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Leone In Top 5

Leone In Top 5
Racing 92 Leone Nakarawa wins lineout. Photo: Zimbio
May 12
11:00 2018

Leone Nakarawa could be­come the first Fijian to win the European player of the year award tomorrow.

And the Fiji Airways Flying Fi­jians lock forward could also be­come the first for his France Top 14 club, Racing 92.

Leinster and Racing 92 will play in the final of the Championship Cup in San Mamés Stadium, Bil­bao, Spain.

The Mokoisa, Tavuki, Kadavu na­tive and fellow teammate Maxime Machenaud have been shortlisted together with three Leinster play­ers Scott Fardy, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton.

The two clubs have been rewarded for their remarkable performance during the season.

The three Fijians in the Racing 92 team are Nakarawa, Jo Roko­coko and Virimi Vakatawa while Isa Nacewa will captain Leinster. Nacewa played for Fiji at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

Nakarawa’s Racing 92 will be playing either Toulouse or Lyon in the semifinal of the Top 14 com­petition on May 25 while Semi Radradra’s Toulon or Castres face Nemani Nadolo’s Toulon in the other semifinal.

All three players have been named by Coach John McKee in the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad for June internationals against Samoa, Tonga and Georgia at the ANZ Stadium.

Nakarawa has been rated highly in France with his strong offload­ing, solid carrying and smoking footwork all serious threats.

The lineout may be his key strength, but away from that he puts in a serious shift to get on the ball and put teammates in formi­dable attacking positions.

In defence, he can tackle solidly, win his own ball and show serious willingness at the breakdown.

Meanwhile,Australian Fardy got the nod following an outstanding man of the match performance against the Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.

Sexton scored a personal haul of 18 points in the semi-final taking him to 605 European Cup career points and sixth place on the all-time list.

The 15 nominees have been trimmed to five based on the com­bined verdict of a distinguished panel of rugby experts and the public vote.

Public voting is now open on ep­crugby.com and will close follow­ing the Champions Cup final at the San Mamés Stadium tomorrow.

The winner will receive the An­thony Foley Memorial Trophy.

Roll of Honour

2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens); 2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens); 2015: Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne); 2014: Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon); 2013: Jonny Wilkin­son (RC Toulon); 2012: Rob Kear­ney (Leinster)

2011: Sean O’Brien (Leinster);

2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster; Eu­ropean Player Award 1995-2010).

Edited by Anasilini Ratuva

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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