Players from Leinster and Saracens have been rewarded for the outstanding performances that have brought their teams to next month’s Heineken Champions Cup decider in Newcastle, with the two finalists dominating the shortlist for the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year award.
Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose are aiming to emulate the achievements of Leinster team-mates Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney who won the prized individual accolade in 2011 and 2012 respectively, while Saracens’ Alex Goode and Mako Vunipola are looking to follow in the footsteps of 2016 winner Maro Itoje and his successor Owen Farrell.
The 15 initial nominees from the pool stages have been reduced to five based on the combined verdict of a distinguished panel of rugby experts and a public vote.
Voting 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 St James’ Park on Saturday, May 11.
2019 EPCR EUROPEAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:
Sean Cronin (LEINSTER)
Tadhg Furlong (LEINSTER)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Garry Ringrose (LEINSTER)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Judging Panel: Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Chris Jones (BBC Radio 5 Live), Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Brian O’Driscoll (BT Sport), Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports)
Previous Winners – 2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92); 2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens); 2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens); 2015: Nick Abendanon (Clermont Auvergne); 2014: Steffon Armitage (Toulon); 2013: Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon); 2012: Rob Kearney (LEINSTER); 2011: Sean O’Brien (LEINSTER); 2010: Ronan O’Gara (MUNSTER) (best player of first 15 years of European club rugby)