Bok up for Euro gong
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks loose forward Marcell Coetzee has been nominated for the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year 2020 award.
The Ulster star Coetzee is one of 15 nominees vying for the top prize.
Leinster Rugby, the No 1-ranked club going into the Champions Cup quarter-finals have three players – Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose – included in the list by an expert panel of judges, while Racing 92 and the Exeter Chiefs also have three nominees.
The in-form trio of Finn Russell, Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa feature for Racing, and Exeter have Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg and Sam Simmonds in the star-studded longlist following their impressive qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions Cup.
The Toulouse pair of Jerome Kaino and Romain Ntamack get the vote of the judges along with Coetzee’s club teammate John Cooney who have been included on the back of their outstanding displays for Ulster Rugby during the pool stage.
ASM Clermont Auvergne centre, George Moala, is also nominated while the brilliant Semi Radradra completes the list on behalf of Challenge Cup quarter-finalists Bordeaux-Bègles.
The winner of one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game will receive a specially-struck gold medal as well as the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.
The list will be reduced to five players in early May following the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the judges, and players who have not been included in the initial list of 15, but who make a significant impact in a quarter-final or semi-final match, may be considered for the shortlist.
The voting will then re-open and the winner of the 2020 award will be announced following the Champions Cup final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on Saturday, May 23.
⏰ It’s that time again! ⏰
Over to you to pick your European Player of the Year 2020 🥇
We’ve got 15 of Europe’s finest in the running for the prestigious award – who’s your winner? 👀
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) January 27, 2020
EPCR European Player of the Year award nominees:
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster Rugby)
John Cooney (Ulster rugby)
Luke Cowan-dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Stuart Hogg (Exeter chiefs)
Jerome Kaino (Toulouse)
Jordan Larmour (Leinster Rugby)
George Moala (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain Ntamack (Toulouse)
Semi Radradra (Bordeaux-bègles)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster Rugby)
Finn Russell (Racing 92)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92)
Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Brian O’Driscoll (BT Sport), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions)
Roll of Honour:
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)