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South Africa dominate URC dream team XV with 10 players picked

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Steve Haag-Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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Three clubs from South Africa have provided ten picks in a URC dream team XV padded out by five more players from three of the Irish clubs. The 2021/22 season was the first time the Bulls, the Sharks, the Stormers and the Lions took part in the revamped tournament featuring clubs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy.

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Three of the franchises from South Africa – the Bulls, the Sharks and Stormers – reached the last eight of the URC and will now participate in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup for the first time.

In the meantime, they can also savour the selection of ten of their players making the annual end-of-season dream team selection for the URC, a media XV pick that this year doesn’t feature any representative from clubs in Scotland, Wales or Italy.

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A URC statement read: “Following the addition of the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers to the competition for the inaugural URC campaign, South African franchises account for ten members of a 15-man selection determined by a media vote.

“The DHL Stormers are the best-represented side with five players making the cut. URC top try-scorer Leolin Zas is among four backs from the Cape Town outfit included. The Vodacom Bulls contribute three players, including Ironman Ruan Nortje, and the Cell C Sharks with two.

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“Ulster duo Nick Timoney and James Hume, Leinster fly-half Ross Byrne and Munster scrum-half Craig Casey and second row Jean Kleyn make up the non-South African contingent. Players had to have made a minimum of nine appearances to be considered, with the media panel given a shortlist of ten players per position, provided by URC StatMaster. The player with the most votes in each position earned a place on the team.

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“Places in the dream team are the latest to be revealed as part of three weeks of URC Awards announcements. Next-Gen star of the season will be announced later this week before Vodacom fans’ player of the season, the Loch Lomond coach of the season and players’ player of the season are revealed in the build-up to the grand final.”

URC Dream Team
1. Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks)
2. Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Bulls)
3. Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks)
4. Jean Kleyn (Munster)
5. Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls)
6. Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls)
7. Nick Timoney (Ulster)
8. Evan Roos (DHL Stormers)
9. Craig Casey (Munster)
10. Ross Byrne (Leinster)
11. Leolin Zas (DHL Stormers)
12. Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)
13. James Hume (Ulster)
14. Seabelo Senatla (DHL Stormers)
15. Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers)

URC Award Winners List 2021/22
Tackle machine: Alan O’Connor (Ulster)
Turnover king: Jac Morgan (Ospreys)
Gilbert golden boot: Gareth Anscombe (Ospreys)
Top try scorer: Leolin Zas (DHL Stormers)
Ironman: Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls)

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