The GUINNESS PRO12 Dream Team 2014/15 was voted on by a Media Panel of 11 journalists from all four countries and was chaired by Rory Sheridan, Head of Sponsorship – Western Europe, Diageo.
Before they were whisked away on international duty in February, half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar ruled the roost in the GUINNESS PRO12.
Webb shot out into an early lead in the try-scoring table, while Biggar’s unerring boot saw him set the standard for the competition’s kickers.
Now they have returned to aid Ospreys’ title push, Steve Tandy’s side beating Glasgow Warriors 21-10 – Webb among the scorers – to go top of the pile heading into the final round.
They have been joined in the Dream Team by captain Alun Wyn Jones, just one of three players – Biggar and Scarlets full-back Liam Williams the other two – to retain their place in the Dream Team from last season.
The only man with more GUINNESS PRO12 tries this season than Webb is Ulster wing Craig Gilroy, who is one of three entrants from Belfast.
The other two come from a powerful Ulster pack, captain and hooker Rory Best joined in the Dream Team’s tight five by influential South African second row Franco van der Merwe.
Munster – another side still well in the title hunt – make up two thirds of the back row, with the province’s player of the season CJ Stander on the blindside.
He is joined by Tommy O’Donnell on the other flank, the 27-year-old enjoying a productive season in both the green of Ireland and the red of Munster.
Glasgow Warriors make up the top four, though they were knocked off top spot by Ospreys on Friday night, and also boast three entrants – meaning this year’s play-off quartet make up 11 of the 15 players selected.
Tommy Seymour takes his place on the right wing after another bright campaign, while Peter Horne is at inside centre.
Horne has shown his versatility this season, starting at full-back, fly-half and in the centres on various occasions, as well as regularly taking on kicking duties in the absence of Finn Russell and Duncan Weir.
And in the pack Josh Strauss takes the No.8 shirt, the South African going from strength to strength in his third season at Scotstoun.
There is another South African at tighthead in Edinburgh’s WP Nel, while Connacht prop Denis Buckley is rewarded for an impressive campaign with the No.1 shirt.
His teammate Robbie Henshaw is at outside centre, the 21-year-old having established himself as a regular fixture in Ireland’s midfield, while Wales international Liam Williams is again at full-back.
Guinness PRO12 Dream Team of the 2014/15 Season
PRO12 in 2014/15 (including round 21):
15 – Liam Williams – Scarlets
11 starts, 6 tries, 800 mins played
14 – Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors
11 starts, 1 rep, 4 tries, 888 mins
13 – Robbie Henshaw – Connacht
11 starts, 1 try, 874 mins
12 – Peter Horne – Glasgow Warriors
19 starts, 6 tries, 15 conv, 13 pens, 99 pts, 1274 mins
11 – Craig Gilroy – Ulster
15 starts, 2 reps, 11 tries, 1258 mins
10 – Dan Biggar – Ospreys
13 starts, 1 rep, 3 tries, 29 conv, 27 pens, 154 pts, 945 mins
9 – Rhys Webb – Ospreys
11 starts, 2 reps, 10 tries, 804 mins
1- Denis Buckley – Connacht
20 starts, 1 rep, 1 try, 1443 mins
2- Rory Best – Ulster
11 starts,1 rep, 2 tries, 822 mins
3 – WP Nel – Edinburgh
13 starts, 8 rep, 1 try, 1159 mins
4- Alun Wyn Jones – Ospreys
11 starts, 2 reps, 902 mins
5- Franco van der Merwe – Ulster
19 starts, 1 rep, 2 tries, 1459 mins
6- CJ Stander – Munster
17 starts, 1 rep, 8 tries, 1350 mins
7- Tommy O’Donnell – Munster
11 starts, 2 reps, 1 try, 770 mins
8- Josh Strauss – Glasgow Warriors
16 starts, 4 reps, 3 tries, 1297 mins