Alastair Kellock earns captain's role in Magners 'Dream Team'
The Celtic Rugby organisers staged the event at the Millennium Stadium with sponsors Magners as a precursor to this season's launch in the same Cardiff venue today. Each season Celtic Rugby asks rugby journalists to select a 'Dream Team' of players who have impressed most during the season and four Scottish-based players - Kellock, his Glasgow team-mates John Barclay and Dan Parks, and Tim Visser, the Edinburgh winger - were picked ahead of more experienced international rivals.
This year, however, the organisers took things a step further and selected a captain, and last night Kellock was revealed as the man most felt to be the best leader throughout last season. The lock, currently injured, was a key figure in Glasgow's rise to fourth in the league and an appearance in the first play-offs. He went on to replace Chris Cusiter as Scotland captain for the successful tour of Argentina and returned as the first Scotland skipper in history to experience a Test series win.
Acknowledging the quality of the 'Dream Team', which features British and Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll and Lions caps Jamie Heaslip, Tommy Bowe, James Hook, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, as well as All Blacks Ben Blair and Jerry Collins, Kellock said he was stunned to be chosen as the skipper.
He said: "It was hugely pleasing just to be named in the side. To be selected as captain is doubly satisfying and something I will cherish. We worked extremely hard at Glasgow to get to the play-offs last season and there's a real desire around the club to build on that achievement and push on again this year."
Paterson's award of the 'Gilbert Golden Boot' in recognition of him topping the accuracy charts with 40 out of 45 successful kicks at goal last term - a success rate of just under 90 per cent - further underlined the Scot's quality as the world's foremost goal-kicker as he saw off the Celtic challenge from the likes of Ronan O'Gara, James Hook, Jonny Sexton, Ben Blair and Parks.
The award also helped to sweeten Paterson's return to the Millennium Stadium.It was there that the Edinburgh and Scotland full-back last played a competitive match, suffering the serious kidney injury that forced him off in the incredible RBS Six Nations match with Wales, his 100th Test appearance, and out of rugby until Saturday's pre- season match at Bath.
He said: "You only need to look at the other names in the running for the boot to know that there are any number of talented goal-kickers in the Magners League, so it gives me great satisfaction to know that I've been doing my job in such a way that the team have seen a benefit." There was further celebration for Edinburgh with their Dutch import Visser scooping the young player of the season award, the 23-year-old having finished the season as the league's top try-scorer.
Visser joined Edinburgh last summer from Newcastle and scored ten tries in just 17 appearances, including the quickest hat-trick in league history, against the eventual league winners, Ospreys, at Murrayfield in March.
15 B Blair (Cardiff)
14 T Bowe (Ospreys)
13 B O'Driscoll (Leinster)
12 J Hook (Ospreys)
11 T Visser (Edinburgh)
10 D Parks (Glasgow)
9 T O'Leary (Munster)
1 G Jenkins (Cardiff)
2 K Owens (Scarlets)
3 A Jones (Ospreys)
4 L Cullen (Leinster)
5 A Kellock (Glasgow, capt)
6 J Collins (Ospreys)
7 J Barclay (Glasgow)
8 J Heaslip (Leinster)