Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

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Dan Biggar scoops Players' Player of Year award

By Niall Crozier

Published 12/05/2014

Top man: Dan Biggar landed the big players’ prize
Top man: Dan Biggar landed the big players’ prize

Unlike last season when Ulster cleaned up in the the RaboDirect PRO12 Awards, this year they had to look on as others landed the big prizes.

Twelve months ago in Dublin it was Ulster trio Nick Williams (Players' Player of the Year), Luke Marshall (Young Player of the Year) and Andrew Trimble (Try of the Year) who made off with the most coveted accolades.

Last night in Edinburgh those prizes were shared around rather than monopolised by one club, with Ospreys' out-half Dan Biggar winning the Players' Player of the Year Award.

Biggar's award was voted for by the dozen RaboDirect PRO12 clubs' captains and ambassadors, though it was a close-run verdict with a pair of scrum-halves – Ulster's South African Ruan Pienaar and Glasgow Warriors' Fijian Nikola Matawalu – pushing the 24-year-old Wales fly-half all the way.

It was a particularly good night for Glasgow with Jonny Gray lifting the Young Player of the Year Award while his Scotstoun colleague, former Ulster winger Tommy Seymour was hailed for having scored the Try of the Year.

Munster's Rob Penney was voted Coach of the Year, while Leinster pair Leo Cullen and Brian O'Driscoll – both retiring at the end of this season – received the Chairman's Award in recognition of their outstanding service.

Ulster and Connacht shared a £10,000 prize to be spent on youth development after tying for the SpecSavers Fair Play Award, while Connacht were crowned the Rhino Collision Kings for their efficiency at the breakdown and tackling.

Two Ulster players made the RaboDirect PRO12 Dream Team – lock Johann Muller, named captain of the fantasy XV, and wing Andrew Trimble, this season's Bank of Ireland Ulster Player of the Year plus the Ulster Rugby Writers and Broadcasters, Ulster Rugby Supporters Club and IRUPA Player of the Year.

The Dream Team: Liam Williams (Scarlets), Jeff Hassler (Ospreys), Casey Laulala (Munster), Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors), Andrew Trimble (Ulster); Dan Biggar, 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).

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