BOLTON RUFC player and former chairman Jon-Paul Hardman has been nominated for a national award.

The 39-year-old youth rugby coach is one of three people from across the country in the running to be crowned Rhino Prop Star, which highlights rugby's often unheralded heroes – the front row forwards.

In the spirit of their role within the team, the Rhino Prop Star award actually honours those who have gone above and beyond to help the team – on and off the pitch.

And Hardman, known as JP, most certainly fits into that category.

Peter Gore, director of community development at Bolton RUFC, said: “He’s been senior chairman and played a key role in helping raise money to turn the club’s pitches from knee deep in mud to the bowling greens they are today.

“During his time as chairman the club enjoyed unprecedented success, enjoying successive promotions and almost reaching the national level.

“JP played his part on the pitch as one of the club’s very first junior players when Bolton set up the junior section and he has risen through the ranks, playing at every level.

“He has predominantly played for the seconds this season but has still had a few run-outs for the first team.

“But it is off the pitch that JP really helps to make things tick. He has had a hand in virtually every positive thing that has happened at the club during the last 20 years, from setting up a charity sevens event, a casuals side and coaching the colts to league titles.

“JP also coaches in schools and universities to spread the word about rugby union in the town, helped players find work in the community and even took his fellow props and hookers to cross-fit classes.

“He’s a good old-fashioned prop star to the tips of his studs.”

Readers can vote for JP online by visiting and find more about the entrants on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by searching Rhino Prop Star.

His rivals for the award are James Cleverley, from Beckenham in Kent, and Rhiannon Kennedy, from Streatham-Croydon in London.

Voting closes on December 5 and as well as earning free Rhino equipment for their club, the winner will be presented with their trophy by former England rugby captain Martin Johnson at Twickenham on December 7 before the annual varsity match.