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Dublin: 22 °C Thursday 16 July, 2020

Crowley makes history as Benetton coach lands Pro14 award

The Kiwi was voted as the Pro14′s coach of the season at the annual awards ceremony in Dublin last night.

Benetton coach Kieran Crowley with his award.
Benetton coach Kieran Crowley with his award.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KIERAN CROWLEY HAS become the first coach of an Italian team to win the Pro14′s coach of the season award after guiding Benetton to a historic play-off place. 

The 57-year-old New Zealander arrived in north eastern Italy in 2016 and this season made history by guiding the team to the Pro14 quarter-finals for the first time.

Benetton’s brave bid to reach the semi-finals ended in an agonising 15-13 loss away to Munster in Limerick on Saturday, but Crowley’s extraordinary work was recognised at the Pro14 awards in Dublin last night.

The Kiwi beat off competition from Leinster’s Leo Cullen to the award, which was voted for by fellow coaches. 

“It’s an honour for me to receive this award, the fruit of three years of programming and hard work by the whole team,” said Crowley.

“When I arrived in Treviso, our sporting director Antonio Pavanello asked me first of all to train people and to build a rugby culture that could give life to a project and today we can say that we are at a good point.

“We need to become aware of what we have demonstrated and use it as a starting point for what we will do in the future.”

Guinness PRO14 Award winners The award winners at the Guinness Storehouse. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s Fijian back row Bill Mata was honoured by his opponents as he was named the Players’ Player of the Season, with out-half Jaco van der Walt claiming the Golden Boot with a goal-kicking accuracy of 86.84%.

Glasgow’s Adam Hasting was named the Next-Gen Star of the Season, following in the footsteps of Jordan Larmour, Joey Carbery and Stuart Hogg in recent seasons. 

Pro14 award winners:

  • Player’s Player of the Year: Bill Mata (Edinburgh Rugby)
  • Coach of the Season: Kieran Crowley (Benetton Rugby)
  • Pro14 Chairman’s Award: Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby)
  • Next-Gen Star of the Season: Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors)
  • Golden Boot: Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh Rugby)
  • Top Try-scorer: Rabz Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs)
  • Tackle Machine: James King (Ospreys Rugby)
  • Turnover King: Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues)
  • Iron Man: Tian Schoeman (Toyota Cheetahs).

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