Four Ulster players have been named in the PRO14’s Team of the Season so far following the league’s suspension due to the ongoing pandemic.
The northern province’s high selection number on the team, which was selected using stats from Opta, sees them tied with Edinburgh as the most represented club on the selection team. European Player of the Year nominees John Cooney [scrum-half] and Marcell Coetzee [No.8] are both included, where they are joined by team-mates Robert Baloucoune [wing] and Tom O’Toole [tight-head prop] in the side.
Before the shutdown, Ulster had been in a rich vein of form losing just four of their 12 domestic encounters while they also sit in second place in Conference B.
The only other Irish representatives include Leinster duo Dave Kearney and Will Connors who have had excellent seasons throughout Leinster’s unbeaten run of 16 games.
However, despite Leinster’s dominance domestically, it is Ulster who have garnered most of the plaudits this season and that is shown on the team selected by British sports analytics company, Opta.
Cooney has kicked 94 points in the league this season which is the second-highest in the PRO14 while he’s also got an 89% success rate from the tee. The destructive Coetzee has been a dominant force this campaign amassing 215 metres in 114 carries, as well as his nine turnovers ranking fifth overall.
Baloucoune has been one of the best wingers on show this season scoring five tries in six games, while he’s also displayed some great defensive skills for someone so young. O’Toole has had an extremely impressive season under Dan McFarland carrying for 95 metres in 65 carries with a tackling rate of 98%.
PRO14 Team of the Season so far:
H Amos (Cardiff); R Baloucoune (Ulster), N Grigg (Glasgow), M Scott (Edinburgh), D Kearney (Leinster); P Horne (Glasgow), J Cooney (Ulster); P Dooley (Leinster), S Otten (Ospreys), T O’Toole (Ulster); L Carmichael, G Gilchrist; M Bradbury (Edinburgh), W Connors (Leinster), M Coetzee (Ulster).