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Abendanon named player of the year

Clermont full-back Nick Abendanon has been named EPCR European Player of the Year 2015.

Abendanon has enjoyed an excellent debut campaign for the French outfit and scored a superb try in his side's 24-18 loss to Toulon in the European Champions Cup final on Saturday.

The 28-year-old, who started all of Clermont's nine European matches this season, fought off competition from fellow nominees Steffon Armitage (Toulon), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Fritz Lee (Clermont) and Billy Vunipola (Saracens) to win the award.

Abendanon said: "It's obviously a huge honour to receive this accolade, especially with the great players who have received it in years past.

"I want to thank everyone involved at Clermont for the help, support and character shown throughout the year.

"I realise that this is an individual award but it is, for me, a recognition of the players around me who have shown such resolve and endeavour during a tough European season.

"I would therefore like to accept it on behalf of the whole squad as a small consolation for Saturday's disappointment."

The announcement will give further ammunition to those who believe Abendanon should be included in England's 45-man training squad, which is announced later this month.

Abendanon has suffered from England's current selection policy which says players who play for clubs overseas should only be picked in "exceptional circumstances".

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