The ERC has announced the longlist for the prestigious ERC European Player of the Year 2014 award, featuring 15 players.
Selected by a distinguished panel of rugby experts, the longlist for one of the most prized individual accolades in the game includes players from the 44 clubs competing in the 2013/14 tournaments.
The search to select a successor to the Toulon captain, Jonny Wilkinson, who guided the French club to an historic first Heineken Cup success last season, was based on player performances during the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Ulster Rugby's prolific points scorer, Ruan Pienaar, who made the longlist both last season and in 2012, and Steffon Armitage of Toulon, who was also nominated last season, are included again along with Wilkinson.
The Judging Panel will also have the option to consider additional players who make major contributions during the knockout stages of both tournaments before announcing a five-man shortlist.