Steffon Armitage of Heineken Cup champions Toulon has been named ERC European Player of the Year 2014.
The dynamic 28-year-old back row was a key figure in Toulon's second Heineken Cup triumph in a row and not surprisingly was the number-one ranked player in the tournament statistics for turnovers won with a total of 19. He also featured in the top ten in the carries, tackles and defenders beaten categories.
Armitage was presented with a specially struck gold medal by ERC chief executive Derek McGrath.
"This is a great honour, and with us winning another Heineken Cup as well, everything has come together at the right time,” Armitage said.
"There are a lot of big names at Toulon, but we're like one big family and without my team-mates, this individual award wouldn't have been possible. Also, to follow in the footsteps of Jonny Wilkinson as a winner is really special.”
Armitage is now included in a list of illustrious players who have won the highest individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby.
Wilkinson, who captained Toulon to success at the Millennium Stadium, was last year's winner and previously the award went to Leinster's Rob Kearney in 2012, Leinster's Sean O'Brien in 2011 and to Munster's Ronan O'Gara who was the inaugural recipient in 2010 as the best player over the first 15 years of ERC's two tournaments.
The task of deciding on the leading player of the European season from the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup was undertaken by an expert panel which comprised: Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Mick Cleary (Daily Telegraph rugby correspondent), Marc Duzan (Midi Olympique), Emile Ntamack (three-time Heineken Cup winner) and Gerry Thornley (Irish Times rugby correspondent).