SIMON ZEBO HAS been included on the longlist for the 2013 ERC Player of the Year.
The Munster winger, who scored a weekend hat-trick against Racing Metro, has been named on the 15-man list along with Rory Best and Ruan Pienaar of Ulster.
Voting was based on player performances during the pool stages of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Wesley Fofana of ASM Clermont Auvergne, the Harlequins’ full back, Mike Brown, Owen Farrell of Saracens and Pienaar, all who made last year’s longlist, are included again.
According to the ERC, the judging panel will also have the option to consider additional players who make major contributions during the knock-out stages of both tournaments.
They will then announce a five-man shortlist following the semi-finals with the overall winner named directly after the ERC European club finals in Dublin this May.
In addition to the decision of the panel, the 44 clubs in the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup will have the opportunity to vote for contenders nominated on the ERC European Player of the Year 2013 shortlist.
Supporters can also have their say on Twitter using #ERCPlayer2013, and on the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup Facebook pages.
The panel this season is made up of Stuart Barnes (Sky Sports), Will Greenwood (Daily Telegraph), Stephen Jones (Sunday Times), Emmanuel Massicard (Midi Olympique) and Gerry Thornley (Irish Times).
Leinster’s Rob Kearney won the 2012 ERC Player of the Year accolade.
ERC Player of the Year longlist
Steffon Armitage (Toulon), Rory Best (Ulster Rugby), Julien Bonnaire (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Wesley Fofana (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier), Charlie Hodgson ((Saracens), James Johnston (Harlequins), Joe Launchbury (London Wasps), Morgan Parra (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Ruan Pienaar (Ulster Rugby), Simon Zebo (Munster).