ASM Clermont Auvergne back Damian Penaud has made only two full appearances in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, but they have been so impressive that he has been nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year award.

Equally at home on the wing or in the centre, the 25-year-old French international has notched three tries in those two games – a double in the 29-23 Round 1 home loss to Ulster Rugby and a further score in the 25-19 home win over Sale Sharks in Round 3.

Penaud, who also made a substitute appearance in the 34-31 defeat at Ulster in Round 4, has beaten 17 defenders in those three games to lie third in that chart.

His power and speed, allied to his 1.85m height and 92kg weight, make him a difficult player to bring down when in full flight and as a result, he will be a key player in Clermont’s last-16 tie against Leicester Tigers in April.

The winner of the award, which is in its 12th season, will receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy in memory of the former Munster Rugby head coach and captain.

Voting is now open HERE and fans will be in the running to win a signed ball and a signed jersey courtesy of one of the Heineken Champions Cup final clubs.

The list will be reduced to five players in May, following the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup semi-finals, by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the judging panel, and players who have not been included in the initial longlist, but who make a significant impact during the knockout stages, may be considered for the shortlist.

The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2022 award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille on Saturday, 28 May.

EPCR European Player of the Year 2022 nominees:

Grégory ALLDRITT (Stade Rochelais)
Alex DOMBRANDT (Harlequins)
Caelan DORIS (Leinster Rugby)
Antoine DUPONT (Stade Toulousain)
Gaël FICKOU (Racing 92)
George FORD (Leicester Tigers)
Michael LOWRY (Ulster Rugby)
Jimmy O’BRIEN (Leinster Rugby)
Jack O’DONOGHUE (Munster Rugby)
Damian PENAUD (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Semi RADRADRA (Bristol Bears)
Sam SIMMONDS (Exeter Chiefs)
Marcus SMITH (Harlequins)
Josh VAN DER FLIER (Leinster Rugby)
Cameron WOKI (Union Bordeaux-Bègles)

Judging Panel – Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (two-time Heineken Champions Cup winner), Lee McKenzie (Channel 4), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions)

Roll of Honour – 2021: Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain) ; 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)