Four Irish players nominated for European Player of the Year
Marcell Coetzee joins John Cooney on the shortlist with Finn Russell also named
John Cooney is among the nominees for European Player of the Year. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Four Irish players have been named among the 15 nominees for the 2020 European Player of the Year award, including Ulster scrumhalf John Cooney.
Leinster, who qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup after winning all six of their pool fixtures, are well represented with Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose named on the shortlist.
Cooney’s Ulster teammate Marcell Coetzee has also been selected, following a string of impressive performances in the backrow.
There is also a place for Racing 92 outhalf Finn Russell, who was recently stood down from the Scotland Six Nations squad for disciplinary reasons.
He is joined on the list by Racing teammates Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa. Exeter Chiefs have received three nomintations, and four-time winners Toulouse receiving two.
Defending European champions Saracens, who are facing relegation from the English Premiership due to a breach of salary cap rules, are not represented.
The award shortlist will be clipped to five players in early May following the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals. The winner of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy will be announced after the Champions Cup final in Marseille on May 23rd.
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)