Josh van der Flier named as European player of the year

Josh van der Flier

Leinster were unable to add a fifth Heineken Champions Cup title to their collection, although Josh van der Flier did pick up the EPCR European player of the year award.

La Rochelle were crowned as European champions for the first time at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, as a last-gasp try from replacement scrum-half Arthur Retiere clinched a 24-21 victory over Leinster for the French club.

Although he was on the losing side, Leinster flanker Van der Flier was named as the European player of the year after the match, beating team mates Caelan Doris and James Lowe, as well as La Rochelle’s Gregory Alldrit and Toulouse’s Antoine Dupont.

Josh van der Flier becomes third Leinster player to win the award.

The winner was chosen from the five nominees by way of public vote, combined with the verdict of a panel of judges.

Over 30,000 votes were registered online, while the judges panel was made up of former France international Eric Bonneval, former Toulon and South Africa winger Bryan Habana, former Munster and Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan, former France and Biarritz scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and journalist Lee Mckenzie.

Van der Flier is the third Leinster player to be presented with the award, after Sean O’Brien and Rob Kearney were named as European players of the year in 2011 and 2012.

The winner is presented with the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy, named after the Munster and Ireland legend who sadly passed away in 2016.

Full list of winners.

2022: Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby)
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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