The final shortlist for the official 2012 RBS Player of the Championship has been announced, with a fans poll deciding the result now open on www.rbs6nations.com.
All players recognised by the relevant television host broadcaster as RBS man-of-the-match during the first four weekends of the Championship were automatically placed in contention for the prestigious award.
The winner will be chosen by rugby fans from across the six nations who are being asked to vote for their RBS Player of the Championship, based on performance, form and achievement.
Jonathan Sexton and Donnacha Ryan will be looking to get the award back on Irish soil, after it was won by their Ireland team-mate Tommy Bowe in 2010 and long-serving captain Brian O’Driscoll in 2009.
With Wales favourite to lift the trophy on Saturday, four Welsh names dominate the shortlist of 12 players with Sam Warburton, Dan Lydiate, Alex Cuthbert and Mike Philips all receiving a nod.
Despite not being in the running for the title this year, France has three votes with Julien Malzieu, Yoann Maestri and Imanol Harinordoquy all making the shortlist.
The two teams battling to avoid the Wooden Spoon have also made the list, Scotland have two nominations with David Denton and Ross Rennie and Italy captain Sergio Parisse also makes the final list.
The most noticeable absence this year is England, who do not have any players on the shortlist.
Fans can vote for the 2012 RBS Player of the Championship at www.rbs6nations.com and voting will remain open until midnight on Sunday (March 18).
Once the votes have been counted and verified, the announcement of the official RBS Player of the Championship will be made next Wednesday.
2012 RBS 6 NATIONS MAN-OF-THE-MATCH WINNERS:
Weekend 1 – France v Italy (Julien Malzieu); Scotland v England (David Denton); Ireland v Wales (Mike Phillips)
Weekend 2 – Italy v England (Sergio Parisse); France v Ireland (Yoann Maestri); Wales v Scotland (Dan Lydiate)
Weekend 3 – Ireland v Italy (Jonathan Sexton); England v Wales (Sam Warburton); Scotland v France (Ross Rennie)
Weekend 4 – Wales v Italy (Alex Cuthbert); Ireland v Scotland (Donnacha Ryan); France v England (Imanol Harinordoquy)
RBS PLAYER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP – PREVIOUS WINNERS:
2011 – Andrea Masi (Italy)
2010 – Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
2009 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
2008 – Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
2006 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)