18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
Michael Cheika knows all about what it takes to win in Europe having guided Leinster to their first Heineken Cup triumph and his Stade Français Paris side look determined to go one better than their Amlin Challenge Cup final defeat at the hands of Harlequins last season.
They top Pool 1 with two wins and nine points, while the 2010 runners-up Toulon are locked on nine points with Newcastle Falcons in Pool 2. Toulon have recruited the vastly experienced England and British & Irish Lions lock Simon Shaw this season and he knows all about winning in Europe with two Heineken Cup and one Amlin Challenge Cup winners medals to his credit.
The Falcons also have a wealth of experience in the Amlin Challenge Cup and are looking to shed their bridesmaid tag having reached the semi-finals in 1998, 2001, 2006 and 2008 without ever reaching the final stage. They go head-to-head with Toulon in the December rounds, with the prospect of Jonny Wilkinson returning to Kingston Park on Thursday, 8 December.
London Wasps have a maximum 10 points to their credit in Pool 3 and are seeking their fourth European title having won the Heineken Cup in 2004 and 2007 and the Amlin Challenge Cup in 2003. Their back-to-back games next month with the other unbeaten team in their Pool, Bayonne, will be vital.
Newport Gwent Dragons upset Perpignan at Rodney Parade in Round 2 and sit proudly on top with two from two, while the 1997 Heineken Cup winners Brive are leading the way in Pool 5.