European Player of the Year revealed

Sun, 13 May 2018 19:12
Large leone nakarawa 800

CHAMPIONS CUP SPOTLIGHT: Leone Nakarawa has been rewarded for an outstanding European campaign by being named EPCR European Player of the Year for 2018.

The big Fijian lock helped Racing 92 reach the Champions Cup final in which they were narrowly defeated by Leinster at Bilbao’s San Mamés Stadium.

To scoop the award Nakarawa fought off Racing teammate Maxime Machenaud along with Leinster’s star trio of Scott Fardy, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton to become the first Top 14 player to win the award since 2015. His performances in the Champions Cup received widespread acclaim throughout the season with his try in Racing’s quarter-final win at Clermont voted as the best of the knockout rounds on ChampionsCupRugby.com.

Nakarawa is in elite company, with previous winners of the award including the likes of Owen Farrell, Jonny Wilkinson and Ronan O’Gara.

The 30-year-old Fijian has been with Racing since 2016, joining the French side after three years with Glasgow Warriors.

On top of his 47 appearances for his native Fiji, the athletic lock is also an Olympic gold medal winner, scoring a try in the 2016 Summer Olympics gold medal match against Great Britain.

Roll of Honour
 2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
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)

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