Players from as many as seven elite clubs representing all three of Europe’s leading professional leagues are among the 15 nominees for the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year 2020 award.
Leinster Rugby, the No 1-ranked club going into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals have three players – Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose – included in the list by an expert panel of judges, while Racing 92 and the Exeter Chiefs also have three nominees.
The in-form trio of Finn Russell, Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa feature for Racing, and Exeter have Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg and Sam Simmonds in the star-studded longlist following their impressive qualification for the knockout stage of the Heineken Champions Cup.
The Toulouse pair of Jerome Kaino and Romain Ntamack get the vote of the judges along with Marcell Coetzee and John Cooney who have been included on the back of their outstanding displays for Ulster Rugby during the pool stage.
ASM Clermont Auvergne centre, George Moala, is also nominated while the brilliant Semi Radradra completes the list on behalf of Challenge Cup quarter-finalists Bordeaux-Bègles.
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.
Voting for the award is now open HERE and fans will be in the running to win two VIP tickets to the Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille next May with one night’s accommodation courtesy of EPCR, and a signed jersey of one of the Heineken Champions Cup finalist clubs.
The list will be reduced to five players in early May following the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the judges, and players who have not been included in the initial list of 15, but who make a significant impact in a quarter-final or semi-final match, may be considered for the shortlist.
The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2020 award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on Saturday, 23 May.
EPCR European Player of the Year 2020 award nominees:
Marcell COETZEE (Ulster Rugby)
John COONEY (Ulster Rugby)
Luke COWAN-DICKIE (Exeter Chiefs)
Tadhg FURLONG (Leinster Rugby)
Stuart HOGG (Exeter Chiefs)
Jerome KAINO (Toulouse)
Jordan LARMOUR (Leinster Rugby)
George MOALA (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain NTAMACK (Toulouse)
Semi RADRADRA (Bordeaux-Bègles)
Garry RINGROSE (Leinster Rugby)
Finn RUSSELL (Racing 92)
Sam SIMMONDS (Exeter Chiefs)
Teddy THOMAS (Racing 92)
Virimi VAKATAWA (Racing 92)
Judging Panel: Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Brian O’Driscoll (BT Sport), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions)
Roll of Honour – 2019: Alex Goode (Saracens); 2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92); 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 – best player of first 15 years of European professional club competitions)