Sam retains his Dream Team spot27/04/2016
Jersey's Sam Lockwood has been named in the Greene King IPA Championship Dream XV for 2015/16.
The loose-head prop, who will leave the Island to join Aviva Premiership side Newcastle Falcons this summer, was one of the top-scoring selections in the side, based on votes cast by coaches of the 12 Championship sides. Half of those polled selected Lockwood to wear the number 1 shirt in this season's XV.
Doncaster’s achievement in reaching the Greene King IPA Championship semi-finals only two years after winning promotion back up to the second tier of English rugby has resulted in four Knights players being included.
Hooker Ben Hunter, flanker Latu Makaafi, scrum-half Michael Heaney and centre Will Hurrell were voted as the best performers in their respective positions throughout the season.
The three other Championship semi-finalists are well represented too, with call-ups for table-topping Bristol trio Gaston Cortes, Jack Lam and Tom Varndell. Bedford backs, Jake Sharp and Pat Tapley, get the nod at fly-half and on the wing respectively, while Yorkshire Carnegie no.8 Ryan Burrows flies the flag for the Leeds-based side.
London Welsh’s Josh McNally and Josh Thomas Brown of London Scottish make up an all-Exiles second row. Both clubs also have a player apiece in the Dream XV back division in Guy Armitage and Pete Lydon.
Lockwood is the only player to retain his place in the team after being selected 12 months ago alongside Jersey front-row colleague Harry Williams, now with Exeter Chiefs. The 28-year-old joined Jersey in January 2014, initially on a three-month loan deal from Leeds Carnegie, before making a permanent move to the Island in summer 2014. He made 50 appearances for the Reds in competitive matches, scoring five tries, until a fractured arm in last month's B& I Cup semi-final defeat to his former club brought a premature end to his season.
Another Jersey prop, the long-serving Jon Brennan, was selected for the 2012/13 Dream XV.
PROP: SAM LOCKWOOD (JERSEY)
Destructive scrummager whose ball carrying ability and work rate in defence has earned him a move to Premiership outfit Newcastle.
HOOKER: BEN HUNTER (DONCASTER KNIGHTS)
Combative hooker who has been one of the cornerstones of the Knights’ pack. Has kept Fijian World Cup player Vili Veikoso on the sidelines for most of the season. Marc Jones came an honourable second.
PROP: GASTON CORTES (BRISTOL)
Tough-as-teak Argentinean who takes no prisoners at scrum-time or at the breakdown. Pushed close for his place by Jersey’s Simon Kerrod and Doncaster veteran Colin Quigley.
LOCK: JOSH MCNALLY (LONDON WELSH)
Hard-working, ex-RAF lock who grew as a player as the season progressed and played an important role in turning around London Welsh’s fortunes.
LOCK: JOSH THOMAS BROWN (LONDON SCOTTISH)
Superb lineout technician and a larger-than-life character who brings so much energy to the group on and off the pitch.
FLANKER: LATU MAKA'AFI (DONCASTER KNIGHTS)
Tough-tackling Tongan international who carries the fight to the opposition week in week out. Has weighed in with 17 tries, the second best return in the league.
FLANKER: JACK LAM (BRISTOL)
Continued his fine form from last season after returning to the club from World Cup duty with Samoa. A superb ball-carrying, big-hitting openside who is one of Bristol’s main pack leaders.
NO.8 RYAN BURROWS (YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE)
Skittles opponents at will with his destructive runs from the base of the scrum. A real crowd-pleaser who never seems to have a bad game. Burrows’ inclusion ends Mark Bright’s three-year run in the Dream XV.
SCRUM-HALF: MICHAEL HEANEY (DONCASTER KNIGHTS)
His lightning quick service has been one of the key reasons why Doncaster’s back line has fired so well this season. Defends well for a small man and knows when to go himself. Edged out Bristol’s Will Cliff.
FLY-HALF: JAKE SHARP (BEDFORD BLUES)
Top level coach in the making due to his ability to read the game so well. Scored 128 points in the regular season and set up a hatful of tries for his team-mates with his astute kicking game and distribution skills. Accumulated more votes than any other player.
WINGER: TOM VARNDELL (BRISTOL RUGBY)
Scored more tries than any other winger in the Championship with 12 from 19 league appearances. Still a class finisher.
CENTRE: WILL HURRELL (DONCASTER KNIGHTS)
All hustle and bustle in midfield, Hurrell has consistently given the Knights go-forward in attack with his ability to run the hard yards and pump his legs through the tackle.
CENTRE: GUY ARMITAGE (LONDON WELSH)
Powerful presence in midfield who can mix it with the best physically but also possesses the pace to beat defenders on the outside if needed. Off to Wasps after a hugely impressive season-long loan deal at the Exiles. Bedford’s Michael Le Bourgeois was in the running too.
WINGER: PAT TAPLEY (BEDFORD BLUES)
Out-and-out pace merchant who makes breaks for fun. Big and strong enough to take any punishment that comes his way.
FULL-BACK: PETE LYDON (LONDON SCOTTISH)
Won no fewer than four matches for the Exiles with late kicks. An ever-present for Scottish, at full-back or fly-half, Lydon finished the season as the league’s second top points scorer with 182 points and fully deserved his club’s Player of the Year award.