Saints star Manoa nominated for Aviva Premiership player of the season award

IN THE RUNNING - Samu Manoa (Picture: Linda Dawson)

IN THE RUNNING - Samu Manoa (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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Saints star Samu Manoa has been named on a six-man shortlist for the Aviva Premiership player of the season award.

Manoa joins Leicester’s Vereniki Goneva, Saracens’ Jacques Burger, Worcester’s Chris Pennell, Sale’s Dan Braid and Harlequins’ Mike Brown in the running for the prize.

There had been a few surprised faces after Manoa was not named on the shortlist last season, but his powerhouse performances have not gone unnoticed this time round.

The big American forward has proven equally adept at lock and No.8, and has racked up an impressive 10 tries during this campaign.

And he has become so popular at Franklin’s Gardens that the former San Francisco Golden Gate player now has his own chant among the Saints faithful.

Should he claim the player of the year gong, Manoa would be the third Saint to win it in the space of five years, following Chris Ashton’s triumph in 2010 and Tom Wood’s in 2011.

The winner will be announced at the Hilton, Park Lane on May 15.