Three Ireland internationals included in the 15 nominations for EPCR gong

Ireland international half-back pairing Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are among the 15 players nominated for the 2018 EPCR European Player of the Year award.

There's a total of five players from the Irish provinces in the running for the award with Murray the only non-Leinster man included, of that quintet.

Leinster lock Scott Fardy's been rewarded for his tremendous season so far in which he has become a real lynchpin in the Blues team while skipper Isa Nacewa has also got the nod.

Ireland and Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong may be regarded as a favourite by many with the 25-year-old a major contributing factor in his province progressing from the Champions Cup pool stages as the only unbeaten team.

Munster-bound Scarlets second row Tadhg Beirne has also been included in the list along with his team-mate Gareth Davies.

Owen Farrell of Saracens, who received the inaugural Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy as well as one million air miles from Turkish Airlines, is included once again.

There's been three previous Irish winners of the award with former Munster outhalf Ronan O'Gara winning the first one in 2010 before Leinster duo Sean O'Brien (2011) and Rob Kearney (2012), who was the last man from these parts to get it.

Voting for the award is open now on and fans will be in the running to win two VIP tickets to the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals in Bilbao next May with one night's accommodation courtesy of EPCR.
The list will be reduced to five players in April following the Champions Cup semi-finals by a combination of the public vote and the verdict of the panel of judges. The voting will then be reopened and the winner of the 2018 award will be announced after the Champions Cup final in Bilbao on Saturday, 12 May.
EPCR European Player of the Year award 2018 nominees
Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets)
Levani Botia (La Rochelle)
Gareth Davies (Scarlets)
Scott Fardy (Leinster Rugby)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby)
Conor Murray (Munster Rugby)
Isa Nacewa (Leinster Rugby)
Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Morgan Parra (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Dany Priso (La Rochelle)
Alivereti Raka (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster Rugby)
Josua Tuisova (RC Toulon)
Victor Vito (La Rochelle)

Judging Panel: Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports/The Sunday Times), Chris Jones (BBC Radio 5 Live), Matthieu Lartot (France Télévisions), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique), Brian O'Driscoll (BT Sport), Dimitri Yachvili (beIN Sports).
Roll of Honour - 2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens); 2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens);2015: Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne); 2014: Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon); 2013: Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon); 2012: Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby); 2011: Sean O'Brien (Leinster Rugby); 2010: Ronan O'Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of first 15 years of European club competitions)