Ex-Munster man Coughlan wins player of the season award in France

The 35-year-old collected his prize at the LNR ceremony last night.

FORMER MUNSTER NUMBER eight James Coughlan collected the 2014/15 Pro D2 player of the season award at last night’s LNR awards.

The 35-year-old Cork man made a major impact last season as he guided Pau to promotion from France’s second tier. Coughlan won over fans, teammates and the rugby media in l’Hexagone with his muscular, all-action performances.

The Irishman’s leadership and intelligence on the pitch were vital for Simon Mannix’s side as they strolled to the Pro D2 title, winning by a clear 11 points at the end of the campaign to jump into the Top 14 for this season.

Ex-Munster men Paddy Butler and Sean Dougall have since joined Coughlan in the back row, while former Munster backroom staff member Elliot Corcoran is the head performance analyst at the club, with Paddy O’Sullivan assisting in that department.

Pau endured a difficult start to the new season but are now six points clear of the relegation zone in 12th position, with the arrivals of All Black pair Conrad Smith and Colin Slade adding some class to their backline.

Coughlan’s performances have, unsurprisingly, remained utterly consistent and impactful in a back row that has been all ex-Munster on several occasions.

Meanwhile, Sergio Parisse picked up the award for the best Top 14 player in 2014/15, while Yoann Huget was named best international player of the season.

Jérôme Garcès scooped the refereeing award, while Stade Français’ staff – which includes Laois man Kevin Smith in the S&C department – was named as the best in the Top 14 after a campaign that saw them claim the title.

Pau’s staff won the same award for the Pro D2, while Juandre Kruger’s effort for Racing 92 won best try of the season.

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