Heaslip's European form earns award nomination
Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip has received some individual consolation from his side's doomed Champions Cup campaign after being revealed as one of five nominees for the tournament's Player of the Year award.
Ever-present during Leinster's push to the Marseille semi-final, where they went close to upsetting Toulon's dream of three titles in a row, Heaslip led his side with some strong ball-carrying - he was number one in the tournament stats - and uncompromising defence.
Like his team, though, he is certain to fall short with the trio of finalists - last year's winner Toulon's Steffon Armitage and Clermont duo Nick Abendanon and Fritz Lee - clearly now favourites to battle it out for the ultimate award.
Heaslip's fellow beaten finalist and No 8, Saracens' English international Billy Vunipola, is the other player on the five-man shortlist released by tournament organisers, EPCR.
In a change to previous editions, the 40 clubs in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for the shortlist of contenders, while supporters can also have their say on a variety of social media platforms.
Armitage's brother, full-back/wing Delon, will miss the Champions Cup final on Saturday week after fracturing his hand.