Ollie Devoto: Bath back earns LV= Cup breakthrough award

Bath's Devoto holds England ambition

Bath utility back Ollie Devoto has been named LV= breakthrough player for 2014.

The 20-year-old, who has played for England at U20 level, recorded the best overall statistics for a back during the Anglo-Welsh Cup pool stages.

Bath were knocked out of the competition by Exeter Chiefs on Sunday at the semi-final stage.

"I've been very privileged to get a lot of game time this season. I wasn't expecting as much as I have," Devoto told BBC Points West.

"Playing week in, week out has really helped me get my profile out there."

Yeovil-born Devoto joined Bath's academy at the start of the 2012-13 season, and broke into the first team 18 months ago.

This term, he has made 20 appearances in all competitions.

"It's hugely competitive here and when guys get back from injury I think it's going to be really tough to play," he added.

"But I'm in talks [over a new contract] for next season so hopefully I can step up."

Devoto follows in the footsteps of inaugural winner Jonny May and 2013 title holder Jack Nowell, who both started in England's Six Nations win against Wales on Sunday.

Speaking prior to Bath's defeat by the Chiefs, head coach Mike Ford said of Devoto: "His rate of progression has been a bonus for me.

"Having someone who can play 10, 12 and 13 - how I perceive that role should be played - is incredible.

"Eighteen months ago we went on a pre-season in Wales and he was carrying a tyre on his shoulders, up a hill, and I thought he was going to cry.

"I wondered what he was doing training with us. That was August 2012. But now he's keeping people like Gavin Henson out the team.

"When he matures, in terms of his physicality and rugby awareness, he's going to be some player for us and a real find."