CONFIRMED: Nominees for Pro14 awards
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: This Sunday, the Pro14 will paid tribute to best performers of the season.
Nine awards will be presented at the event which will play host to top international players and coaches from each PRO14 team across five countries.
Players’ Player of the Season
The prize most sportsmen feel most honoured to win is one voted upon by their fellow players. The Players’ Player of the Season is a special award recognised by those who have been so impressed by playing against the winner.
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby)
Australian wing Monty Ioane’s phenomenal form this season inspired the underdogs from Benetton to become the first Italian side to qualify for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series. His statistics are nearly off the chart, summating his massive personal contributions-842 metres gained, 65 defenders beaten!
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets)
Sensational runs and diving one-handed finishes are Johnny McNicholl’s trademark, the 2017 PRO12 winner ran in 11 tries this season! A potent attacking runner, he impressively touched down 27 times in his first 59 appearances at the region, including a memorable hat-trick in last season’s PRO14 final in Dublin.
Bill Mata (Edinburgh)
Edinburgh’s Bill Mata carried 796 metres amidst 290 carries on his way to scoring five tries in just 16 appearances this season. Big Bill’s Fijian sevens and rugby league upbringing are clearly showcased by his supreme power and defence-breaking ability.
Coach of the Season
All sports teams need a figure at the helm to rule the roost and make their players tick. The PRO14 is fortunate to have a top-class group of leaders which is represented in the top-class list of men nominated for the award by their fellow coaches.
Leo Cullen (Leinster)
Leo Cullen’s juggernauts continue to charge on both the domestic and European Cup fronts. Saracens in the Champions Cup Final next Saturday in Newcastle kicks off a massive couple of weeks for Leinster, who will also be intent on retaining their Guinness PRO14 title.
Kieran Crowley (Benetton)
Benetton’s place in the Final Series has been the most neutral rewarding story of the 2018/19 PRO14 season, and a lot of the credit deserves to be landed at the feet of Kieran Crowley. The former All Black fullback has transformed the Italian side inside his first two seasons in Treviso.
Andy Friend (Connacht)
Connacht’s Andy Friend is another of many Antipodean-born coaches now plying his trade in Europe. In just his first season with the Galway-based side he’s guided them through a tough Conference A, pipping 2012 title winners Ospreys to a place in the last six.
Next-Gen Star of the Season
Evolving from the young player of the year award, the Next-Gen Star of the Season is voted upon by the media with former players and coaches also having their say. The PRO14 is renowned for producing, fresh new international talent year after year and this season’s nominees are no exception.
Adam Hastings (Glasgow)
Filling Finn Russell’s shoes is no enviable task, but Glasgow Warriors’ Adam Hastings has done this with aplomb. Hastings is an x-factor outside half, keen to attack with flare from all areas of the pitch, and has the metres gained and defenders beaten stats from this season to back up his ambition.
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh)
Another Scottish back-man who loves to carry the ball well into the opponents’ territory. The 21-year-old stormed onto the international scene with his brace in Scotland’s phenomenal Calcutta Cup comeback in March with the kind of rugby Edinburgh fans have had the pleasure of seeing all season.
Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues)
The 21-year-old Cardiff Blues back has impressed with 20 clean breaks, 88 carries and 598 metres gained on his way to scoring eight tries from wing and centre this season. Stats deservedly rewarded with having just been called up to the Wales training squad for the Japan World Cup.
New Award to be Unveiled
A new award will also be announced at the event this Sunday evening. The award will recognise a player who is able to accumulate one of the most valuable statistics on the pitch that makes a big difference to the final scoreline.
PRO14 Dream Team
Regarding the PRO14 Dream Team – Voting will open next week, and will be broadcast in the week leading into the PRO14 Final at Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25.
*Eligibility Criteria for Energia Next-Gen Star of the Season:
– At least 9 appearances in the 2018/19 season
– Less than 5 caps at International level at the beginning of the 2018/19 season
-Aged under 23 at the beginning of the 2018/19 season
After the dramatic end to the regular #GUINNESSPRO14 season, 3️⃣ players stood head and shoulders above the rest in their positions ✨
Who was your star man?⭐️ pic.twitter.com/Sg0Z9uRNse
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) May 2, 2019