Racing 92 centre Gaël Fickou has been nominated on the long list for the 2022 EPCR European Player of the Year award after helping the French club into the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup.
The French international has played every minute of the TOP 14 team’s two completed games – a 45-14 win at Northampton Saints in Round 1 and a 25-10 victory at Ospreys in Round 3 – their other two Pool A matches being awarded to Racing due to Covid issues to leave them top of the group.
At 1.90m and 90kg, the 27-year-old is a powerful presence in defence and attack, halting the opposition in their tracks with his no-nonsense tackling and storming through gaps to create tries for their flying wingers.
He will undoubtedly be a key figure as Racing attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup for the fifth successive season when they take on TOP 14 rivals Stade Français Paris, one of Fickou’s former clubs, next month in the Round of 16.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 3, 2022
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)