Sunday 19 November 2017

Seven Irish-based players make PRO12 Team of the Season

Leinster's Jordi Murphy during training
Leinster's Jordi Murphy during training

The Irish provinces were well represented in the RaboDirect PRO12 Team of the Season with seven players making the selection.

With Leinster, Ulster and Munster well in the hunt for silverware, it is no surprise that the Irish regions make up a large chunk of this season's Dream Team.

Table toppers and defending champions Leinster have three representatives, all of them in the pack as Sean Cronin, Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy are selected.

Cronin has impressed at hooker both in the blue of Leinster and the green of Ireland this season.

On international duty he has had to settle for an impact role off the bench but with his club side Cronin has taken his opportunities well in the battle with Richardt Strauss for the No.2 jersey.

For Murphy, who lines up at openside in this team, it has been a real breakthrough year that culminated in an Ireland debut after a number of man of the match performances for Leinster.

And Ruddock joins him in the back-row at blindside after the fellow youngster enjoyed a distinguished season that saw the 23-year-old captain the Irish Wolfhounds and gain his second Ireland cap, four years after his debut.

Leinster's arch rivals Munster contribute two players, firstly Casey Laulala, the former All Black who has been a star in midfield for the men in red all season long.

And the outside centre is joined by club-mate and loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne in the Dream Team while Ulster also have two players who make the side.

In the backline there will be few surprised to see Andrew Trimble get the nod on the left wing, the Ulsterman roaring back to form this year both for his region and for Ireland.

In the pack Johan Muller skippers the side from the second-row, the World Cup winner has been an inspiration for the Ravenhill outfit in his final season before hanging up his boots.

The Ospreys are now out of the running for the play-offs but they too are well represented in this year's Dream Team.

Elsewhere the Welsh regions are well represented also, providing seven players including Wexford-native Robin Copeland who will be moving to Munster next season.

Despite reaching the semi-final stage, Glasgow Warriors have just one player in the side, with Alex Dunbar claiming the inside centre position.

15 - Liam Williams (Scarlets), 14 – Jeff Hassler (Ospreys), 13 – Casey Laulala (Munster), 12 – Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), 11 – Andrew Trimble (Ulster), 10 – Dan Biggar (Ospreys), 9 - Gareth Davies (Scarlets), 1 – Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), 2 – Sean Cronin (Leinster), 3 – Samson Lee (Scarlets), 4 – Johann Muller (Ulster) (captain), 5 – Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys), 6 – Rhys Ruddock (Leinster), 7 – Jordi Murphy (Leinster), 8 – Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues).

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