/ Rugby

Leinster and Ulster dominate Player of the Year nominations

Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2012 08:16 | Comments

Stephen Ferris celebrates Ulster's quarter-final victory over Munster
Stephen Ferris celebrates Ulster's quarter-final victory over Munster

Two players from Leinster and two from Ulster have been named on the shortlist for the ERC European Player of the Year 2012.

Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney and Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar and Stephen Ferris are nominated alongside Toulon’s Jonny Wilkinson.

Leinster take on Ulster in the Heineken Cup final on Saturday, while Toulon play Biarritz in the Amlin Challenge Cup final.

The winner will be announced next week.

The judging panel comprised of Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Raphael Ibanez (2011/12 Heineken Cup Ambassador), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique) and Gerry Thornley (Irish Times).

Ferris has been in outstanding form for Ulster in their thrilling run to a first Heineken Cup final in 13 years, which included victory over Munster in the quarter-finals at Thomond Park.

Kearney pushed himself into contention with two magnificent displays for Leinster in the knock-out stage wins over Cardiff and ASM Clermont Auvergne. The full-back scored two tries against the Blues at the Aviva Stadium before dropping a superb goal and creating a try for Cian Healy against Clermont in Bordeaux.

Ulster’s Pienaar has totalled 71 points in pool and knockout stages to date in a series of incredibly polished performances.

Sexton has been hugely impressive for Leinster with a personal haul of 88 points in this season’s Cup to date.

Wilkinson has been a key figure in Toulon’s powerful drive to a second Amlin Challenge Cup final with 27 points from seven penalties and two drop goals in the semi-final victory over Stade Francais Paris.

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