Saturday 20 January 2018

Erasmus 'honoured' to win top coach

Erasmus: “It’s an honour, but I think it’s a difficult thing to give to one person.” Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Erasmus: “It’s an honour, but I think it’s a difficult thing to give to one person.” Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Rassie Erasmus was last night named Guinness PRO12 coach of the year and paid tribute to his backroom staff for their contribution to his stellar first season in charge.

The South African steered his side to the European Champions Cup semi-finals and secured top spot in the league thanks to Saturday's comprehensive win over Connacht.

That sets up a home semi-final against Ospreys on Saturday week, with Leinster hosting Scarlets the previous evening at the RDS.

"It's an honour, but I think it's a difficult thing to give to one person," he said. "Every squad has three or four coaches, and I think I do the least amount of coaching, with Felix (Jones), Jacques (Nienaber) and Jerry (Flannery) and the conditioning coaches, everyone there contributes. So I'll say it's a coaching team award, that would be the best way to put it."

Scarlets beat the Ospreys 40-17 in their final game of the season to secure third place, while Ian McKinley capped a memorable week by steering Treviso to the European Champions Cup with 14 points in a 19-3 win over Zebre.

Ulster's Charles Piutau collected the players' player of the year after being voted in by his fellow professionals, while Leinster starlet Joey Carbery was named the young player of the year. Scarlets winger Steff Evans top the try-scoring charts, with Ospreys out-half Sam Davies winning the Golden Boot and Ruan Pienaar won the try of the season.

PRO12 award winners

Fair Play Award: Connacht

Top try scorer: Steff Evans (Scarlets)

Golden Boot: Sam Davies (Ospreys)

Young player of the year: Joey Carbery try of the season: Ruan Pienaar (Ulster)

Coach of the year: Rassie Erasmus (Munster)

Players' player of the year: Charles Piutau (Ulster)

Dream team captain: Ken Owens (Scarlets)

Chairman's award: Nigel Owens

Guinness PRO12 semi-finals: Friday, May 22 - Leinster v Scarlets, RDS, 7.45. Saturday, May 23 - Munster v Ospreys, Thomond Park, 6.15.

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