Fardy short-listed for European player of the year
Leinster forward Scott Fardy is in line to become the first Australian to claim the prestigious European Player of the Year after being short-listed for the award.
The former Wallaby, who left Australian rugby at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season, is one of five players nominated for the award, which includes Leinster teammates Johnny Sexton and Tadhg Furlong.
They are joined on the shortlist by Racing 92 scrum-half Maxime Machenaud and second-rower Leone Nakarawa.
The Irish province and the French club will contest the Champions Cup final in Bilbao, Spain on May 12 after semi-final victories over the weekend.
An original list of 15 nominees was trimmed down to five on the combined verdict of a distinguished panel of rugby experts and a public vote.
Fardy, 33, was showered in praised after a man-of-the-match performance helped Leinster reach the final of the European Champions Cup last Saturday.
Despite Fardy being at the Irish powerhouse for less than a year, his impact has been such that he's been compared to former Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom and All Blacks great Brad Thorn, who were key protagonists in Leinster's European triumphs in 2009 and 2012.
"He was outstanding today," fullback Rob Kearney said of Fardy, who scored Leinster's fourth try in the 50th minute against Scarlets.
"He's one of those four lads who was nominated for player of the tournament as well, so he's shown a consistency throughout.
"I think the most impressive thing about Scott is off the field, what he's doing with the younger guys and his coaching and mentoring. The manner in which he turned up today was incredible and a massive credit to him."
Leinster and Irish flyhalf Sexton also paid tribute to his value around the club.
"That's why it is so important that the club signs these quality foreigners, because I don't think James Ryan would be the player he has been this season without Scott Fardy helping him along," Sexton said.
"Those back-row guys, he coaches them. He's had a huge impact on the group."
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 Rugby)
2011: Sean O'Brien (Leinster Rugby)
2010: Ronan O'Gara (Munster Rugby)