As the countdown begins in earnest to the showpiece Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille, in-form candidates from Leinster Rugby and Stade Rochelais are not surprisingly dominating the prestigious shortlist for the 2022 EPCR European Player of the Year award.

Leinster’s back row pair of Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier have made the elite shortlist for the first time, as has the flying James Lowe who only needs one more try to equal Chris Ashton’s tournament record total of 11 in a Heineken Champions Cup season.

The three Leinster representatives are joined by Stade Rochelais’ outstanding captain, Grégory Alldritt, who has been nominated among the final five players for the second year in a row, and last season’s undisputed winner, the brilliant Antoine Dupont of Stade Toulousain.

The initial 15 nominees have been trimmed to five based on the combined verdict of a renowned panel of judges along with almost 20,000 participants in the public vote.

Voting for one of the most prized individual accolades in world rugby has now reopened on epcrugby.com/epoty and the winner and recipient of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Stade Vélodrome on Saturday 28 May.

2022 EPCR European Player of the Year shortlist 

Grégory ALLDRITT (Stade Rochelais)
Caelan DORIS (Leinster Rugby)
Antoine DUPONT (Stade Toulousain)
James LOWE (Leinster Rugby)
Josh VAN DER FLIER (Leinster Rugby)

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

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 club rugby)