Prop Leon Brown has been named in the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team for season 2019/20 after a vote by media across all five participating nations, including former players and coaches.
Backed by Dean Ryan to be a scrum "weapon" for the Dragons with the openness to tackle his shortcomings head on after suffering Rugby World Cup disappointment, Brown hasn’t failed to disappoint.
The Newport-born front row has played sixteen times for Dragons this campaign, the most he has featured in since his debut in 2016.
He bagged memorable tries against Ospreys this season in both the encounters, home and away, as well as forcing himself back into international reckoning featuring as a replacement in all four of Wales unfinished Six Nations campaign.
Speaking after an early season fixture against Munster, Ryan backed his player to prove his point through his performances, saying, "I am really pleased for Leon because there has been a spotlight on him and not being picked for a World Cup is difficult.
"He has attracted a lot of headlines but people should look at that performance and see that is a weapon coming forward for the Dragons.
"The first thing that has impressed me is how open he has been," he continued. "I don't know the answers, because I'm not a scrum coach, but I did ask him to look at doing things differently because it was pointless carrying on doing the same things.
"Sometimes an international has more to lose because of their status than somebody who is breaking into the team. To have somebody who is playing international rugby be open enough to then try and bring that into a PRO14 game (is great).
"I am really pleased for him because that looked a really big scrum, and it looked something that will only go in the right direction.”
In total, seven teams are represented in the Dream Team selection, but only two players come from Welsh teams. Edinburgh lead the way with six selections, finalists Leinster have three, their opponents Ulster have two players in the team with Dragons, Cheetahs, Benetton and Cardiff Blues all earning one spot each. To qualify players needed to appear a minimum of 8 appearances during the current campaign.
Dream Team 2019/20:
1 Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh)
2 Joseph Dweba (Toyota Cheetahs)
3 Leon Brown (Dragons)
4 Scott Fardy (Leinster)
5 Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)
6 Max Deegan (Leinster)
7 Will Connors (Leinster)
8 Bill Mata (Edinburgh)
9 John Cooney (Ulster)
10 Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh)
11 Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh)
12 Stuart McCloskey (Ulster)
13 Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues)
14 Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby)
15 Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby)
Guinness PRO14 2020 Winners to date:
Next-Gen Star of the Season: Caelan Doris | Leinster
Gilbert Golden Boot: JJ Hanrahan | Munster
Ronseal Tackle Machine: Paul Boyle | Connacht
Big Red Cloud Turnover King: Josh MacLeod | Scarlets
Guinness PRO14 Top Try-scorer: Rhyno Smith | Toyota Cheetahs
Guinness PRO14 Ironman: Matthew Screech | Dragons
Tomorrow, September 10, the Guinness Players’ Player of the Season and Guinness Coach of the Season will be announced.
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