Two Ulster Stars Receive Nomination for European Player of the Year

Two Ulster Stars Receive Nomination for European Player of the Year The European Player of the Year Award is an accolade that is given out by the European Professional Club […]

Two Ulster Stars Receive Nomination for European Player of the Year

The European Player of the Year Award is an accolade that is given out by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) governing body. It was first introduced in 2010, being created as a way of recognising outstanding contributors to the first 15 years of European rugby. Ronan O’Gara was the first recipient of it, and the Player of the Year Award became something that was handed out annually.
Now, two Ulster rugby players have been nominated to receive the Player of the Year Award for the 2020 season. Scrum-half John Cooney is the first, while back-row player Marcell Coetzee makes up the second. Together, they have made up the shortlist of 15 players to be on the receiving end of the coveted award. In previous years, high-profile players like Johnny Wilkinson and Maro Itoje have been winners of the award, too.
In terms of Cooney, he has been tipped as the player to become Ireland’s starting number nine when the Six Nations Championship takes place. He only became a part of the northern province in 2017, but has seen a swift rise to the top in that timeframe. Within 15 games, he has scored 165 points, including nine tries. The 29-year-old has managed to excel in his role for Ulster, with thanks being given to head coach Dan McFarland who came on board in 2018.
If Cooney does manage to claim the Player of the Year Award for the 2020 season, that could not only boost his won status, but that of Ulster as well. No doubt many bettors will find themselves wagering on who will claim the award, with platforms like 888Sport being a location for them to do that on. Plus, there’s the 888Sport app, which allows bettors to place their bets from anywhere using their smartphone or tablet.
Coetzee Looks to Go One Step Further
On the other hand, Coetzee was named the Rugby Writers Player of the Year in Ulster for the 18/19 season, so he could be looking to go above and beyond with the nomination for European Player of the Year. He has suffered through a nagging ankle injury, which has kept him away from being a World Cup winner. It seemed as though he would be taking up a position on the South African squad after battling back from a knee injury, only to find himself ruled out when an injury struck during a warm-up win against Argentina.
Regardless of which, Coetzee would make a triumphant return to Ulster in October, showing why he deserves to be a competitor for Player of the Year. He scored his first try against Bath earlier on in January, impressing fans and teammates alike.
Others looking to receive the coveted award include Tadhg Furlong, Jordan Larmour and Garry Ringrose of Leinster, as well as Finn Ruseell, Teddy Thomas and Virimi Vakatawa of Racing 92. They are joined by three players from the Exeter Chiefs in Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Stuart Hogg.
The winner is to be announced during the Heineken Champions Cup Final held in Marseille on Saturday, May 23. Last year’s winner was Alex Goode of the Saracens.