THE longlist for European Rugby Player of the Year has been announced – and two Irishmen have made the cut.
Leinster’s Ian Madigan and Jamie Heaslip have been included on the initial list of 15 of ECPR’s nominees.
Madigan’s attacking play has been “sensational” according to ECPR. The fly-half is also the Champions Cup top scorer to date with 80 points under his belt.
Heaslip, meanwhile, impressed with 83 carries over six games. ECPR described the number 8 as “the ultimate leader by example”.
Last year’s winner, Steffon Armitage of RC Toulon has once again been included in the list of hopefuls.
The panel of judges will now be tasked with cutting the list down to just five names before announcing the winner in early May.
The full list:
- Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
- Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon)
- Chris Ashton (Saracens)
- Jamie Heaslip (Leinster Rugby)
- Juan Imhoff (Racing Metro 92)
- Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
- Fritz Lee (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
- Camille Lopez (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
- Ian Madigan (Leinster Rugby)
- George North (Northampton Saints)
- Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro 92)
- Aurélien Rougerie (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
- Nicolas Sanchez (RC Toulon)
- Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing Metro 92)
- Billy Vunipola (Saracens)