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European Rugby
Irish trio head up ERC awards shortlist
ESPN Staff
May 15, 2012
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar celebrates with some fans, Ulster v Edinburgh, Heineken Cup semi-final, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, April 28, 2012
Ruan Pienaar shone for Ulster in the semi-final win over Edinburgh © Getty Images
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The ERC have named their five-man shortlist for the prestigious ERC European Player of the Year 2012 award.

The list is dominated by representatives from both of the teams to make this season's Heineken Cup final. Leinster are represented by fly-half Jonathan Sexton and fullback Rob Kearney while Ulster's flanker Stephen Ferris and scrum-half Ruan Pienaar provide their representation.

All four have played key roles in their club's charge to the Heineken Cup final which will be contested on Saturday. And they are joined on the five-man shortlist by Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson.

Ferris has been in superb form throughout the Heineken Cup while Pienaar put in a man of the match-winning shift in the semi-finals to guide Ulster past Edinburgh. Sexton has slotted 88 points for Leinster so far this year in the tournament while Kearney scored two tries for the reigning champions in their quarter-final win over the Cardiff Blues and also kicked a superb drop-goal in their win over Clermont.

Wilkinson, meanwhile, has helped guide Toulon to the final of the Amlin Challenge Cup where they face Biarritz on Friday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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