trust. Previous winners include Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Andy Murray.

The shortlist is drawn from the nominations by a panel of judges chaired by BBC Sport’s John Inverdale. The panel also includes BBC Sport presenters Jake Humphrey, Ore Oduba and Sonali Shah, two representatives from the Youth Sports Trust, former Young Sports Personality of the Year winner, Amy Spencer and three representatives from the Sports Personality of the Year production team.

The judging panel will meet again on Monday 6 December to shorten the list down to three contenders and then choose a winner by secret ballot. The winner will be announced live at BBC Sports Personality of the Year, taking place this year at MediaCityUK, Salford Quays on Thursday 22 December.

Young Sports Personality of the Year will be awarded to the outstanding young sportsperson aged 16 or under on 1 January 2011, selected from nominations made to the BBC and by sports governing bodies via the Youth Sport Trust.

Previous winners:
2001   Amy Spencer
2002    Wayne Rooney
2003    Kate Haywood
2004    Andy Murray
2005    Harry Aikines-Aryeetey
2006    Theo Walcott
2007    Tom Daley
2008    Eleanor Simmonds
2009    Tom Daley
2010    Tom Daley

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