Jan 27, 2015
Ashton & Vunipola up for EPRC gong
Saracens duo Chris Ashton and Billy Vunipola have been shortlisted for the EPRC European Player of the Year for 2015.
Selected by a distinguished panel of rugby experts including European Cup winner, Alan Quinlan, and Challenge Cup winner, Dimitri Yachvili, the longlist for one of the most prized individual accolades in the world game includes 15 players who have performed outstandingly during the 2014/15 season to date.
Last season's top try scorer in Europe, Chris Ashton has once again been in razor sharp form crossing four times in Saracens' push to the quarter-finals. The prolific wing is joined by Saracens bulldozing back rower Billy Vunipola on the 15 man list. Back to his barnstorming best for Saracens, Vunipola has been in dominant mood, and was back to his imperious best in the comprehensive Round 5 victory over Munster earlier this month.
Last season's winner, Steffon Armitage of RC Toulon, is nominated once again, along with Northampton Saints' George North and Fritz Lee of ASM Clermont Auvergne who made the 2014 longlist. Saracens' prolific try scorer, Chris Ashton, who made last season's five-man shortlist, is also included on this occasion.
The panel of judges will then have the option to consider additional players who make major contributions during the knockout stages of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup before announcing a five-man shortlist following the semi-finals with the overall winner named directly after EPCR's finals in London in early May.
In addition to the decision of the judges, the 40 clubs in the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for contenders in the eventual shortlist while supporters can also have their say on Twitter using #EPCRPlayer2015, and on the tournament Facebook pages.
EPCR European Player of the Year 2015 longlist
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)