Pienaar scoops Magners award
May 9, 2011
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar has been named Magners League Players' Player of the Season © Getty Images
Ulster's Springbok scrum-half, Ruan Pienaar, has capped a fine debut season in European rugby by being named Magners League Players' Player of the Season.
The 27-year-old arrived at Ravenhill from the Sharks, inspiring his new province into the play-offs, where they will face Irish rivals Leinster on Friday, and also the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup.
"It has been an unbelievable first season for me at Ulster," he said. "I came to a place that I didn't know but, thanks to the team, I settled in very quickly and enjoyed myself.
"It is going to be a massive challenge for everyone this weekend, but we will go to Dublin and enjoy the whole experience."
Dragons No.8 Toby Faletau scooped the award as Young Player of the Season following deliberation by a panel of 19 journalists while Munster's Tony McGahan was named coach of the season after masterminding their runaway success in the regular season.
There were two further awards for McGahan's men, with fly-half Ronan O'Gara taking home the Golden Boot and veteran flanker Alan Quinlan recognised with the Chairman's Award, presented by league chief Andy Irvine.
Munster face the Ospreys in the last four, with the Welsh region able to celebrate the Try of the Season award after centre Ashley Beck was honoured for his effort against Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium.
The final award went to Leinster, who secured £10,000 worth of funding for youth development by winning the season's Fair Play gong.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery