Euro player of year award named in memory of Foley

Anthony Foley (Getty)
Anthony Foley (Getty)

Edinburgh - The winner of the European Professional Club Rugby player of the year award will receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy in honour of the late Munster and Ireland great, officials announced on Saturday.

Munster coach Foley died suddenly in Paris in October aged 42 just hours before the Irish province were due to play their first European Champions Cup match of the season against Racing 92.

Former backrow forward Foley was previously a mainstay of the side that helped Munster become a major force in the European game.

With the agreement of the Foley family and Munster, EPCR has commissioned a trophy to honour his contribution to European rugby union.

The award winner will be selected by a combination of public vote and a panel of rugby experts. He will receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy in addition to a medal and one million air miles from Turkish Airlines.

An announcement will be made following Saturday's European Rugby Champions Cup final between Clermont and title-holders Saracens at Murrayfield.

The five nominees are: Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje (both Saracens), Camille Lopez (Clermont), Garry Ringrose (Leinster) and CJ Stander (Munster)

"This is a fitting way to honour Anthony's memory," said EPCR chairperson Simon Halliday in a statement.

"He was a great player and a great leader as well as a galvanising force in Munster's European odyssey."

Former England international Halliday added: "I would like to thank the Foley family and Munster Rugby for allowing us to create this trophy for now and for the future."

Foley made 86 European Cup appearances for Munster, played in three finals and captained the side to their first final victory in 2006. He remains the province's top try scorer in Europe with 23.

He also played 62 times for Ireland, captaining his country on three occasions, before moving into coaching and eventually taking over at Munster in 2014.

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