This weekend the RFU Championship "Dream Team" was announced. As expected it is dominated by Bristol Rugby, who have been the form team of the season. Curiously, of the four semi finalists in the Championship playoffs, only one team goes unrepresented – London Welsh.
Here##Q##s how the team is selected:
- The RFU Championship Dream XV is selected by the coaching teams of the respective clubs in the division and is issued on behalf of the clubs.
- Coaches cannot vote for a player at their own club.
- Votes are awarded to players that the coaching teams think has performed best in his position.
- The player with most votes in his position is selected. In the event of a tie, the player with the most ‘second-choice’ votes in his position, or with votes in an alternative position, gets selected.
The team is:
1. MARK IRISH (BRISTOL RUGBY)
2. DAVE WARD (CORNISH PIRATES)
3. AARON LIFFCHAK (LONDON SCOTTISH)
4. ROY WINTERS (BRISTOL RUGBY)
5. IAN NIMMO (CORNISH PIRATES)
6. ROBIN COPELAND (ROTHERHAM TITANS)
7. JAMES MERRIMAN (BRISTOL RUGBY)
8. SEMISI TAULAVA (ROTHERHAM TITANS)
9. GAVIN CATTLE (CORNISH PIRATES)
10. GARRY LAW (ROTHERHAM TITANS)
11. JOSH BASSETT (BEDFORD BLUES)
12. JUAN PABLO SOCINO (NOTTINGHAM RUGBY)
13. IAIN THORNLEY (LEEDS CARNEGIE)
14. JACK TOVEY (BRISTOL RUGBY)
15. ROB COOK (CORNISH PIRATES)
This is the third season in a row Welsh have featured in the semi-finals of the extended Championship playoffs, so they must have something about them. It seems not, as far as the coaches of the Championship teams are concerned. Even the hapless London Scottish, who escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth after losing to Esher, have contrived to find a player good enough to feature, and at that most crucial of positions, Tighthead Prop, too.
So, why not Welsh? I##Q##m not really sure, but one thing is certain, the ever lugubrious Lyn Jones has something to do with it. It##Q##s probably because Welsh aren##Q##t the best in any position: they##Q##re a team of journeymen who somehow have bonded into an effective unit and if they go on to win the Championship, no-one will be more pleased than me.
I hope Cardiff##Q##s Peter Thomas is watching and is able to swallow his pride. But I suspect we have more chance of seeing him tap dancing naked live on Big Brother than actually hiring the one coach Cardiff really, really need.
London Welsh##Q##s success despite limited resources isn##Q##t really a surprise. Wales##Q##s most undervalued coach is at it again. He did it at Neath, he did it at the Ospreys and he##Q##s doing it again. Richard Lyn Jones is doing what he##Q##s always done: making silk purses.