Leinster Rugby flanker Josh van der Flier has played in every minute of the Irish province’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign this season and earns an EPCR European Player of the Year nomination after a stunning display against Exeter Chiefs in the quarter-finals earlier this month. 

The Ireland international made a superb 22 tackles against last season’s European champions and won  two turnovers as Leinster hit back from 14-0 down to win 34-22 and earn a spot in this weekend’s semi-finals. 

With ball in hand, he is one of Leinster’s most destructive weapons, as this is matched with a low centre of gravity that makes him tricky to tackle and a neat offloading ability. 

Totals of 46 tackles, 76 metres gained and 21 carries as well as a try against Montpellier in Round 1 prove that Van der Flier is a worthy nomination for this year’s prize. 

Voting for the award, which is in its 11th season, is now open HERE and those fans who take part will be in the running to win a signed ball 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. Players who have not been included in the initial list of 15, but who make a significant impact in a semi-final match may be considered for the shortlist. 

The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2021 award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday, 22 May. 

EPCR European Player of the Year 2021 award 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) 

Judging Panel – Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions) 

Roll of Honour – 2020: Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs); 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)