Ulster win four awards at Pro12 ceremony in Dublin

Nick Williams

Ulster pair Nick Williams and Luke Marshall picked up the two top Pro12 awards in Dublin on Sunday night.

New Zealand back-row Williams was voted Players' Player of the Year while Ireland centre Marshall won the Young Player award.

Ulster wing Andrew Trimble won the Try of the Season award and the Irish side also secured the Fair Play award.

Gregor Townsend was named Coach of the Season after steering Glasgow Warriors to the play-offs.

After four seasons playing in the competition at Munster and Aironi Rugby, Williams arrived in Belfast last summer and revealed his full array of talents as he scored six tries in 16 appearances in the Pro12.

Luke Marshall

The number eight beat British & Irish Lions flanker Justin Tipuric and Glasgow Warriors' Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu to the top player honour.

He follows in the footsteps of Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Ruan Piennar (Ulster) and Tim Visser (Edinburgh Rugby) in picking up the prestigious award.

Marshall had only started five games for Ulster in the Pro12 before this season, yet he grew into the centre role and not only played 11 times, but also won three caps in the Six Nations.

The 22-year-old beat Cardiff Blues outside-half Rhys Patchell and Connacht Rugby full-back Robbie Henshaw to the young player award.

Ireland wing Trimble secured the top try award for his touchdown in the win over Connacht in Galway last month.

Ulster secured a £10,000 cheque to put towards youth development after winning the Fair Play award for having the fewest yellow and red cards and citings over the 22 games - a mere six yellows.

They took over the mantle from play-off rivals Leinster, who won it the two previous seasons and finished second with six yellows and one citing.

Ian Madigan followed in the footsteps of his Leinster team-mate Johnny Sexton and Munster's Ronan O'Gara in winning the Golden Boot.

Madigan ended the regular season with 186 points from his 21 appearances, kicking 24 conversions and 36 penalties.

RaboDirect Pro12 awards:

Players' Player of the Season: Nick Williams (Ulster)

Young Player of the Season: Luke Marshall (Ulster)

Coach of the Season: Gregor Townsend (Glasgow Warriors)

Chairman's Award: Michael Swift (Connacht)

Golden Boot: Ian Madigan (Leinster)

Collision Kings: Scarlets

Fair Play Award: Ulster

Straight Talking Award: Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)

Try of the Season: Andrew Trimble (Ulster)

2013 RaboDirect Pro12 Dream Team: Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors); George North (Scarlets), Luke Marshall (Ulster), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Tim Visser (Edinburgh); Ian Madigan (Leinster), Nika Watawalu (Glasgow); Ryan Grant (Glasgow), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ali Kellock (Glasgow), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso), Nick Williams (Ulster), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).

Top Stories