Welsh-based Ben Morgan and Gethin Jenkins have made the shortlist for the ERC European Player of the Year 2012 award.
Blues prop Jenkins and Scarlets No 8 Morgan have an opportunity to further enhance their chances of taking the crown from last year's winner Sean O'Brien when playing in their respective Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup games this weekend.
While the initial longlist recognises the performances from the Pool stages only, the Judging Panel will have the option to consider players who make outstanding contributions in the quarter-final and semi-final matches for their shortlist and final selection.
A shortlist of five players will be announced following the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup semi-finals (27/28/29 April) and the ERC European Player of the Year winner for 2012 will be selected after the London Finals Weekend of 18/19 May.
Longlist of contenders for the ERC European Player of Year 2012 based on Pool stage performances:
Mouritz Botha Lock Saracens
Mike Brown Full Back Harlequins
Antoine Claassen Back Row Brive
Thierry Dusautoir Back Row Toulouse
Owen Farrell Centre Saracens
Stephen Ferris Back Row Ulster Rugby
Wesley Fofana Centre ASM Clermont Auvergne Gethin Jenkins Prop Cardiff Blues
Johnny Sexton Out half Leinster Rugby
Greig Laidlaw Scrum half/Out half Edinburgh Rugby
Timoci Matanavou Wing Toulouse
Ignacio Mieres Out half Exeter Chiefs Ben Morgan No 8 Scarlets
Ronan O'Gara Out half Munster Rugby
Netani Talei No 8 Edinburgh Rugby
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.