Representatives of the elite clubs which have qualified for this season’s Champions Cup semi-finals unsurprisingly dominate the list of 15 nominees for the prestigious European Player of the Year award.
La Rochelle, who have booked a place in the semi-finals for the first time in their history, have clearly impressed the expert panel of judges as five of their in-form players, Grégory Alldritt, Levani Botia, Kevin Gourdon, Raymond Rhule and former tournament winner, Will Skelton, have been nominated.
Leinster Rugby, meanwhile, have four players – Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan and Josh van der Flier – on the list while Toulouse also have four nominees in Antoine Dupont, Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Romain Ntamack
With players from as many as seven countries – Australia, Fiji, France, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa – getting the initial vote of the judges, Matthieu Jalibert of Bordeaux-Bègles and Clermont Auvergne’s Kotaro Matsushima complete the star-studded longlist following their outstanding performances.
The winner of one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game will receive a specially-struck gold medal as well as the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.
EPCR European Player of the Year nominees
Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle), Levani Botia (La Rochelle), Antoine Dupont (Toulouse), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby), Kevin Gourdon (La Rochelle), Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby), Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Bègles), Jerome Kaino (Toulouse), Hugo Keenan (Leinster Rugby), Julien Marchand (Toulouse), Kotaro Matsushima (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), Raymond Rhule (La Rochelle), Will Skelton (La Rochelle), Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby)