Leinster flanker Josh van der Flier has rounded off an outstanding Heineken Champions Cup campaign by being named the EPCR European Player of the Year for 2022.
Van der Flier becomes the third Leinster player to claim one of the most prized individual accolades in the game following in the footsteps of his former team-mates, Sean O’Brien (2011) and Rob Kearney (2012).
The 29-year-old, who impressed once again in Leinster’s Champions Cup final defeat to La Rochelle, was presented with the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy following the final at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.
More than 30,000 votes were registered on HeinekenChampionsCup.com, and that poll, combined with the verdict of an expert panel of judges, eventually determined the winner.
Van der Flier edged out his team-mates Caelan Doris and James Lowe for the prestigious award, as well as Grégory Alldritt of La Rochelle and Toulouse star Antoine Dupont who were also included in the five-player shortlist.
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).
EPCR EUROPEAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR – ROLL OF HONOUR:
2022: Josh van der Flier (Leinster)
2021: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
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 (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