Connacht dominate PRO12 awards

Date published: May 8 2016

EXETER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 25:  Pat Lam, Head Coach of Connacht looks on ahead of the European Rugby Challenge Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and Connacht at Sandy Park on October 25, 2014 in Exeter, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The Annual PRO12 Awards took place in Dublin on Sunday where Connacht’s Aki Bundee was named Player’s Player of the Season.

Players, coaches and key personnel from all 12 clubs involved in the championship were in attendance to celebrate the 2015/16 season.

The black-tie event followed a memorable round 22 on Saturday that saw Leinster, Connacht, Glasgow Warriors and Ulster qualify for the PRO12 play-offs in less than a fortnight’s time.

Connacht, who have been the surprise package of the 2015/16 season, collected three awards and made up nearly half of the ‘PRO12 Dream Team’.

The Galway outfit’s centre, Bundee Aki, clinched the coveted ‘Players’ Player of the Season’ – voted for by all 12 captains and vice-captains of the PRO12 teams – ahead of Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) and CJ Stander (Munster).

Their head coach, Pat Lam was named ‘PRO12 Coach of the Season’ and captain John Muldoon, who is celebrating his thirteenth professional season at Connacht, was presented the prestigious ‘PRO12 Chairman’s Award’ by Welsh rugby legend and chairman of PRO12 Rugby, Gerald Davies.

Ospreys’ 22 year old outside-half, Sam Davies, was voted ‘Young Player of the Season’ by a selected media panel ahead of Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier (both Leinster).

Fans voted Glasgow Warriors’ Tommy Seymour the victor of ‘Try of the Season’. The Scottish international polled 28.5 percent of the vote for his round 18 try against Ulster and pipped Craig Gilroy (Ulster v Treviso, round 3) and Bundee Aki (Munster v Connacht, round 18) to the title.

The battle for the ‘Golden Boot Award’ went right down to the wire on the last day of the regular season.

The prize, that is based on the percentage kicking accuracy of all players who have kicked more than 30 attempts at goal, was clinched by Cardiff Blues’ Gareth Anscombe with 81.25 percent (26 successes from 32 attempts) ahead of Scarlets’ Steve Shingler (78.37 percent, 29 success from 37 attempts), Paddy Jackson, Ulster, (77.77 percent, 49 successes from 63 attempts) and Jason Tovey, Edinburgh, (76.47 percent, 39 successes from 51 kicks).

The ‘PRO12 Dream Team’, voted by a selected media panel from across Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, saw Connacht dominate the selections with seven of their players making up the chosen 15:

PRO12 Dream Team: 15 Isa Nacewa, Leinster (c), 14 Matt Healy – Connacht, 13 Bundee Aki – Connacht, 12 Ben Te’o – Leinster, 11 Craig Gilroy – Ulster, 10 Sam Davies – Ospreys, 9 Kieran Marmion – Connacht, 8 Cornell du Preez – Edinburgh, 7 Josh Van Der Flier – Leinster, 6 CJ Stander – Munster, 5 Ultane Dillane – Connacht, 4 Leone Nakarawa – Glasgow Warriors, 3 Finlay Bealham – Connacht, 2 Tom McCartney – Connacht, 1 Dennis Buckley – Connacht

Summary of PRO12 Awards 2016 Winners:

Players’ Player of the Season: Bundee Aki, Connacht
PRO12 Coach of the Season: Pat Lam, Connacht
PRO12 Young Player of the Season: Sam Davies, Ospreys
Try of the Season: Tommy Seymour, Glasgow Warriors
Fair Play Award: Ulster Rugby
Golden Boot: Gareth Anscombe, Cardiff Blues
PRO12 Chairman’s Award: John Muldoon, Connacht

COMMENTS