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11 teams, including winless Zebre, make the URC Elite XV 2022/23

By Liam Heagney
Simone Gesi, the Zebre Parma No11 (Photo by Alberto Gardin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Eleven teams have secured representation in the just-published Elite XV for the 2022/23 URC season – including bottom club Zebre Parma, who didn’t win a single match during their 18-match campaign. That winless streak didn’t prevent the soon-to-be 22-year-old Simone Gesi from impressing on the left wing and he takes his place in a media-voted line-up dominated by Irish representation.


A statement read: “All five participating nations were represented in the URC Elite XV for the 2022/23 season. Ireland accounted for six of the 15 players selected, which were determined by a media vote, with four coming from South Africa, two each from Scotland and Italy and one from Wales.

“A total of 11 teams – including seven of the top eight sides – had at least one player included, with Leinster leading the way with three. Dan Sheehan, who pipped top try scorer Tom Stewart to the hooker position, Scott Penny and Ross Byrne were nominated, with the latter the only player to have made the Elite XV for two successive seasons.

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Defending champions Stormers had Daniel du Plessis and Steven Kitshoff in the team while Connacht duo Finlay Bealham and Niall Murray were also chosen. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), Simone Gesi (Zebre Parma), Gavin Coombes (Munster), Vaea Fifita (Scarlets), Grant Williams (Sharks), Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow) and Federico Ruzza (Benetton) made the cut as well.

“Players had to have made a minimum of nine appearances to be considered, with the media panel given a shortlist of 10 players per position. The player with the most votes in each position earned a place in the team.”


URC Elite XV 2022/23
15: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls)
14: Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby)
13: Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors)
12: Daniel du Plessis (DHL Stormers)
11: Simone Gesi (Zebre Parma)
10: Ross Byrne (Leinster)
9: Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks)
1: Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers)
2: Dan Sheehan (Leinster)
3: Finlay Bealham (Connacht)
4: Niall Murray (Connacht)
5: Federico Ruzza (Benetton)
6: Vaea Fifita (Scarlets)
7: Scott Penny (Leinster)
8: Gavin Coombes (Munster)


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