Bok in line for Team of the Season
Pro14 SPOTLIGHT: There may be no players from the Cheetahs or Southern Kings, but at least one Springbok is in line to make the Team of the Season.
The selection – measured by Opta stats – was based on players’ performances over 80 minutes, with a minimum of 400 minutes required for selection.
Springbok Marcell Coetzee is the leading No.8 and the Ulster-based loose forward is the sole South African representative.
Pro14 Team of the Season at the time of the COVID-19-enforced break in the tournament:
15. Hallam Amos, Cardiff Blues
Injury sadly derailed Amos in early 2020 but his switch from the Dragons to Cardiff Blues paid handsome dividends in the first half of the season – his 13 offloads (in only six matches) good for second in the league, while also making seven clean breaks, beating 16 defenders and gaining no fewer than 348 metres for his side.
14. Robert Baloucoune, Ulster
The winger started with two tries in the first three rounds and didn’t look back, gelling well with Will Addison in the back three to produce some fine running rugby at the Kingspan, eventually scoring five tries in just six games.
13. Nick Grigg, Glasgow Warriors
The centre bounced back from omission from Scotland’s World Cup squad with a series of authoritative performances in the midfield as he helped Glasgow recover from their slow start to the campaign – 253 metres gained and a pair of try assists nothing to sneer at.
12. Matt Scott, Edinburgh
Scott has made slicing through defences his speciality, making 16 clean breaks and beating 34 defenders in total to help inspire an impressive Edinburgh side.
11. Dave Kearney, Leinster
Simply a try machine. Kearney gets the nod out wide having already crossed the whitewash nine times in the Pro14 this season.
10. Pete Horne, Glasgow Warriors
Horne has been rewarded with a new contract at Scotstoun, a reflection of the consistency of his performances this season, which has helped him assist three tries.
9. John Cooney, Ulster
Arguably the most in-form scrum-half in the northern hemisphere for large swathes of this season. 94 points – the second-most in the Pro14 – and an 89 percent kicking accuracy are just two of the reasons why this has been the finest campaign of Cooney’s career.
8. Marcell Coetzee, Ulster
Coetzee found his feet in the Pro14 this season and the Springbok is one of the league’s fiercest propositions in the contact area. He has accumulated 114 carries for 215 metres and nine turnovers won (fifth overall) from just seven starts.
7. Will Connors, Leinster
Connors is a tackling machine, making 23 in an inter-pro clash with Munster, and his physicality has helped Leinster maintain their 100 percent record.
6. Magnus Bradbury, Edinburgh
Further Edinburgh representation here. Bradbury’s talent has never been in doubt and after a turbulent World Cup last summer, he has stitched together his best run of performances in the Pro14.
5. Grant Gilchrist, Edinburgh
It’s an all-Edinburgh combination in the engine room and Gilchrist’s international class has helped his side be the foremost force in Conference B.
4. Lewis Carmichael, Edinburgh
Having missed all of last season due to injury, versatile forward Carmichael has been a fixture in the second row for Richard Cockerill’s men this term – an absolute powerhouse who has completed 111 tackles.
3. Tom O’Toole, Ulster
Youngster O’Toole has blossomed under the guidance of fellow prop Dan McFarland and an Ireland call-up testifies to the 21-year-old’s rapid progress.
2. Scott Otten, Ospreys
Ospreys have an embarrassment of riches at hooker and 25-year-old Otten has been a shining light in a tough campaign with a consistent line-out and aggressive ball-carrying.
1. Peter Dooley, Leinster
The 25-year-old has loosened the shackles and embraced a ball-carrying role this season, helping his province to a perfect record in Conference A, while missing just one league match and boasting a 97 percent tackle success rate.
Source: Opta stats