Friday, May 16, 2014

Aviva Premiership: Samu Manoa named in Dream Team


Photo The Independent
USA Eagles forward Samu Manoa has enhanced his reputation as being the best North American in global rugby today. The twenty-nine year old has been named in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Team of the Year on Thursday evening at a special awards night. The top award went to English test fullback Mike Brown who bet Manoa and four other players shortlisted for the award.

Manoa is to start for the Northampton Saints in the clubs in today's Aviva Premiership Semi Final against East Midlands rivals, the Leicester Tigers. The match is to be played at Franklin's Gardens with Manoa starting in the second-row together with English powerhouse Courtney Lawes. 

Manoa's USA Eagles teammate Blaine Scully will not feature in the Semi Final but Leicester will be starting Argentine veteran Marcos Ayerza at loosehead prop. Ayerza has previously been selected in the Aviva Premiership Dream Team but this year Joe Marler was selected. Marler is one of only two English born forwards named in the team. 

The multi-national side features Nambia's Rugby World Cup 2011 captain Jacques Burger, former All Black Daniel Braid and Australian born English international Billy Vunipola in the back-row. Manoa joins the uncapped New Zealander Michael Paterson in the second-row while Samoan tighthead prop Logovi'i Mulipola was named with with Marler and Dave Ward in the front-row.

The back-line has a five-two split with English players Mike Brown, Luther Burrell, Kyle Eastmond, Stephen Myler and Danny Care all named. Joining them are two Fijian wingers with Bath's Semesa Rokoduguni named on the right wing and Leicester's Vereniki Goneva on the left. 

The naming of the Californian in the Dream Team of English rugby this season sees both the USA and Canada having players recognized as being amongst the best in Europe. Canadian Jeff Hassler was named in the Rabo Direct Pro 12 Dream Team as the best right winger in the Celtic-Italian league. Both Manoa and Hassler are expected to face Scotland next month as the Northern Europeans play tests against the USA, Canada, Argentina and South Africa. 

Award Winners:
Player of the Season: Mike Brown

Director of Rugby: Mark McCall (Saracens)
Land Rover Discovery of the Season: Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Community Player of the Season: Dean Schofield (Worcester)
Golden Boot: George Ford (Bath)
Top Try-Scorer: Vereniki Goneva (Leicester)
Forward of the Year: Nick Easter (Harlequins)

BT Sport Dream Team: 15 Mike Brown (Harlequins); 14 Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby); 13 Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), 12 Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), 11 Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers); 10 Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints), 9 Danny Care (Harlequins); 1 Joe Marler (Harlequins), 2 Dave Ward (Harlequins), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola (Leicester Tigers), 4 Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints), 5 Michael Paterson (Sale Sharks), 6 Daniel Braid (Sale Sharks), 7 Jacques Burger (Saracens), 8 Billy Vunipola (Saracens).

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