Defending champions, the DHL Stormers have accounted for two of four SA players selected in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Elite XV for the 2022-23 season.
Skipper and loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, along with inside centre Daniel du Plessis, have been included in a standout lineup, in which all five participating nations were represented.
Vodacom Bulls fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse and Sharks scrumhalf Grant Williams make up the rest of the contingent from the Republic.
Ireland accounted for six of the 15 players selected, which were determined by a media vote, with two each from Scotland and Italy and one from Wales. A total of 11 teams – and seven of the top eight sides – had at least one player included, with Leinster leading the way with three.
Players had to have made a minimum of nine appearances to be considered, with the media panel given a shortlist of 10 players per position, provided by URC StatMaster. The player with the most votes in each position earned a place in the team.
Places in the Elite XV are the latest accolades to be revealed as part of three weeks of URC Awards announcements. Try of the Season, Ironman, Golden Boot and Fans’ Player of the Season are to be disclosed next week.
The Coach of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season and Fans’ Player of the Season are then revealed in the build-up to the final.
URC Elite XV – 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), 14 Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), 13 Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), 12 Daniel du Plessis (Stormers), 11 Simone Gesi (Zebre Parma), 10 Ross Byrne (Leinster), 9 Grant Williams (Sharks), 8 Gavin Coombes (Munster), 7 Scott Penny (Leinster), 6 Vaea Fifita (Scarlets), 5 Federico Ruzza (Benetton), 4 Niall Murray (Connacht), 3 Finlay Bealham (Connacht), 2 Dan Sheehan (Leinster), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).
URC Awards 2022-23:
OFX Top Try Scorer: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Tackle Machine: John Hodnett (Munster)
Turnover King: Thomas Young (Cardiff)
Next-Gen Player of the Season: Tom Stewart (Ulster)
Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix