We need to talk about: The Pro 12 Dream Team

There has been a certain amount of, shall we say ‘disquiet’, among Warriors’ fans over the announcement of a Pro 12 team of the year containing just one Weegie. Reactions have varied from surprise right through severe grumpiness and even reached the heights (depths?) of full-on conspiracy theories. But is it realistic to expect a larger representation from the Warriors? The stats are in and On Top Of The Moon (hopefully) has some answers!


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The first thing to note is that players with less than 10 appearances in the Pro 12 are not considered for the Dream Team which rules out a fairly significant proportion of the Glasgow squad. More importantly it also indicates that the league are looking to recognise the players who have made the most significant contributions to the competition this season – this is not simply meant to be a list of the 15 ‘best’ players in the Pro 12.

Front row

Warriors candidates:

LH – Gordon Reid 16 games (12 starts) – 856 minutes
LH – Jerry Yanuyanutawa 15 (3) – 362 minutes

Hooker – Fraser Brown 11 (10) – 619 minutes
Hooker – Pat MacArthur 12 (9) – 591 minutes
Hooker – James Malcolm 11 (1) – 223 minutes

TH – Sila Puafisi 15 (12) – 699 minutes
TH – Zander Fagerson 18 (5) – 616 minutes

Gordon Reid is the only Weegie front row with more than 800 minutes in the Pro 12. Given Denis Buckley’s dominance at the scrum and his ability to jackal like an auxiliary flanker he’s a strong choice at LH. Glasgow’s two senior hookers split game time pretty much down the middle with 11 so some way off the contributions of Kiwi Tom McCartney. Sila Puafisi made more starts than Finlay Bealham at TH but played far fewer minutes – Bealham showing remarkable consistency and durability to feature in every regular season fixture while also making his debut for Ireland.

Second row

Warriors candidates:

Greg Peterson 15 (8) – 698 minutes
Tim Swinson 10 (7) – 459 minutes

Naka was one of only two Warriors to play more than 1,000 minutes in the Pro 12 this season. Allied to his huge workrate in attack and defence, he’s a worthy inclusion in the Dream Team. One of the up and coming names in Irish rugby, Ultan Dillane is an outstanding talent but maybe a slightly surprising selection here given he only made 6 starts and played just 568 minutes in the league. Glasgow fans cannot feel too aggrieved that their side have been overlooked though with Jonny Gray only making 8 Pro 12 appearances. There aren’t too many outstanding candidates in this position. One player who might have been a selection more consistent with how much of the pack has been chosen is Anton Bresler who played 1,320 minutes for Edinburgh whiles starting 19 games. His hard-working style of play, focused on hitting rucks and doing the dirty work may not have been picked up on by the selection panel.

Back row

Warriors candidates:

BS – Rob Harley 18 (17) – 1,350 minutes

OS – Chris Fusaro 15 (12) – 690 minutes
OS – Simone Favaro 13 (8) – 622 minutes

N8 – Adam Ashe 12 (10) – 825 minutes
N8 – Ryan Wilson 12 (9) – 751 minutes
N8 – Josh Strauss 12 (9) – 710 minutes

As one of only 3 players in the Dream Team to play in all 22 rounds of the regular season Cornell du Preez earned his place the hard way. The flankers selected both featured in Ireland’s Six Nations campaign – but neither were at the RWC so didn’t suffer the double dropout effect that saw many Test players missing more than half the campaign. This is possibly the only area where Glasgow might have had a candidate with serious credentials for selection. Rob Harley played 18 times (starting 17) and amassed 1,350 minutes. He also captained the side on 6 occasions. Like Bresler though his style of play is not likely to have been noticed by those on the panel who don’t regularly cover Warriors’ games and he did split his time between flanker and lock in the early part of the season. With Glasgow’s opensides again splitting the game time they would make for unlikely picks. Would someone like the Scarlets James Davies with 1,198 minutes from 15 starts in an outstanding season have been a better option?

Half backs

Warriors candidates:

SH – Grayson Hart 19 (9) – 671 minutes
SH – Ali Price 11 (5) – 454 minutes

FH – Duncan Weir 11 (9) – 726 minutes

The story of the season for the Glasgow half backs has been rotation, rotation, rotation – although much have this has been down to injuries and international commitments. No-one really stands out as having been a major contributor across the full 22 games. Kieran Marmion had really taken his game on this season and Sam Davies played every game, kicking more points than anyone bar Rhys Patchell despite having to share those duties with Dan Biggar.

Centres

Warriors candidates:

Mark Bennett – 12 (10) – 878 minutes

Player of the season Bundee Aki was a shoe-in for this selection after an outstanding campaign with Connacht. Ben Te’o has been a muscular presence for Leinster but, while there are no contenders from the Warriors who have been involved enough to make the side. A couple of Ulstermen in Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall have been hugely influential to their side’s campaign and maybe offer a bit more variety in their play than the man with his arm in a cast.

Back 3

Warrriors candidates:

W – Taqele Naiyaravoro 15 (12) – 941 minutes, 6 tries
W – Lee Jones 14 (11) – 860 minutes, 3 tries

FB – Glenn Bryce 11 (7) – 667 minutes, 5 tries

 

The three players selected were all heavily involved for their clubs and were among the top scorers in the league (9 for Healy and 8 for Gilroy and Nacewa). With 6, 3 and 5 tries respectively the Glasgow prospects for these positions were not really at the races in terms of Dream Team selection. If Mr. T had reached his full potential though…

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