Stade Toulousain scrum-half Antoine Dupont won the 2021 EPCR European Player of the Year and the 25-year-old has made a promising start in his quest to retain the title this season.

The French international has earned a nomination for this year’s award after an eye-catching display against Cardiff Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.

As Toulouse swept aside the United Rugby Championship side in a 39-7 victory at Cardiff Arms Park in Round 1, Dupont showcased the attributes that have helped him become one of the top players in the world.

He played a key role in several of the reigning European champions’ tries and went over himself in the second half, gathering a loose ball and shrugging off tacklers to finish in style from just outside hosts’ 22m.

Dupont gained a staggering 171 metres of the course of the game, made three line breaks and beat 11 defenders – more than any other player in Round 1.

His attacking prowess will be on display once again when Toulouse take on Ulster Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16.

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 PanelErik 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)