The annual Guinness PRO12 Awards took place at the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin, this evening (Sunday 8 May).  Players, coaches and key personnel from all 12 clubs involved in the championship were in attendance to celebrate the 2015/16 season.  The black-tie event followed a memorable round 22 on Saturday that saw Leinster, Connacht, Glasgow Warriors and Ulster qualify for the Guinness PRO12 Play-Offs in less than a fortnight’s time.

Connacht collected three awards and made up nearly half of the ‘Guinness PRO12 Dream Team’.  The Galway outfit’s centre, Bundee Aki, clinched the coveted ‘Guinness Players’ Player of the Season’ – voted for by all 12 captains and vice-captains of the Guinness PRO12 teams – ahead of Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) and CJ Stander (Munster). Their head coach, Pat Lam was named ‘Guinness PRO12 Coach of the Season’ and captain John Muldoon, who is celebrating his thirteenth professional season at Connacht, was presented the prestigious ‘Guinness PRO12 Chairman’s Award’ by Welsh rugby legend and chairman of PRO12 Rugby, Gerald Davies.

Ospreys’ 22 year old outside-half, Sam Davies, was voted ‘Young Player of the Season’ by a selected media panel ahead of Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier (both Leinster).

The ‘Guinness PRO12 Dream Team’, voted by a selected media panel from across Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, saw Connacht dominate the selections with seven of their players making up the chosen 15:

15: Isa Nacewa, Leinster, Captain
14: Matt Healy, Connacht
13: Bundee Aki, Connacht
12: Ben Te’o, Leinster
11: Craig Gilroy, Ulster
10: Sam Davies, Ospreys
9: Kieran Marmion, Connacht
1: Denis Buckley, Connacht
2: Tom McCartney, Connacht
3: Finlay Bealham, Connacht
4: Leone Nakarawa, Glasgow Warriors
5: Ultan Dillane, Connacht
6: CJ Stander, Munster
7: Josh Van Der Flier, Leinster
8: Cornell du Preez, Edinburgh

Following the end of the regular season, the focus now turns to the season Play-Offs: Leinster v Ulster at RDS Arena, Dublin, on Friday 20 May and Connacht v Glasgow Warriors at The Sportsground, Galway, on Saturday 21 May.  The winners of each match will face each other at the championship’s flagship event, the Guinness PRO12 Final, at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 28 May.

Guinness Players’ Player of the Season: Bundee Aki, Connacht

Guinness PRO12 Coach of the Season: Pat Lam, Connacht

Guinness PRO12 Young Player of the Season: Sam Davies, Ospreys

Sky Sports Try of the Season: Tommy Seymour, Glasgow Warriors

Specsavers Fair Play Award: Ulster Rugby

Rhino Golden Boot: Gareth Anscombe, Cardiff Blues

Guinness PRO12 Chairman’s Award: John Muldoon, Connacht

Guinness PRO12 Dream Team: 15: Isa Nacewa, Leinster, Captain; 14: Matt Healy, Connacht; 13: Bundee Aki, Connacht; 12: Ben Te’o, Leinster; 11: Craig Gilroy, Ulster; 10: Sam Davies, Ospreys; 9: Kieran Marmion, Connacht;
1: Denis Buckley, Connacht; 2: Tom McCartney, Connacht; 3: Finlay Bealham, Connacht; 4: Leone Nakarawa, Glasgow Warri

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