21 Jan 14
Following the conclusion of the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, ERC has announced the longlist for the prestigious ERC European Player of the Year 2014 award.
Recognised as one of the most prestigious individual accolades in the game, the ERC European Player of the Year honours the best player of the European club rugby season from both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments.
The selection process begins in January when a panel of rugby experts nominates a longlist of 15 contenders based on the pool stage performances of players from the 44 clubs in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.
The panel also has the option to consider additional players who make outstanding contributions during the knockout stages of both tournaments before announcing a five-man shortlist following the semi-finals with the overall winner named directly after the ERC European club rugby finals weekend in May.
In addition to the decision of the panel, the 44 clubs in ERC's tournaments are given the opportunity to vote for contenders on the shortlist while supporters can also have their say on Twitter using #ERCPlayer and on the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Facebook pages.
In 2010 ERC launched the ERC15 Awards, recognising the outstanding contributors to the first decade and a half of European competition. The inaugural recipient of the ERC European Player Award, as the best player over the first 15 years of these tournaments, was Munster Rugby's Ronan O'Gara. For the 2010/11 season, ERC moved to present annual award.