Ulster Rugby: Ruan Pienaar nominated for European Player of the Year for third season in row
Ulster Rugby scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar has been nominated for European Player of the Year award for the third season in a row.
The South African was the only Ulster player to make the list.
Leinster's Cian Healy and Munster's Paul O'Connell and Peter Mahoney have also been nominated.
The top player of the year is chosen by a panel of rugby experts, with 15 making it to this year's longlist.
The search to select a successor to the Toulon captain, and former England ace, Jonny Wilkinson.
He guided the French club to an historic first Heineken Cup success last season.
The full list is as follows:
Steffon Armitage (Toulon)
Miles Benjamin (Leicester Tigers)
Sean Cronin (Leinster Rugby)
Jean-Marc Doussain (Toulouse)
Matt Giteau (Toulon)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Cian Healy (Leinster Rugby)
Fritz Lee (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
George North (Northampton Saints)
Paul O'Connell (Munster Rugby)
Peter O'Mahony (Munster Rugby)
Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)
Ruan Pienaar (Ulster Rugby)
Sitiveni Sivivatu (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon)
Belfast Telegraph Digital