With the final weekend of European Rugby approaching the ERC have shortlisted five players who are in contention for receiving the prestigious award
Irish clubs Leinster and Ulster are set to square off in the Heineken Cup final this week end. Therefore it is no surprise that four players from both sides have been shortlisted to receive the award. For Leinster Jonathon Sexton and Rob Kearney have been named, while Ulster has Stephen Ferris and Ruan Pienaar named in contention to receive the award. RC Toulon’s talisman Jonny Wilkinson was the fifth player named who is in with a chance to receive the honour.
The ERC Judging Panel who comprised this list is Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Raphael Ibanez (2011/12 Heineken Cup Ambassador), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique) and Gerry Thornley (Irish Times).
Ferris, Pienaar and Sexton were initially shortlisted for the award following the pool campaigns in both tournaments. Twelve other players were also drawn up in this list. After the knock out stages had begun the panel shortlisted the group based on players who had made major individual contributions in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup. Following stand-out performances for their respective clubs, Kearney and Wilkinson in particular, emerged as candidates.
These five players have been judged on their performances in the pool and knockout stages of both tournaments. The panel has decided that these were the five stand out individuals, one of whom will be announced next week as ERC European Player of the Year 2012.
Shortlist of candidates for ERC European Player of the Year 2012
(Back row, Ulster Rugby)
(Full-back, Leinster Rugby)
(Scrum-half, Ulster Rugby)
(Out-half, Leinster Rugby)
(Out-half, RC Toulon)