*Players from the ‘Supporters’ Team of the Year’ considered upon other performances and accolades and both the end of last season and beginning of the 2022/23 calendar weigh in on the decisions as the 61-man shortlist was trimmed down.
Indigo Group Premiership Team of the Year
There are many strong contenders, but here are the best fifteen players across the last calendar year.
1. Rowan Jenkins (Aberavon)
The groundskeeper of Aberavon’s Talbot Athletic Ground has been one of the most consistent players in the league for a number of years now, picking up the 2020-21 Player of the Year accolade as well as being shipped into Cardiff Rugby’s squad to face Toulouse when they faced quarantine issues a little over twelve months ago.
Contenders: Ben Stephens (Pontypridd), Rhys Barrett (Cardiff).
2. Rob Jones (Pontypridd)
Rob has begun the 2022/23 Indigo Group Premiership season just as he had ended last year’s outing, on top form. Precision arrows that could rival Michael Van Gerwen versus Michael Smith’s showdown in the darts and a monstrous scrummaging technique, he’s definitely an old-school hooker, but with a modern twist.
Contenders: Alun Rees (Cardiff). Will Griffiths (Newport), Ricky Guest (Llandovery).
3. Berian Watkins (Llandovery)
Watkins loves a tussle! Not many men are tougher than the Drovers tighthead and he loves to get involved in the hard work around the park, as well as smashing the set piece science. Definitely the standout prop this season, could we see another front rower win Player of the Season?
Contenders: Geraint James (Aberavon), Akeem Eubank-Anderson (Bridgend Ravens), Ollie Drake (Cardiff), Pedr Jones (RGC).
— The Indigo Prem (@IndigoPrem) January 3, 2023
4. Bryn Jones (RGC)
RGC’s totemic frontman, leading his side from the boilerhouse. The second row is a staple of the North Walians strong pack that has immerged over the past few years under Ceri Jones’ guidance. Jones is the man who makes a difference even when you can’t immediately spot it, and has been a key player in what has been the most-improved Indigo Group Premiership club in 2022. Nobody has been involved at more rucks than Jones this season.
Contenders: Shay Smallman (Aberavon), Josh Skinner (Newport).
5. Jack Jones (Llandovery)
The Drovers captain featured in 21 games in 2022, losing just six as the Church Bank outfit started to motor before the New Year. He racked up his 100th Drovers appearance in December and even bagged a rare try, only his third in the red, green and white stripes. A key man for the set piece and always an inspirational leader, on or off the pitch.
Contenders: Kristian Parker (Pontypridd), Dylan Bartlett (Ebbw Vale).
6. Dan Owen (RGC)
RGC’s backrow has shone this season with the addition of Theo Mayall and Ethan Fackrell to the ranks, as well as Dragons academy Ben Moa. But, without a doubt the best of a great bunch is Dan Owen. Superb over the ball, and with ball in hand. The blindside does the hard work of a six, the breakdown efforts of a openside and holds the explosiveness of an eight.
Contenders: Cally James (Pontypridd), Alex Everett (Cardiff), Luca Giannini (Llanelli), Tom Curry (Carmarthen Quins), Ashton Evans (Aberavon).
7. Lewis Young (Ebbw Vale)
The Steelmen’s lineout caller and turnover king has hit top speed since the return of rugby in September. Despite hitting a three-week ban after seeing red away to Aberavon, Young remains top of the charts for dominant tackles and top-five for both jackal attempts and turnovers won in the Indigo Group Premiership rankings.
Contenders: Lloyd Evans (Aberavon), Will Hickey (Swansea), Osian Davies (Merthyr), Stuart Worrell (Llandovery).
8. Morgan Allen (Cardiff)
The reigning Indigo Group Premiership champions Cardiff wouldn’t be complete without their barnstorming eight, Morgan Allen. He’s beaten 17 defenders already this season off just 89 carries with a 56% dominance rate. He’s always good for a try and the heartbeat of a great set piece.
Contenders: Iestyn Rees (Llandovery), Tom Daley (Merthyr), Andrew Waite (Aberavon), Morgan Strong (Bridgend Ravens).
— Robert Rees (@Rreesrugby) September 18, 2022
9. Lee Rees (Llandovery)
The talismanic scrum half made his 300th appearance for Llandovery when he started against Llanelli back in November and hasn’t looked like dropping form any time soon. One of the best players to ever feature in the Welsh Premiership, he has single handedly won games this year and the 31-year-old, who turns 32 later this month is revelling like a fine cheese.
Contenders: Luke Crane (Newport), Rhodri Cole (Aberavon), Harri Williams (Llanelli), Jon Evans (Ebbw Vale).
10. Dion Jones (RGC)
The RGC fly half had a cracking 2022, and is helping the ‘Gogs’ become real contenders for silverware. 61 points from the boot and four tries to accompany those, he’s the heart of the attack for the Colwyn Bay outfit. Only Andrew Waite has beaten more defenders as Jones once again proves he’s both class with ball in hand and as a distributor.
He’s fought off the strongest pool of opposition to take the outside half position.
Contender: Will Reed (Newport), Dan Fish (Cardiff), Ioan Hughes (Llandovery), Evan Lloyd (Ebbw Vale), Gareth Thompson (Merthyr), Josh Phillips (Llanelli), Dan Edwards (Swansea).
11. Aaron Warren (Llandovery)
Warren brought up his 200th appearance in Drovers colours back in September and has started this season as strongly as he ended last, where he bagged back-to-back hat-tricks against Aberavon and Carmarthen. He now features in a strong backline that includes his brother Adam, and has bagged five tries already this season.
His potent threat for the whitewash, breakneck speed and powerful fend see him make the first winger jersey in our team.
Contenders: Iestyn Hopkins (Swansea), Dale Stuckey (Pontypridd).
Special day for one of the Drover supporters favourite sons – Aaron Warren aka Panda 🐼 makes his 200th Appearance! Diwrnod arbennig a bydd ei frawd Adam wrth ochr e!
One proud club!
— Llandovery RFC (@llandoveryrfc) September 3, 2022
12. Joe Gage (Aberavon)
Nobody has featured more for the Wizards in 2022 than Joe Gage, racking up 823 minutes and six tries in the process, all of which have come this season. He’s won 10 turnovers for the year, also an ‘Avon high, and always manages to break the gainline in midfield. Despite stiff opposition, there hasn’t been a more consistent inside centre in the Indigo Group Premiership in 2022.
Contenders: Matt O’Brien (Newport), Rhys Davies (Merthyr), Kristian Jones (Llandovery).
13. Arron Pinches (Merthyr/Cardiff)
Pinches made the transition down to the capital in the summer, but despite a drop in feet above sea level, his form has remained sky high. The midfield Marshal dictates attacks wherever he goes and managed it with both the Ironmen and Blue and Blacks.
Contenders: Cameron Lewis (Newport).
14. Dewi Cross (Bridgend Ravens/Cardiff)
The 2022/23 top try scorer to date, with 13, Cross has raised his form beyond expectations since moving from Bridgend over the summer. The sleight, rapid, winger is an ever-present danger, who will get plenty more opportunities to score some ‘meat pies’ with the quality ball inside him.
Contenders: Carrick McDonough (Ebbw Vale), Sam Jones (Merthyr).
15. Sam Earl-Jones (RGC)
RGC stalwart fullback Sam Earl-Jones is the creator from deep. Excellent under high ball, he’ll manage to create a chance out of nothing. His powerful boot also keeps sides pinned back when they look to play the territory game.
Contenders: Dai Richards (Newport), Morgan Richards (Pontypridd/Ebbw Vale), Cam Winnett (Cardiff), Ed Howley (Bridgend).
“Main photo credit”