Following another series of impressive performances during the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage, the current EPCR Player of the Year, Leinster Rugby’s Josh van der Flier, is again a contender for one of the game’s most prestigious individual accolades after today’s announcement of the longlist of nominees for the 2023 award.
Voted for by a panel of distinguished judges (see below), this season’s longlist of 15 players includes proven Heineken Champions Cup and World Cup winners as well as in-form rising stars such as Jaden Hendrikse of the Cell C Sharks, Munster Rugby’s Gavin Coombes, Emmanuel Meafou of Stade Toulousain and Leinster’s Jamie Osborne.
The Durban-based Sharks have four nominees with Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Makazole Mapimpi and Hendrikse all receiving the judges’ seal of approval, while Leinster also have four representatives in Garry Ringrose, Caelan Doris, Van der Flier and Osborne.
In addition, Antoine Dupont, winner in 2021, and Julien Marchand of Stade Toulousain, have made the elite list along with Grégory Alldritt of Stade Rochelais, Saracens’ Elliot Daly and one of the world’s most gifted back rows, Justin Tipuric of the Ospreys.
The winner of the award, which is now in its 13th year, 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 two VIP tickets with one night’s accommodation for the 2024 Heineken Champions Cup Final in May 2024.
At the conclusion of the semi-final matches in April, the list will be reduced to five players by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the judges, and players who have not been included in the initial longlist, but who make a significant impact during the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup, may be considered for the shortlist.
The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2023 award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday 20 May.
2023 EPCR PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Grégory ALLDRITT (Stade Rochelais)
Gavin COOMBES (Munster Rugby)
Caelan DORIS (Leinster Rugby)
Elliot DALY (Saracens)
Antoine DUPONT (Stade Toulousain)
Eben ETZEBETH (Cell C Sharks)
Jaden HENDRIKSE (Cell C Sharks)
Siya KOLISI (Cell C Sharks)
Makazole MAPIMPI (Cell C Sharks)
Julien MARCHAND (Stade Toulousain)
Emmanuel MEAFOU (Stade Toulousain)
Jamie OSBORNE (Leinster Rugby)
Garry RINGROSE (Leinster Rugby)
Justin TIPURIC (Ospreys)
Josh VAN DER FLIER (Leinster Rugby)
Judging Panel – Bryan Habana (two-time Heineken Champions Cup winner), Sarah Hunter (former England captain), Elma Smit (sports presenter and producer), Andy Goode (two-time Heineken Cup winner), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions and Challenge Cup winner)
Roll of Honour – 2022: Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby) ; 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)