SIX Munster players have been recognised for the club's impressive league season with spots in the Guinness Pro12 Dream Team.
Jaco Taute, Tyler Bleyendall, John Ryan, Dave Kilcoyne and Cork duo Rory Scannell and Billy Holland were picked in the All-Star selection, which was revealed ahead of the Guinness PRO12 Awards on Sunday.
Rory Sheridan, Head of Sponsorship for Diageo Europe, was chairman of the media panel, which comprised of journalists and broadcasters from across Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who voted for the Dream Team.
While Munster lead the way with six players, Ulster, Leinster and Scarlets received two places in the side, with Edinburgh, Connacht and Glasgow Warriors getting one each.
2016/17 Guinness PRO12 Dream Team:
15. Tiernan O'Halloran (Connacht Rugby)
14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)
13. Jaco Taute (Munster Rugby)
12. Rory Scannell (Munster Rugby)
11. Charles Piutau (Ulster Rugby)
10. Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster Rugby)
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster Rugby)
8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby)
7. James Davies (Scarlets)
6. Dan Leavy (Leinster Rugby)
5. Billy Holland (Munster Rugby)
4. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby)
3. John Ryan (Munster Rugby)
2. Ken Owens (Scarlets)
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster Rugby)
Meanwhile, Conor Murray took part in full training for Munster yesterday.
The Munster scrum-half came off the worst trying to tackle George North eight minutes before the interval in a Six Nations match in Cardiff. He hasn’t played in the intervening eight weeks, though he delivered an encouraging update yesterday, revealing he may play against Connacht in Limerick in the Guinness PRO12 this weekend. Failing that, he is a “good bet” for the semi-final in a fortnight.
“People have asked me that a couple of times and I’ve looked at the video to make sure,” he said of the injury and the attempt to play through it.
“Because I was unsure. And there was nothing in the second half that suggested I got a bang on it and made it worse.
“It was all in that impact because the impact was bad enough. The strength didn’t come back in the second half. That’s why I was taken off. But I didn’t do any more damage. I was probably risking our team’s chances with my passing.”
Meanwhile, Tyler Bleyendaal’s patience during his time injured at Munster over the last two seasons earned its rewards yesterday when the New Zealander was named 2017 Munster Player of the Year.
“I knew there was going to come a time when I’d be healthy enough to play and, in the meantime, I drank a few Guinness and made a few friends, and I’m pretty grateful for that. It’s great that it’s all working out now and as a team we’re doing really well.”
Bleyendaal has made 23 starts this season plus one appearance off the bench as Munster reached the semi-finals of the Champions Cup and Guinness Pro12, the Kiwi set for further possible honours as he leads the Pro12 Golden Boot competition heading into this weekend’s final round of regular season games.
Dunmanway’s Darren Sweetnam won the Munster Young Player of the Year award following a stellar season, while Conor Oliver won the Academy Player of the year.