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Launchbury longlisted for major award

Joe Launchbury has been named among the contenders in the longlist for the prestigious ERC European Player of the Year 2013 award.

Launchbury is the only player in the 15-man group who is competing in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Selected by a distinguished panel of rugby experts, the longlist for one of the most prized individual accolades in the game includes 15 outstanding players from the 44 clubs competing in the 2012/13 tournaments.

The beginning of the search to select a successor to Leinster Rugby’s Rob Kearney, who won the ERC European Player of the Year award last season, was based on player performances during the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Wesley Fofana of ASM Clermont Auvergne, the Harlequins’ full back, Mike Brown, Owen Farrell of Saracens and Ulster Rugby's Ruan Pienaar, all who made last year’s longlist, are included again.

The Judging Panel will also have the option to consider additional players who make major 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 finals in Dublin next May.

In addition to the decision of the panel, the 44 clubs in the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for contenders nominated on the ERC European Player of the Year 2013 shortlist while supporters can also have their say on Twitter using #ERCPlayer2013, and on the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Facebook pages.

The Judging Panel for this season’s award is: Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Will Greenwood (Daily Telegraph, World Cup winner and two-time Challenge Cup winner), Stephen Jones (Rugby Correspondent, Sunday Times), Emmanuel Massicard (Editor, Midi Olympique) and Gerry Thornley (Rugby Correspondent, Irish Times).

A shortlist of five players will be announced following the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals (26/27/28 April) and the ERC European Player of the Year 2013 will be selected after the Dublin finals weekend of 17/18 May.


ERC European Player of the Year 2013 Longlist
(based on performances in the pool stages)
Steffon Armitage (Toulon)
Rory Best (Ulster Rugby)
Julien Bonnaire (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
Wesley Fofana (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier)
Charlie Hodgson ((Saracens)
James Johnston (Harlequins)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Morgan Parra (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers)
Ruan Pienar (Ulster Rugby)
Simon Zebo (Munster Rugby)

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