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Challenge Cup

European Player of the Year Nominees Announced

Following the conclusion of the pool stages of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup a 15-man strong shortlist for 2020’s Player of the Year has been confirmed

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(Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The EPCR European Player of the Year nominations for 2020 have been announced, with 15 players being shortlisted from the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

Among the 15 players three teams have three nominations each with last season’s Champions Cup runners-up Leinster seeing Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Furlong nominated. While Exeter Chiefs have Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Stuart Hogg among the shortlist. 

Racing 92 are the only other team to have three nominees being represented by Finn Russell, Virimi Vakatawa and Teddy Thomas. 

Ulster and Toulouse have picked up two nominations each with the Irish province having John Cooney and Marcell Coetzee on list, while Jerome Kaino and Romain Ntamack are included from the French giants. 

Clermont Auvergne centre George Moala is the final player on the list from the Champions Cup, while the only player from the Challenge Cup to be considered is Bordeaux-Begles Flying-Fijian Semi Radradra. 

Last season’s Champions Cup winners Saracens have had no players nominated, however, there is still a chance that players could be drafted into the nominations should they make a significant impact during the knockout-stages of the competition. 

The initial list of 15-players will be reduced to just five come the conclusion of the semi-final stage of the tournaments, with public voting and a judges vote combining to determine the results. 

Among the panel of judges this year are former Ireland stars Brian O’Driscoll and Alan Quinlan, along with the likes of Dimitri Yachvili, Bryan Habana and Erik Bonneval. 

The overall winner of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy will be announced following the conclusion of this year’s Champions Cup final at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Saturday the 23rd of May. 

Check Out the Full 15-Man Shortlist Below. 

Marcell COETZEE (Ulster Rugby)

John COONEY (Ulster Rugby)

Luke COWAN-DICKIE (Exeter Chiefs)

Tadhg FURLONG (Leinster Rugby)

Stuart HOGG (Exeter Chiefs)

Jerome KAINO (Toulouse)

Jordan LARMOUR (Leinster Rugby)

George MOALA (ASM Clermont Auvergne)

Romain NTAMACK (Toulouse)

Semi RADRADRA (Bordeaux-Bègles)

Garry RINGROSE (Leinster Rugby)

Finn RUSSELL (Racing 92)

Sam SIMMONDS (Exeter Chiefs)

Teddy THOMAS (Racing 92)

Virimi VAKATAWA (Racing 92)

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Challenge Cup

Leicester Tigers’ Challenge Cup Final line-up named

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad for the European Challenge Cup Final against Montpellier at Twickenham Stadium.

Tom Youngs will captain the side, starting alongside Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the Leicester front row, with Harry Wells and Calum Green as the second-row pairing.

Cyle Brink is at openside flanker, joining Hanro Liebenberg and Jasper Wiese in the Leicester back row.

“Our fans have been incredibly supportive from afar and we’re pleased they have the chance to enjoy some live rugby in the upcoming weeks, starting on Friday night at Twickenham”

Richard Wigglesworth starts at scrum-half, joining fly-half George Ford as the half-backs for Tigers, and Dan Kelly links with Matías Moroni in the Leicester midfield.

Guy Porter, Nemani Nadolo and Freddie Steward make up an unchanged Tigers back-three from the win over Harlequins last weekend.

Charlie Clare, Luan de Bruin, Cameron Henderson and Tommy Reffell are the forwards on the Leicester bench, with Ben Youngs, Zack Henry and Kini Murimurivalu as the replacement backs.

Speaking about the matchday squad named, Borthwick said: “It has been a squad-wide effort to get to this Final, with more than 40 players representing Leicester Tigers in the European Challenge Cup this season.

“On Friday night, these 23 players have the privilege of representing everyone involved at Tigers, our supporters and Leicestershire.”

Previewing the Final, the Tigers head coach added: “Montpellier are one of the game’s most well-resourced clubs and have invested heavily in building this star-studded squad.

“We know the challenge that awaits us on Friday night at Twickenham and we’re excited for the opportunity at this point on our journey as a squad.”

The Tigers head coach is also pleased that the game will be open to the club’s support for the first time since February last year.

“We haven’t shared a matchday with Tigers supporters for more than a year and are excited that we get that chance again on Friday night,” he said.

“Our fans have been incredibly supportive from afar and we’re pleased they have the chance to enjoy some live rugby in the upcoming weeks, starting on Friday night at Twickenham.

“I’m very pleased our players get the chance to play in front of Tigers fans again after so long.

“In every game we go out to put in a performance that our entire Tigers community is proud of, and that is what I will be asking of the players again this week.”

Source – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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Challenge Cup

Ulster name side for European Semi

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to face Leicester Tigers in the Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday (Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium, 8pm kick-off).

The starting team sees five changes to the side that featured in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup opener against Connacht last Friday. Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore return to the starting front row, while Rob Herring is retained at hooker. Iain Henderson will captain the side and is joined by Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Matty Rea retains his starting berth at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy returning to the openside position, and Nick Timoney completing the base of the pack at Number Eight.

The starting back three remains unchanged; Jacob Stockdale is named at full-back, with Ethan McIlroy and Robert Baloucoune on the wings. Stuart McCloskey comes back into midfield to pair up with James Hume. John Cooney starts at scrum-half with Billy Burns at fly-half.

Providing the forward reinforcements from the bench are John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Sean Reidy. Alby Mathewson, Michael Lowry and Will Addison will offer back line cover.

Ulster team to play Leicester Tigers, Challenge Cup Semi-Final, Friday 30 April at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN SPORTS):

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matty Rea, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Alby Mathewson, Michael Lowry, Will Addison.

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Challenge Cup

Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the trip to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday (kick-off 8pm).

Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.

In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.

Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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