Aviva Premiership
Lyn Jones in running for top honour
ESPN Staff
April 25, 2013
London Welsh coach Lyn Jones, Aviva Premiership fixtures announcement, Twickenham Stoop, London, England, July 4, 2012
Lyn Jones' London Welsh side are set to be relegated having finished bottom of the Premiership table © Getty Images

The shortlist for the Aviva Premiership Director of Rugby of the Season Award has been announced with London Welsh boss Lyn Jones included at the end of a campaign that is set to see his side relegated.

Past winners of Director of Rugby of the Season

  • 2011-12 - Rob Baxter (Exeter Chiefs)
  • 2010-11 - Jim Mallinder (Northampton Saints)
  • 2009-10 - Andy Key (Leeds Carnegie)
  • 2008-09 - Richard Cockerill (Leicester Tigers)
  • 2007-08 - Dean Ryan (Gloucester Rugby)
  • 2006-07 - Pat Howard (Leicester Tigers)
  • 2005-06 - Philippe Saint-Andre (Sale Sharks)
  • 2004-05 - John Wells (Leicester Tigers)
  • 2003-04 - John Connolly (Bath Rugby)
  • 2002-03 - Warren Gatland (London Wasps)
  • 2001-02 - Conor O'Shea and Brendan Venter (London Irish)
  • 2000-01 - Dean Richards (Leicester Tigers)
  • 1999-2000 - Andy Robinson (Bath Rugby)

Vying with Jones for the honour is Leicester's Richard Cockerill, who won the award in 2008-09, Saracens' Mark McCall and London Wasps' Dai Young with the winner set to be announced at the Premiership Rugby awards on May 9.

Jones steered the Exiles into the top flight last year but the delay in the confirmation of their promotion - due to a lengthy legal battle against a ruling that they had failed to meet the 'minimum criteria' for the Premiership - left them struggling to pull together a squad and ready themselves for their debut in the top flight.

Against the odds, Welsh secured four victories before Christmas to raise hopes that they would cement their place in the Premiership but a subsequent five-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player and the outstanding form of relegation rivals Sale Sharks saw them slump to the foot of the table. The club's only hope of avoiding the drop is if this season's Championship winners fail to meet the same minimum standards that threatened their promotion.

McCall is rewarded for a season that has his side competing for a notable double with Saracens currently leading the Premiership and also due to tackle Toulon in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup this weekend.

Cockerill's Tigers are also once again challenging for Premiership glory while Young's input into Wasps' resurgence has also been acknowledged. The Adams Park club narrowly avoided relegation and liquidation last season and their financial woes continued to over-shadow their on-field efforts this term until their long-term future was secured earlier this month.

"Aviva Premiership Rugby is fortunate to have some of the best coaches in the world working for our 12 clubs," said Phil Winstanley the Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby. "This is good news for the League but made the choice of selecting the shortlist very difficult indeed and it is a credit to all four of these coaches that they made it onto the list. If you look at the list of previous winners you will see a who's who of rugby coaching so the winner will be stepping into some very big shoes."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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