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Finalists dominate award shortlist

Heineken Cup finalists Leinster and Ulster provide four of the five players on the shortlist for this season's European Player of the Year Award.

The Irish provinces meet in Saturday's final at Twickenham, and both have two players in contention for the honour.

Ulster, who are in their first European final since their 1999 Heineken Cup triumph, have had scrum-half Ruan Pienaar and back-rower Stephen Ferris nominated, while full-back Rob Kearney and fly-half Jonathan Sexton have been shortlisted for the reigning champions.

The other nominee to succeed inaugural winner Sean O'Brien is Toulon's former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, after he helped boot the French club into Friday's Amlin Challenge Cup final where they will face Biarritz.

The winner of the award will be announced next week.

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From Belfast Telegraph