Edinburgh's Duhan van der Merwe and Richard Cockerill named player and coach of the season
Capital pair voted best player and best coach by their peers for the 2019-20 season
Edinburgh’s Duhan van der Merwe and Richard Cockerill have been voted player and coach of the season in the Guinness Pro14 by their peers.
The capital side finished top of Conference B, winning 11 and losing four of their 15 regular season fixtures. But they suffered a surprise defeat at home to Ulster in the play-off semi-final last Saturday night.
Winger Van der Merwe won the Guinness Players’ Player of the Season award as voted for by the captains and vice-captains at each team in the Pro14.
The 25-year-old scored seven tries and set up two and also topped the Opta stats charts for defenders beaten (76), metres made (906) and clean breaks (31).
His average of 5.6 defenders beaten per game set a new record for the Guinness Pro14, breaking his own existing record of 5.3 set in 2017-18. His team-mate Bill Mata earned the accolade last season.
Van der Merwe said: “I feel hugely privileged to win this award. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I could achieve something this big and it’s a brilliant feeling knowing that it was voted by the guys I face in the Guinness Pro14 week in, week out.
“I genuinely couldn’t have won this without the help of everyone at Edinburgh Rugby and I can’t wait to push the club further next season.”
Cockerill, meanwhile, has revitalised Edinburgh over the last three seasons and recently signed a new contract with the club.
Six of his current squad were named in the Guinness Pro14 Dream Team on Wednesday.
The coach said: “I’m a little bit surprised, but I’m happy that it gives everybody recognition at Edinburgh Rugby. We’ve worked hard in the last three years to build what we’re doing and while it’s always nice to be recognised for an individual award, it’s very much a team effort across the club from the coaching staff, medical team, strength and conditioning guys, that have all worked really hard to do what we’re doing.
“We were obviously hugely disappointed not to reach this year’s Guinness Pro14 final, but we’re determined as ever to bounce back and drive the club forward in 2020-21.”
Edinburgh are still involved in Europe and travel to France to take on Bordeaux-Begles in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals next week.
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