- 2014/15 Dream XV revealed
- Matthew Morgan attracted the most votes from club coaches
Greene King IPA Championship Player of the Year nominees Mark Bright, Alex Rieder and Matthew Morgan are all named in the official 2014/15 GKIPA Championship Dream Team, which is chosen by the division's coaches.
Bristol playmaker Morgan attracted the highest number of votes for an individual player with eight, one more than Cornish Pirates pair Tom Kessell and Darren Barry and Nottingham's Shaun Malton. Meanwhile, London Scottish number 8 Bright makes the Dream Team for the third year in a row and is the only player to retain his place from last season.
Play-off semi-finalists, Bristol Rugby, Worcester Warriors, London Scottish and Rotherham provide two-thirds of the stellar line-up, however the depth of playing talent throughout the Championship is reflected by the fact four other clubs – Cornish Pirates, Jersey, Doncaster and Nottingham – are also represented.
GKIPA Championship Dream Team
1. Sam Lockwood (Jersey RFC)
An aggressive defender and destructive ball-carrier whose scrummaging has come on leaps and bounds in his first full season in the Channel Islands. Played 20 games and scored four tries after an early-season injury setback.
2. Shaun Malton (Nottingham Rugby)
Nottingham's Exeter-bound Player of the Year beat off competition from last year's hooker Tom Cruse and England Under 20 international Jack Walker. The all-action former London Irish player made 25 appearances for the Green & Whites, scoring five tries.
3. Harry Williams (Jersey RFC)
The 23-year-old has earned a two-year deal with Exeter after a superb first full season in the Championship. To quote Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter, Williams is “a big, strong guy who scrummages really well.” Like his front row partner Lockwood, Williams had an injury disrupted start to the season but was the cornerstone of the Jersey pack from Christmas onwards.
4. Mike Williams (Worcester Warriors)
A player who always gives his all for the Warriors, Williams' attitude on and off the pitch has remained top-class even after his close season move to Leicester was announced. A powerful ball-carrier, destructive tackler and superb lineout technician who is comfortable with ball in hand. A virtual ever-present.
5. Darren Barry (Cornish Pirates)
An extremely hard-working second row who has been a key cog in the Pirates' engine room for the past three seasons. Worcester will benefit from his lineout skills and nitty-gritty work in the tight exchanges after signing him for next season. Bristol's Ian Evans ran him close for his place in the second row.
6. Alex Rieder (Rotherham Titans)
Not the biggest of back rows but hugely influential in most aspects of the game. Rieder's priceless ability to spin out of tackles makes him one of Rotherham's top metre makers. Likes to get his hands on the ball and provides a good link between forwards and backs.
7. Jack Preece (Rotherham Titans)
Fast to the breakdown and immensely strong over the ball, Preece regularly wins turnover ball he has no right to. The former England Sevens player is not too shabby at hooker either. Jack Lam of Bristol pushed him all the way for the number seven jersey.
8. Mark Bright (London Scottish)
Bright's footballing ability and blistering pace off the mark helped him set a new Championship individual try scoring record of 24 in the regular season as well as an England Sevens call-up. Yorkshire Carnegie's Ryan Burrows and Mitch Eadie of Bristol rarely have a bad game and can count themselves unlucky not to have made the Dream XV.
9. Tom Kessell (Cornish Pirates)
Joins Pirates backs coach and former Dream Team regular Gavin Cattle in being called the best in his business at scrum half this level. Possesses a good box kick, a swift pass off both hands and is quick enough to fill in on the wing when the need arises. The proud Cornishman joined Bristol on a short-term deal in February ahead of his summer move to Northampton.
10. Matthew Morgan (Bristol Rugby)
A will-o'-the-wisp fly half who consistently carves open defences with his brilliant footwork and deft distribution skills. With over 150 league points to his name, the young Welshman has also proved to be a reliable goal-kicker. Rotherham's James McKinney was the “best of the rest” at 10.
11. David Lemi (Bristol Rugby)
Still a finisher of the highest order after all these years. His battle with Charlie Amesbury for a place on the wing has brought the best out of the “pocket rocket” with the Samoan speedster racing home for 10 tries in 15 regular season appearances.
12. Andy Symons (Worcester Warriors)
Despite a wealth of talent at centre at Sixways, Symons has made the number 12 shirt his own and has also taken on the majority of the kicking duties, with an impressive success rate. Bristol's Ben Mosses had strong claims on the inside centre berth with three votes to Symons' four.
13. Max Stelling (Worcester Warriors)
Stelling makes up an all-Worcester midfield partnership after a superb first season as a professional. Constantly a menace to Championship defences with his pace and power, the 21-year-old has racked up try after try and kept experienced campaigner Alex Grove on the sidelines. Drew Locke proved to be Stelling's main rival at outside centre after a fine season with Jersey.
14. Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors)
Does the basics well, makes his tackles and has repeatedly finished teams off with late tries, as Yorkshire Carnegie found out to their cost when Smith scored four second-half tries against them at Headingley. The former Harlequins man finished with 14 tries from the regular season at a ratio of just under one per game.
15. Paul Jarvis (Doncaster Knights)
While the Championship's leading points scorer Dougie Flockhart was perhaps unlucky to miss out on the right wing berth, Doncaster team-mate Paul Jarvis gets the nod at full back ahead of Rotherham's Sean Scanlon and London Scottish's Pete Lydon. Jarvis' vision and pace made him a constant threat in attack. Defensively he was rock solid too, winning many an aerial battle despite his relatively small stature.