18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
2008 RBS Player of the Championship Shane Williams offers a Welsh nomination and Ireland's Tommy Bowe finishes the list of six players competing for this year's accolade.
A panel of former internationals from all six nations submitted their top three nominations, from which the shortlist of six nominees was compiled.
Panelists included BBC Sport pundits Keith Wood, Raphaël Ibanez and Jonathan Davies, RBS RugbyForce supporters Andy Nicol, Ieuan Evans and Jason Leonard, as well as former RBS Ambassador Alessandro Moscardi who ensured an Italian vote was cast.
The panel were asked to base their decision on performance, form and achievement throughout this year's tournament so far.
Despite the French Championship victories of 2006 and 2007, Brian O'Driscoll has taken the trophy home to Dublin in three out of the past four years, proving that the RBS Player of the Championship honour is not always awarded to a member of the winning team.
Previous RBS Player of the Championship, Shane Williams, went on to win the highly coveted IRB Player of the Year award in the same year (2008), so victory for this year's winner is sure to be a sign of great things to come.
The 2010 RBS Player of the Championship will be decided as a result of a public vote, hosted on www.rbs6nations.com.
Voting will continue through the final week of the Championship, and will close after the final round of matches, at midnight next Monday (March 22).
Once the votes have been counted and verified, the announcement of the official RBS Player of the Championship will be made next week.
RBS PLAYER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP - PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2009 - Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
2008 - Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 - Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
2006 - Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)