The announcement of the nominees was made on Wednesday, a day after Etzebeth was named as the 2022 SA Rugby Player of the Year. Kolisi, the Springbok captain, was also nominated for the top-award in South Africa, while Hendrikse was on the short-list for the Young Player of the Year award.
The four Boks were instrumental as the Cell C Sharks reached the Heineken Champions Cup round of 16, on the weekend of 31 March and 1 April, after their team finished third in their pool with three victories from four matches.
The other nominees for the award are Grégory Alldritt (Stade Rochelais), Gavin Coombes (Munster), Caelan Doris, Jamie Osborne, Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier (all Leinster), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Antoine Dupont, Julien Marchand, Emmanuel Meafou (all Stade Toulousain) and Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).
The winner of the awards, which is now in its 13th year, will receive the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy. Voting is open here and fans will be in the running to win two VIP tickets with one night’s accommodation for the 2024 Heineken Champions Cup Final in May 2024.
At the conclusion of the semi-final matches in April, the list will be reduced to five players through a combination of public and judges’ votes, and players who have not been included in the initial list who make a significant impact during the knock-out stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup may still be considered for the shortlist.
The voting will then re-open and the winner of the award will be announced following the Heineken Champions Cup final at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday, 20 May.
The judging panel consist of Bryan Habana (two-time Heineken Champions Cup winner), Sarah Hunter (former England captain), Elma Smit (sports presenter and producer), Andy Goode (two-time Heineken Cup winner), and Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions and Challenge Cup winner).
2023 EPCR Player of the Year nominees: Grégory Alldritt (Stade Rochelais), Gavin Coombes (Munster Rugby), Caelan Doris (Leinster Rugby), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Antoine Dupont (Stade Toulousain), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Julien Marchand (Stade Toulousain), Emmanuel Meafou (Stade Toulousain), Jamie Osborne (Leinster Rugby), Garry Ringrose (Leinster Rugby), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Josh van der Flier (Leinster Rugby).