La Rochelle Captain Gregory Alldritt Named 2023 EPCR Player of the Year - Ruck

La Rochelle Captain Gregory Alldritt Named 2023 EPCR Player of the Year

Stade Rochelais captain Gregory Alldritt has been named as the 2023 European Professional Cub Rugby Player of the Year, wrapping up the honours as his side lifted the Heineken Champions Cup. Alldritt led from the front as La Rochelle fought back from a 17 point deficit, to defeat Leinster in their home Aviva Stadium last weekend.

La Rochelle completed the greatest final comeback in the history of the Heineken Champions Cup, clawing their way into the lead, and holding out as 27-26 victors in Dublin. Leinster have no fallen to the French side in their past three Champions Cup meetings, after the 2021 semi-final and 2022 final saw them take home silver medals.

Alldritt was voted as the 2023 EPCR Player of the Year, as he led his side to retain European club rugby’s pinnacle trophy. The final’s ‘Star of the Match’ becomes just the second ever French player to win the the EPCR Player of the Year award, following on from Antoine Dupont’s accomplishment with Toulouse in 2021.

“It’s the same feeling as last year. It’s very hard to comprehend,” Alldritt said after lifting the Champions Cup. (Quoted via Planet Rugby)

“This match was unbelievable. We show enormous character and determination, we knew we wouldn’t be given anything.

“Winning that way is just huge. We have to surpass ourselves to win the game, and we didn’t give up once.

“We need to go back to La Rochelle and see our old port full to bursting and we do not realize what we have just seen a second time.

“It’s just crazy. I thought I would be at the peak of emotions in Marseille but it never stops. I’m going to ride the wave. The lost finals are over. We want trophies. It’s just amazing.”

Over 32,000 votes were called by European club rugby fans, via the official Champions Cup Rugby website. EPCR rugby confirmed how these votes were then combined with the expert opinions of a panel of judges, with the back-rower coming out on top. The judging panel are an eclectic mix of rugby greats, including Springboks legend Bryan Habana, England’s all-time leading appearance holder Sarah Hunter and two-time Heineken Cup Winner Andy Goode.

Alldritt was presented with the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy by Olive Foley and her two sons, Tony and Dan, after La Rochelle had lifted the Heineken Champions Cup in Dublin. The French international took home the award, despite three Leinster players being nominated for the trophy. Caelan Doris, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier were put forward for the accolade, as was Toulouse dynamo Antoine Dupont.

Alldritt joins a prestigious group of EPCR Player of the Year winners, and becomes the sixth player from France’s Top 14 to claim the honour. Alldritt follows on from Toulon’s Jonny Wilkinson (2013) and Steffon Armitage (2014) Clermont Auvergne’s Nick Abendanon (2015), Racing 92’s Leone Nakarawa (2018), and of course the aformentioned Dupont.

Full Judging Panel (Via EPCR Rugby) 

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)

Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions and Challenge Cup winner)

Roll of Honour
2023: Grégory 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)