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Leinster/Saracens dominate Euro award list

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Leinster and Saracens account for all five names on European award shortlist

Champions Cup finalists Leinster and Saracens have been rewarded for some individual outstanding performances that have brought their clubs to next month’s decider in Newcastle, as the two finalists dominate 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, while Saracens’ Alex Goode and Mako Vunipola are looking to follow in the footsteps of Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell, winners in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The 15 initial nominees from the pool stage 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.

EPCR European Player of the Year 2019 shortlist
Sean Cronin (Leinster Rugby)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster Rugby)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Players from seven different clubs and all three European professional leagues were initially among the 15 nominees for the prestigious award in January,

Last season’s winner, Leone Nakarawa, who played a key role in Racing 92’s qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, was nominated along with his team-mates, Finn Russell and Simon Zebo.

Toulouse, who went on to defeat Racing in an intriguing all-French quarter-final, had Antoine Dupont and Cheslin Kolbe on the long list. The other names to feature were Edinburgh’s Viliame Mata, Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale, and Munster’s Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery and Peter O’Mahony.

2018/19 panel of judges: Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Chris Jones (BBC Radio 5 Live), Mathieu Lartot (France Télévisions), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Brian O’Driscoll (BT Sport), Dimitri Yachvili (beIN SPORTS).

Roll of Honour
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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Leinster and Saracens account for all five names on European award shortlist