With the last-minute drama at Twickenham now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to select the top performers from the Premiership campaign in our Team of the Season.
Leicester Tigers lead the way in terms of inclusions as we pick six of Steve Borthwick’s players, with three apiece coming from Saracens and Harlequins.
Without further ado, here’s our side after another pulsating Premiership season. Make sure to have your say and leave your own team in the comments.
Planet Rugby’s Premiership Team of the Season
15 Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers): The 21-year-old Test regular has been at the heart of Leicester’s showings this season, playing a huge role in the side’s territorial dominance. Now Eddie Jones’ go-to 15, Steward is as sure as can be under a high-ball and maybe even better at returning them. The Tiger edges past Harlequins’ Tyrone Green who was phenomenal but missed considerable time for the now ex-champions.
14 Max Malins (Saracens): This season brought tries galore for the Saracens flyer who crossed the whitewash 16 times in 15 outings. Malins was just 20 points, or four tries, from beating Marcus Smith, who takes kicking duties for Harlequins, for points scored in the Premiership this season – just ludicrous.
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins): The Quins outside-centre’s consistency and durability is getting ridiculous at this point. Marchant continues to wow with his instinctive play and phenomenal tackling ability – so much so that he’s worked his way into Jones’ good books.
12 Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins): Andre “the giant” Esterhuizen lived up to his price-tag once more for the west-London side with heaps of clean breaks, defenders beaten and thumping carries. The 2022 RPA Players’ Player of the Year was an easy selection despite the defensive prowess and attacking might of Nick Tompkins for Saracens.
11 Cadan Murley (Harlequins): Tommy Freeman burst onto the scene for Northampton while Murley showed sheer brilliance at Harlequins, but only one was awarded a place with England. The Quins try-machine’s snub from Jones should not be seen as an indicator of lack of talent however, as Murley set the Premiership on fire with his kilometres of ground made and nose for the in-goal area.
10 George Ford (Leicester Tigers): Mister reliable was everything you could have wanted him to be this season for the Tigers with Ford playing a key role, alongside Steward, in the side’s dominant aerial attack. Harlequins’ Marcus Smith was also eye-catching at times but scored less than half the points of the Tigers’ 10.
9 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints): Flair, pace and consistent forward progress is what the England international brings to Northampton as he beats out Quins veteran Danny Care for the spot. Mitchell was key to the Saints’ late play-off push which saw them fall to the eventual league winners in a fantastic semi-final at Welford Road.
8 Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers): We could have tossed a coin between a number of outstanding eights but Wiese’s consistency in carry and clearing earns him our spot. Any of Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Brad Shields (Wasps) or Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester) could have made this place, but the champion Tiger is the man who gets our nod.
7 Ben Earl (Saracens): He might have had a quiet game in the final, but the explosive openside has been in blistering form all year and it’s incomprehensible that England are not taking him to Australia. Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester) has been a towering lineout presence all season and he joins the jackal-master Tommy Reffell (Leicester Tigers) in our honourable mentions.
6 Hanro Liebenberg (Leicester Tigers): The big South African has been a thorn in the breakdown of every one of his opponents this season and adds a formidable lineout presence to our back-row. His crucial try in the Premiership final capped an amazing season for the Tiger. Saracens’ Theo McFarland has shone brightly at times, as has Jordy Reid of Gloucester.
5 Freddie Clarke (Gloucester): The Gloucester rolling maul has been one of the most potent weapons in the Premiership and it all starts with Clarke’s power in the catch and drive. Elsewhere, Nick Isiekwe (Saracens) and Elliot Stooke (Wasps) have been impressive and consistent all season.
4 Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks): The abrasive Springbok has been a powerhouse for the Sharks all year and he takes one of our engine room berths, beating off the excellence of Callum Green (Leicester Tigers) and the emergence of Quins’ mobile Hugh Tizzard.
3 Vincent Koch (Saracens): The world champion continues to pressure every opponent he encounters and his mobility and pace in the loose sees him selected over the scrummaging excellence of Harlequins’ Will Collier and the evergreen Tiger, Dan Cole. Wasps will build their pack around Koch’s massive shoulders next year.
2 Julian Montoya (Leicester Tigers): Until the final, George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons) was a shoo-in for our hooker berth but given Montoya’s brilliance in the final itself, it’s he who has won yet another big moment. A shout out too, for Jack Walker of Harlequins whose consistency has been rewarded with an England tour.
1 Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers): The emotional heartbeat of every side he plays against, Genge has gone from angry tyro to world class loosehead this season, demonstrating new maturity after being awarded the Tigers captaincy and capping an incredible season by lifting the Premiership crown. He sees off the mauling power of Gloucester’s Val Rapava-Ruskin and the excellence of Saracens’ Eroni Mawi.
READ MORE: England: Saracens’ Billy Vunipola recalled to squad for tour to Australia
The article Premiership: Planet Rugby’s Team of the Season dominated by victorious Leicester Tigers appeared first on Planetrugby.com.