Connacht dominate Pro12 awards as Bundee Aki and Pat Lam win main honours
Last updated on .From the section Rugby Union
Connacht's superb season was reflected at Sunday's Pro12 annual awards as Bundee Aki and Pat Lam won the player and coach of the season honours.
The Irish province also dominated the Pro12 dream team with Aki among seven Connacht players named in the XV.
Ospreys fly-half Sam Davies took the young player award with Glasgow's Tommy Seymour winning the try honour for his score against Ulster in March.
Connacht success continued with John Muldoon handed the chairman's award.
The Connacht skipper, who has given 13 years of service to the Irish province, was presented with his award by Welsh great and Pro12 chairman Gerald Davies at the awards night in Dublin.
New Zealand-born centre Aki was joined by team-mates Matt Healy, Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham and Ultan Dillane in the Pro12's team of the year.
Leinster trio Isa Nacewa, Ben Te'o and Josh van der Flier were also included along with Ulster's Craig Gilroy, Ospreys' fly-half Davies, Glasgow's Leone Nakarawa, Munster's CJ Stander and Edinburgh's Cornell du Preez.
Connacht centre Aki was named player of the season ahead of other nominees Stander and Stuart Hogg (Glasgow) with the award chosen by Pro12 team captains and vice-captains.
Lam's coach of the season honour was no surprise after the club's achievement in reaching the Pro12 semi-finals for the first time.
Connacht have traditionally been by far the weakest of their four Irish provinces but Lam, helped by some clever recruitment, has turned the Galway-based side into a genuine force.
Ulster were handed a cheque for £10,000 to help their youth development after winning the fair play award while the golden boot award for goal-kicking accuracy was won by Cardiff Blues fly-half Gareth Anscombe.
Guinness Pro12 Award Winners
Player: Bundee Aki (Connacht)
Coach: Pat Lam (Connacht)
Young Player: Sam Davies (Ospreys)
Try: Tommy Seymour (Glasgow)
Fair Play: Ulster
Golden Boot: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues)
Chairman's Award: John Muldoon (Connacht)
Pro12 Dream team: Isa Nacewa (Leinster) capt; Matt Healy (Connacht), Bundee Aki (Connacht), Ben Te'o (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster); Sam Davies (Ospreys), Kieran Marmion (Connacht); Dennis Buckley (Connacht), Tom McCartney (Connacht), Finlay Bealham (Connacht); Leone Nakarawa (Glasgow), Ultan Dillane (Connacht); CJ Stander (Munster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster), Cornell du Preez (Edinburgh)