Forgotten Bok wing on 15-man shortlist for European Player of the Year award

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Raymond Rhule in action for La Rochelle in the Champions Cup.  (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)
Raymond Rhule in action for La Rochelle in the Champions Cup. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Springbok wing Raymond Rhule features on a list of 15 nominees for the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year 2021 award.

Rhule, who played seven Tests for the Boks in 2017, currently plies his trade at French Top 14 club La Rochelle where he's been in scintillating form.

Rhule initially made his mark in South Africa for the Cheetahs between 2012 and 2017. The 28-year-old also played for the Stormers in 2018 but fell out of favour with the national selectors before heading abroad.

He joined French PRO D2 club Grenoble in 2018 before signing with La Rochelle last June.

La Rochelle, who recently booked a spot in the Champions Cup semi-finals for the first time, have four more players on the list: Gregory Alldritt, Levani Botia, Kevin Gourdon and Will Skelton.

They also currently occupy second position on the Top 14 standings.

Rugby fans can vote (CLICK HERE) for their preferred candidate and the 15 players will then be trimmed down to just five after the Champions Cup semi-finals at the beginning of May, before voting will re-open.

The opinions of the fans will be combined with the expertise of a prominent panel of pundits working on the tournaments.

Former Springbok wing Bryan Habana, who does commentary for Channel4, is on the voting panel alongside Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media) and Dimitri Yachvili (France Televisions).

EPCR European Player of the Year 2021 award nominees:

Grégory Alldritt (La Rochelle)
Levani Botia (La Rochelle)
Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Kevin Gourdon (La Rochelle)
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby)
Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux-Begles)
Jerome Kaino (Toulouse)
Hugo Keenan (Leinster Rugby)
Julien Marchand (Toulouse)
Kotaro Matsushima (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Romain Ntamack (Toulouse)
Raymond Rhule (La Rochelle)
Will Skelton (La Rochelle)
Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby)

Roll of Honour - 2020: Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs); 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 - best player of first 15 years of European professional club competitions).

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