EPCR have announced a 15-man shortlist for European Player Of The Year.
All quarter-finalists, except the Glasgow Warriors, have representatives on the list.
The list is also dominated by Irish players who make up 53% of the total.
Last season’s winner, Leone Nakarawa, who played a key role in Racing 92’s qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, is nominated once again along with his teammates, Finn Russell and Simon Zebo, while No 1 ranked, Saracens, have two representatives in Alex Goode and Mako Vunipola following their 100% record in yet another impressive pool stage performance.
Toulouse, who face Racing 92 in an intriguing all-French quarter-final at the end of March, have Antoine Dupont and the livewire, Cheslin Kolbe, in the list, and not surprisingly, Edinburgh Rugby’s, Viliame Mata, is included on the back of several outstanding displays during the pool stage.
Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose are nominated from Heineken Champions Cup holders, Leinster Rugby, while Ulster Rugby’s try machine, Jacob Stockdale, also gets the vote of the expert panel of judges. Munster Rugby are able to match Leinster’s representation with Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery and club captain, Peter O’Mahony, featuring in the star-studded longlist.
EPCR European Player of the Year award 2019 nominees:
Tadhg Beirne (Munster Rugby)
Joey Carbery (Munster Rugby)
Sean Cronin (Leinster Rugby)
Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse)
Viliame Mata (Edinburgh Rugby)
Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Peter O’MAHONY (Munster Rugby)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster Rugby)
Finn Russell (Racing 92)
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster Rugby)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Simon Zebo (Racing 92)
The list will be reduced to five players in April following the Heineken Champions 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.