Premiership Rugby Team of the Year

Lovell Rugby’s Gallagher Premiership Team of The Year

#1. Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)

Gengey gets the nod in the number one shirt. The Bristolian loosehead captained his Leicester side to Premiership triumph, as they vanquished Saracens in the final.

Credit: England Rugby

The ‘baby rhino’, as he’s known, has the tenacity of a honey badger.

He proved it once again in the face of packs of naysayers throughout the campaign. Never one to mince his words, Genge did his bit to call out insidious racism that plagues rugby, sport and wider society, sharing a despicable direct message he received on Twitter hours after winning the title.

Undoubtedly an integral part of England’s starting XV

#2. George Mcguigan (Newcastle Falcons)

A stellar season with the Falcons saw the hooker and homegrown hero score 18 tries in 27 games across all competitions. McGuigan finished runner-up top try-scorer in the Premiership, with fifteen tries. His hooking, general scrummage work and lineout throws were top tier all season long.

Credit: OptaJonny

From 159 carries, McGuigan made 777 metres.

#3. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)

The Tigers’ academy graduate nearly followed a two-generation family tradition of playing football as a goalkeeper. Switching sports turned out to be a wise move – the tighthead prop delivered a sensational show of consistency throughout the last campaign and earned himself a call up to the England’s summer tour of Australia. Already a seasoned international at Under-18 and Under-20 level, he’ll no doubt rack up plenty more senior caps in years to come.

Credit: The RPA

The nineteen-stone 22-year-old made 104 out of 111 attempted tackles, at a success rate of 94%.

#4. Hugh Tizard (Harlequins)

Second row Tizard was nominated for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award. The young lock featured eight times for Quins in their 20/21 Premiership title-winning season. In the most recent Premiership campaign, he didn’t miss a single match and showed why at 21 years of age his future is as fine and bright as his beach blonde hair.

Credit: Harlequins

Competition for a number 4 or 5 England shirt is fierce with such an abundance of elite talent already in the senior squad and hovering on the fringes. We’re sure Tizard will be contesting for either one in the years to come.

He joins Saracens next season, who released this statement on Tizard’s behalf: “Although it was an incredibly hard decision, I feel that it is the right decision for my rugby. I want to challenge myself and grow as a player and I feel Saracens will be the perfect place to do that.”

#5. Elliott Stooke (Wasps)

An underrated all-rounder no more, Stooke shone in the Wasps jersey during his debut campaign. Now in his prime at 28, the second-rower brings a perfectly-weighted mixed bag of exuberance and experience to his team on and off the field.

Credit: Hartpury University RFC

Defence coach Wayne Henley highlighted his “awesome craic and really good banter” and ability to switch between being a jovial guy and a serious leader who makes others accountable. Stooke’s solid season came to an unfortunate end on the penultimate matchday with a nasty leg-break.

#6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton)

It’s no surprise big Courts is on a dream team list. The lofty icon is versatile; worth his salt as a second or back-row and proved why he’s one of the most feared big-hitting tacklers around with more monstrous hits in a Northampton shirt. Not many men can out-reach the 6’8 veteran In the Premiership campaign he proved to be effective.

Credit: Northampton Saints

#7. Ben Earl (Saracens)

The Gallagher Player of the Season demonstrated devastating hard hits, pack play, mauling and counter-rucking. The jackal turnover is an art form, which Earl has fully mastered. Only missing three games all season, the flanker shone in defence and showed his flair as a brilliant ball-carrier, averaging 7.17 metres per carry, contributing to the 11 tries he scored. A hat-trick came in the game against fierce rivals Harlequins

Credit: RugbyPass

The season prior to last saw Earl on loan at Bristol. “Saracens means the world to me. It is everything to me and my family, and I’m massively thankful to the opportunity they gave me to go away and then come back.”

By his own account the loan spell proved beneficial to his development as an elite player entering his career prime. Earl made it to the semi-finals with the Bears and makes no bones about the manner in which they suffered defeat. narrowly missed out on top spot.

#8. Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)

Powerhouse South African Wiese completes our dream Premiership forwards at the back of the pack at number eight. Having arrived from his hometown of Bloemfontain, he left the Cheetahs to become a Tiger in 2020, joining Leicester, where he’s settled nicely to become an integral component in a title-winning team.

Credit: Springboks

A wrecking ball of a bloke, he arrived in England last season with all the talent to boot yet not quite the level of match discipline to meet Premiership standards. Picking up 3 bookings in his first 10 games, it was clear the Bok needed to quickly adapt to English rugby. Under strict guidance of Borthwick and co., Wiese focused on cutting out errors and went 18 games without a card last season. To top it all off, he scored Leicester’s second try in the final against Saracens and was named the Man of the Match.

#9. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

At nine, we’ve gone for Saints’ scrum half Alex Mitchell. Always in command of the back line, the Englishman is like a terrier at the breakdown.

Credit: England Rugby

He’s surely the front-runner to succeed Ben Youngs as the regular starting number 9 for England.

#10. George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

Few fly-halves have consistently pulled the strings in the Gallagher Premiership over recent years as well as England’s reliable ten. With 220 points, Ford found fine form over the 21/22 campaign – ending as top points scorer.

Credit: Rugby Joe

The 29-year-old’s stellar season ended disastrously with a ruptured Achilles in the final, meaning he’ll most likely miss the start of next season with new club Sale,

#11. Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish)

One of the emerging talents of last season, the London Irish eleven scored 10 tries and averaged 10.48 metes per carry in the 18 appearances he made.

He has spent invaluable time in the England camp, though still awaits the inevitable maiden cap.

Credit: Rugby on BT Sport

Away from the pitch the 23-year-old breaks the typical pro-rugby-lad mould. He’s got a fresh individual style; he likes minimalist tattoos, plays Call of Duty and is a self-proclaimed ‘Cat Dad’, with an Instagram account for his home.

#12. André Esterhuizen (Harlequins)

Andre ‘The Giant’ South African inside centre wreaked havoc on Premiership defensive lines last season. In 25 matches, he managed 8 tries and 6 assists while making 86% of his 253 attempted tackles.

Credit: SA Rugby Magazine

Standing 6ft4” tall and weighing 113kg, the Springbok proved to be a powerful cog in the Harlequins machine. At 27, the Quins faithful will be delighted with Esterhuizen’s signature penned in September of last year.

#13. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)

Marchant joins his Quins teammate in our pick at outside centre. The deadly duo of previous champions combined plenty of times to rack up the points, with Marchant’s contribution tallying 7 tries and 2 assists.

Credit: Premiership Rugby

The 26-year-old Englishman had a 90% tackling success rate, missing only 11 of 109 attempted.

Marchant wears FG adidas RS7 while running at centre last season, powering through opposite backlines and partnering with Danny Care.

#14. Max Malins (Saracens)

How could we not have the Premiership top try scorer flying down our right-sided wing? Malin’s only featured in 15 matches yet topped the try tally with 16.

The 25-year-old who, by his own admission, is not even a traditional winger. He began pro rugby life as a promising fly-half through Saracens academy ranks, before stepping into full-back

Credit: England Rugby

had an incredible season filling in for injured England usuals Jonny May and Anthony Watson during the Six Nations

#15. Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)

Its not often 6’5”, 100kg full-backs come around. Luckily for Leicester, Freddie Steward is a Tiger. Still only 21, he garnered loads of high praise for his consistency.

Credit: England Rugby

England’s reigning player of the year was quoted in the Guardian saying “I love a challenge. Its about not being scared of failing.” Too right.

I can’t wait to rip in next season and hopefully do it all over again. But he’ll be without his pal George Ford to learn. Steward owed the development of his game to George Ford

Coach – Steve Borthwick (Leicester Tigers)

Borthwick’s side went unbeaten at home last season and bagged the Gallagher Premiership title thanks to Freddie Burns’ majestic drop goal 20 seconds-from-time at Twickenham.

Now he’s guided the Tigers to the Premiership title for the first time in nine years; a long overdue resurgence to the top after flirting with relegation in recent years.

Credit: ESPN ScrumRugby

Of course, no one should’ve questioned the minerals of a man who captained England under Martin Johnson’s reign. But it’s the sheer speed in which Borthwick has managed to turnaround the Tigers’ fortunes which is impressive. Not to mention the playing style instilled into his squad. They rarely crumble under pressure nowadays and are a cohesive unit who’re able to threaten teams any which way. Due kudos to his assistants and backroom staff as well

By Peter Wakeford

Just your everyday grassroots guru. I'm here to sprinkle some sportsy magic on your day with the latest boot drops, guides, news, and a dash of quirky humor. Let's lace up and have a laugh on this sporting adventure!

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