Eight Irish earn nominations for top EPCR award
Eight Irish players have been included among the 15 nominees for EPCR European Player of the Year following the conclusion of the Champions Cup pool stage.
For the first time since 2013/'14, Leinster, Munster and Ulster have all qualified for the quarter-finals and all three provinces have a representative on the shortlist.
Champions Leinster supply three players, with Seán Cronin, Garry Ringrose and Tadhg Furlong making the cut - although there is no room for star second-row James Ryan.
Munster also have three players included with captain Peter O'Mahony joined by summer signings Tadhg Beirne and Joey Carbery, while Ulster's Jacob Stockdale also got the nod. Simon Zebo, who has excelled for Racing 92 this season, is the eighth Irishman included.
The list will be reduced to five players following the Champions Cup semi-finals in April, although players who make a big impact in the knockout stages can be considered even if they weren't included on today's 15-man shortlist.
The judging panel consists of Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Chris Jones (BBC Radio 5 Live), Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Brian O'Driscoll (BT Sport) and Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports).
Rob Kearney (2012) and Seán O'Brien (2011) are former Irish winners of the prize.
EPCR European Player of the Year award 2019 nominees
Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery, Peter O'Mahony (all Munster); Seán Cronin, Garry Ringrose, Tadhg Furlong (all Leinster); Leone Nakarawa, Finn Russell, Simon Zebo (all Racing 92); Alex Goode, Mako Vunipola (both Saracens); Cheslin Kolbe, Antoine Dupont (both Toulouse); Jacob Stockdale (Ulster); Viliame Mata (Edinburgh)