Monday 11 December 2017

Not a single Irish player shortlisted for European Player of the Year as the English dominate

Six of England's RBS 6 Nations and Grand Slam-winning squad are among the nominations for 2016 European player of the year.

Saracens quartet Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Billy Vunipola are joined by Harlequins back-row forward Jack Clifford and Wasps centre Elliot Daly on a 15-strong list.

No Irish players were included after none of the provinces advanced into the knockout rounds while Connacht was also shut-out despite an impressive Challenge Cup run.

No players based in Wales or Scotland were selected either.

Also nominated are the likes of Daly's Wasps colleagues Charles Piutau and George Smith, in addition to Exeter's prolific try-scoring number eight Thomas Waldrom, Northampton wing George North and Leicester's Vereniki Goneva.

The EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby) list is completed by Toulon's former England flanker and 2014 European player of the year Steffon Armitage, his club team-mate Guilhem Guirado, Racing 92's New Zealand World Cup winner Dan Carter and his Racing colleague Juan Imhoff.

The European Champions Cup semi-finals take place this weekend, with Wasps and Saracens clashing in Reading on Saturday, followed 24 hours later by Leicester facing Racing at Nottingham's City Ground.

The winner's identity will be revealed during next month's European finals weekend in Lyon.

Press Association

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