Dan Biggar named RaboDirect Pro12 players’ player of the year
Ospreys outside-half Dan Biggar is named RaboDirect Pro12 players' player of the year
Ospreys outside-half Dan Biggar has been named the RaboDirect Pro12 players’ player of the year at the league’s awards night at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre.
The Wales international topped the Pro12 scoring charts for a fifth consecutive year and was instrumental in helping his club mount a serious play-off challenge and is expected to reclaim the Wales 10 jersey on their summer tour of South Africa.
The 24-year-old came out on top in the vote just ahead of Glasgow Warriors’ Fijian winger Niko Matawalu and Ulster’s South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar to the title
Biggar—who had earlier been named in the Pro12 Dream Team—is in good company with Pienaar, Ireland and former Ospreys winger Tommy Bowe, Edinburgh and Scotland winger Tim Visser among the former recipients, voted for by the 12 Pro12 captains and ambassadors.
Glasgow Warriors lock Jonny Gray continued to collect awards this season as he joined fellow Scots Visser and Stuart Hogg in receiving the Young Player of the Year award.
The Scotland international, 20, had already picked up the same award from the Friends of Scottish Rugby at the beginning of the month and was voted ahead of Leinster centre Noel Reid.
There was more success for semi-finalists Glasgow Warriors as Scotland winger Tommy Seymour collected the Try of the Season award for his winning score against the Ospreys at Scotstoun Stadium four minutes from time to hand the Scots crucial win on their run of eight matches in eight weeks.
Munster head coach Rob Penney was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Irish province to another Pro12 semi-final contest after losing in the Heineken Cup last four to Toulon.
The New Zealander—who will join Japanese Top League club NTT Shining Arcs in the summer—began the season with 10 wins from Munster’s opening 11 league games, including a run of eight successive league wins between 28 September and 27 December, but suffered three defeats in their final seven games to see their hopes of a home semi-final slip out of their hands as Glasgow Warriors—their hosts in the last four on Friday night—also put together a run of eight successive wins.
Munster outside-half JJ Hanrahan picked up the Golden Boot award with an 87.30 per cent accuracy (55 kicks out of 63) to end the recent dominance of Leinster kickers to claim the award.
Cardiff Blues out-side half Gareth Davies came a close second with 86.96 percent (40/46) and Biggar with 84.71 (72/85).
It was a also a good night for Connacht and Ulster who both walked away with £5,000 as they shared the prize to help fund youth development after jointly topping the Specsavers Fair Play award over the 22 rounds of the regular season for the fewest cards and proven citings.
Connacht also took over from the Scarlets as winners of the Rhino Collision Kings award after a panel of experts assessed their efficiency at the breakdown and tackling with lock Craig Clarke collecting the award.
Retiring Leinster and Ireland legends Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen, who weren’t in attendance, were both awarded the Chairman’s award in recognition of their outstanding service to their province, country, the tournament as a whole and the sport.
Pro12 Dream Team: Liam Williams (Scarlets); Jeff Hassler (Ospreys), Casey Laulala (Munster), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Andrew Trimble (Ulster); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Gareth Davies (Scarlets); Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Johann Muller (Ulster, captain), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues).