Apr 30, 2014
Trio up for ERC award
Chris Ashton, Schalk Brits and Jacques Burger have been shortlisted for the 2014 ERC European Player of the Year award.
Along with the Saracens trio Toulon's Steffon Armitage and last season's winner, Jonny Wilkinson are also shortlisted. All played key roles in their clubs' semi-final victories last weekend, and the five are now vying for the coveted award with the 2014 winner set to be announced shortly after next month's Cardiff finals.
The judging panel selected a longlist of 15 players which included Armitage and Wilkinson based on performances during the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The panel then had the option to consider players who made major contributions during the quarter-finals and semi-finals and that basis, Ashton, Brits and Burger have forced their way into the shortlist following their outstanding performances in Saracens' knockout stage wins over Ulster Rugby and ASM Clermont Auvergne.
In addition to the decision of the panel, the 44 clubs in the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for the candidates on the shortlist while European club rugby fans can also have their say on Twitter using #ERCPlayer2014, as well as on the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Facebook pages.
Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Mick Cleary (Daily Telegraph Rugby Correspondent), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Emile Ntamack (three-time Heineken Cup winner) and Gerry Thornley (Irish Times Rugby Correspondent)
Ronan O'Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of the first 15 years of ERC's tournaments); Sean O'Brien (Leinster Rugby) 2011; Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby) 2012; Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon) 2013