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Josh van der Flier wins European player of the year

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Xavier Leoty/AFP via Getty Images)

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Leinster flanker Josh van der Flier rounded off an outstanding European season by being named EPCR European Player of the Year 2022.

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Despite his side’s agonising last minute loss to La Rochelle, Van Der Flier made 25 tackles in the final.

He becomes the third Leinster player to claim one of the most prized individual accolades in the game following in the footsteps of club legends Sean O’Brien (2011) and Rob Kearney (2012).

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The 29-year-old, who impressed in Leinster’s brave losing Heineken Champions Cup final display, 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 teammates Caelan Doris and James Lowe for the prestigious award, as well as Grégory Alldritt of Stade Rochelais, and Antoine Dupont of Stade Toulousain who were also included in the five-player shortlist.

PAST WINNERS:
2021: Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain)
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 (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 club rugby)

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Judging panel
Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (two-time Heineken Champions Cup winner), Lee McKenzie (Channel 4), Alan Quinlan (two-time Heineken Champions Cup winner / Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (EPCR Challenge Cup winner / France Télévisions).

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