Racing 92 may have suffered heartbreak in the European Champions Cup final, but there was a measure of consolation for Leone Nakarawa as the Fiji international was named European Player of the Year for 2018.
Former Glasgow Warriors forward Nakarawa starred throughout Racing’s Champions Cup campaign, which concluded with an agonising 15-12 defeat to Leinster in Bilbao.
After the match, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) confirmed he had beaten off competition from team-mate Maxime Machenaud and the Leinster trio of Scott Fardy, Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton to win the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.
Nakarawa is the first Top 14 player to win European rugby’s most prestigious individual honour since 2015, when Clermont Auvergne’s Nick Abendanon took the prize.
The previous two winners have both played for Saracens and England, Maro Itoje’s triumph in 2016 followed by Owen Farrell claiming the award 12 months ago.
In addition to his trophy and a commemorative medal, Nakarawa receives one million air miles, courtesy of the Champions Cup’s tournament partners Turkish Airlines.
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