Saints duo shortlisted for huge European award following Champions Cup excellence

Courtney Lawes and Fin Smith (photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)Courtney Lawes and Fin Smith (photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)
Courtney Lawes and Fin Smith (photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)
Saints duo Fin Smith and Courtney Lawes have been named on a world-class shortlist of nominees for the 2024 Investec player of the year.

Saints defeated Vodacom Bulls 59-22 last weekend to secure their place in the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2011, having won all six of their matches in the competition so far.

Phil Dowson's men defeated Glasgow Warriors, RC Toulon, Aviron Bayonnais and Munster Rugby in the pool stages before beating Munster again in the round of 16 clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens two weeks ago.

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Lawes and Smith have, in different ways, been hugely influential in that run – Lawes with his leadership and physicality, and Smith demonstrating tactical intelligence beyond his years.

Saints face a trip to Leinster for the semi-final, playing at Croke Park on Saturday, May 4 (kick-off: 5.30pm) – with next month’s opposition leading the way with four of the other eight nominees in Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson-Park, James Lowe and Dan Sheehan.

Meanwhile, the other semi-finalists, Toulouse and Harlequins, are represented with Antoine Dupont and Marcus Smith respectively.

The nominated players were based on the combined verdict of a public vote and the decisions of a renowned panel of judges following the pool stage, the round of 16 and quarter-final matches in the Investec Champions Cup.

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Voting for the nominees for one of the most coveted individual awards in world rugby is open again on and the winner and recipient of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy will be announced following the Investec Champions Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, May 25.

2024 Investec player of the year nominees

Caelan Doris (Leinster Rugby)

Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain)

Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster Rugby)

James Lowe (Leinster Rugby)

Dan Sheehan (Leinster Rugby)

Fin Smith (Saints)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

Judging panel: Jim Hamilton (two-time Investec Champions Cup winner), Francois Louw (2019 Rugby World Cup winner), Ugo Monye (TNT Sports and two-time EPCR Challenge Cup winner), Elma Smit (sports presenter and producer), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions and EPCR Challenge Cup winner)

Roll of honour

2023: Gregory Alldritt (Stade Rochelais)

2022: Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby)

2021: Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain)

2020: Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)

2019: Alex Goode (Saracens)

2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)

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 Rugby)

2011: Sean O’Brien (Leinster Rugby)

2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of first 15 years of European club rugby)

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