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Fardy and Furlong join Sexton in European Player of the Year shortlist

There are two Racing players in the five-man shortlist, Fiji lock Leone Nakarawa and French scrum-half Maxime Machenaud.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

CHAMPIONS CUP ORGANISERS EPCR have this morning unveiled the five-man shortlist for the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy ahead of the final on 12 May.

After their semi-final win over Scarlets, Leinster have three representatives in the trimmed-down selection for European Player of the Year as Jonathan Sexton, Tadhg Furlong and Scott Fardy are rewarded for their efforts in driving the province to Bilbao.

After the gong was lifted by Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje in recent seasons, Racing 92 will hope to bridge a three-year gap since the award went the way of a French club. Captain Maxime Machenaud (who was not on the original longlist, but could now become the first Frenchman to win) and playmaking second row Leone Nakarawa fill the two remaining places.

The original longlist of 15 names released in January has been naturally whittled down as teams exit the tournament.

Conor Murray and Tadhg Beirne are among those now out of the running to join Rob Kearney, Sean O’Brien and Ronan O’Gara as Irish winners of the award. Leinster captain Isa Nacewa is the only man from the original longlist who is still in the competition and not among those shortlisted.

The shortlist was decided on by combination of public vote and a judging panel which included Stuart Barnes, Brian O’Driscoll and Dimitri Yachvili. Public voting is now open via this link.

Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy 2018 shortlist

Scott Fardy (Leinster Rugby)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)
Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Johnny Sexton (Leinster Rugby)

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Sean Farrell

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