Leinster Rugby and Racing 92 have been rewarded for the performances that have seen them book their places in next month’s Champions Cup final in Bilbao with the two clubs dominating the shortlist for the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year 2018 award – presented by Turkish Airlines.

Scott Fardy is one of three Leinster representatives in contention to win one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game following an outstanding Heineken Man of the Match performance against the Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.

The Australia international is joined by teammates, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton, with the latter’s personal haul of 18 points in the semi-final taking him to 605 European Cup career points and sixth place on the all-time list.

The 15 nominees have been trimmed to five based on the combined verdict of a distinguished panel of rugby experts and the public vote. Highlighting particularly impressive displays in Racing 92’s quarter-final and semi-final victories, Maxime Machenaud was added to the elite shortlist where he joins teammate Leone Nakarawa.

Public voting is now open on epcrugby.com/epoty and will close following the Champions Cup final at the San Mamés Stadium on 12 May. The winner will receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy, a specially-struck commemorative medal and one million air miles courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

Shortlist for EPCR European Player of the Year 2018 – presented by Turkish Airlines

Scott Fardy (Leinster Rugby)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)
Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Johnny Sexton (Leinster Rugby)

2017/18 panel of judges: Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports/The Sunday Times), Chris Jones (BBC Radio 5 Live), Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Brian O’Driscoll (BT Sport), Dimitri Yachvili (beIN SPORTS).

Roll of Honour

2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens)
2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens)
2015: Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
2014: Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon)
2013: Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
2012: Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby)
2011: Sean O'Brien (Leinster Rugby)
2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby; European Player Award 1995-2010)