Coetzee lone SA player shortlisted for top European award

Marcell Coetzee (Getty Images)
Marcell Coetzee (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Leinster, Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92 dominate the 15-man shortlist for European Player of the Year which has been revealed by EPCR.

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Leinster, who are the No 1-ranked club heading into the Champions Cup quarter-finals, see Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose included.

Meanwhile, in-form trio Finn Russell, Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa feature for Racing, and Exeter have Luke Cowan-Dickie, Stuart Hogg and Sam Simmonds in the star-studded list.

The Toulouse pair of Jerome Kaino and Romain Ntamack get the vote along with Marcell Coetzee and John Cooney, who have been included on the back of their outstanding displays for Ulster during the pool stage.

Clermont Auvergne centre George Moala is also nominated, while the brilliant Semi Radradra completes the list on behalf of Challenge Cup quarter-finalists Bordeaux-Bègles.

The winner of one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game will receive a specially-struck gold medal, as well as the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.

The list will be reduced to five players in early May following the Champions Cup and Challenge 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.

The voting will then reopen and the winner of the 2020 award will be announced following the Champions Cup final at the Stade Vélodrome, Marseille on Saturday, May 23.

EPCR European Player of the Year 2020 award nominees:

Marcell Coetzee (Ulster Rugby)
John Cooney (Ulster Rugby)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs)
Jerome Kaino (Toulouse)
Jordan Larmour (Leinster Rugby)
George Moala (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain Ntamack (Toulouse)
Semi Radradra (Bordeaux-Bègles)
Garry Ringrose (Leinster Rugby)
Finn Russell (Racing 92)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)
Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92)

Roll of honour:

2019 - Alex Goode (Saracens)

2018 - Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)

2017 - Owen Farrell (Saracens)

2016 - Maro Itoje (Saracens)

2015 - Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne)

2014 - Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon)

2013 - Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)

2012 - Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby)

2011 - Sean O’Brien (Leinster Rugby)

2010 - Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of first 15 years of European professional club competitions)

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