After an incredible season of BUCS Super Rugby and the Women’s National League, the celebrations have continued flowing in the form of our end of season awards.

Eight awards. Four categories. Two leagues. The awards up for grabs were: Fans’ Player of the Season, Player of the Season, Fans’ Coach of the Season and Team of the Season. 

Fans’ Player of the Season 

Following nearly 5,000 votes across the two Fans’ Player of the Season votes, our winners were Swansea’s Gwyn Parks in BUCS Super Rugby and Loughborough’s Nnenna Oyeka in the Women’s National League.  

Both players enjoyed memorable seasons with Gwyn producing one of the most iconic moments of the season - slotting the longest drop goal in BUCS Super Rugby history - and Nnenna ending the year as the African Violet’s joint top try scorer on six. 

Player of the Season 

Next up in the Player of the Season category, BUCS Super Rugby saw one standout performer who goes by the name of Fred Davies. The Durham captain set the league alight this year going over the whitewash a record 24 times, to lead his Durham side to a second successive league title. He also finishes his Palatinate years as the BUCS Super Rugby all-time top try scorer with 38 tries. A huge career at the Bristol Bears awaits.  

Over in the Women’s National League, it was an Edinburgh and Scotland star who took the award. Centre Meryl Smith was instrumental in her sides league season scoring 13 tries, a tie for the most with teammate Cieron Bell. Two of those 13 tries came in the Women’s National League National Championship Final loss to Hartpury. 

Fans' Coach of the Season 

A new award this year, the Coach of the Season, has been voted for by the fans. In BUCS Super Rugby, the Swans have swept both the fans’ votes as their Head Coach, Hugh Gustafson has been named Coach of the Season after an impressive campaign leading his side to 5th in the table following a seven-game winning streak in only their second full season in league. 

It was an international rugby star who took the Women’s National League Coach of the Season accolade in only her first season in charge. Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt led Hartpury to a BUCS Women’s National Championship title, following a strong league season, finishing in 2nd. An impressive feat for Mo, who has had to juggle coaching with playing for Gloucester-Hartpury in the Allianz Premier 15s and winning the grand slam with England during the TikTok Women’s Six Nations. 

Team of the Season 

Moving onto the final awards category of the season, the holy grail of the awards, the Team of the Season. In BUCS Super Rugby it is dominated by league champions Durham, who have six players in the squad. In addition, Exeter, Loughborough and Cardiff Met have two players each, while Hartpury, Cardiff and Leeds Beckett all have one player included. 

The cornerstone of Durham’s league success, Monty Royston, Fred Davies and Matt Woodward make up the front row along with Marijn Huis in behind. Joining Marijn as one of the locks is University of Exeter and Exeter Chiefs star, Dafydd Jenkins. The forwards are completed with a back row of Cardiff’s Greg Ramage, Loughborough’s Teddy Leatherbarrow, and Leeds Beckett continue their reputation for having no nonsense, big, hard forwards in their star man Nick Brown. 

The half backs are made up of two English stars, the live wire that is Durham’s Harry Craven and the fresher playing beyond his years, Loughborough’s Charlie Titcombe. The two centres are Cardiff Met’s Will Rigg and Hartpury’s Matt McNab, who are joined by a back three of Roma Zheng of Cardiff Met, Paul Brown of Durham and full back Dan John from Exeter. With these five players scoring 55 tries between them over the course of the season, there’s no surprise the coaches selected them to be in this star-studded team. 

Over in the Women’s National League’s intentionally stacked XV, Durham still reigned supreme as the team with the most players on five. National Champions Hartpury and the team they beat in the final Edinburgh are level on four players each and Loughborough have two players included. 

Durham continue to dominate the forwards with front rows Bianca Ortiz-Pallen and Allie Schrenker, lock Jess Wiesheu and a powerful runner at number 8 Maelle Picut. The rest of the forwards are made up of the Hartpury duo who shone brightest at Sixways, hooker Amy Dale and Player of the Match Jordan Russell, Edinburgh lock Natasha Logan and Loughborough University and Loughborough Lightning flanker Nikita Prothero.  

Moving into the backs, headlined by Scotland and England stars Meryl Smith of Edinburgh and Emma Sing of Hartpury. They are joined by Durham’s scrum half Chloe Broom and the National Championship winning captain and Hartpury fly half Sophie Bridger. Completing the team is the joint top try scorer in the league on 13, Edinburgh’s Cieron Bell and her university teammate Holly McIntyre, and the second Loughborough University and Loughborough Lightning player Amelia Tutt. 

Massive congratulations to all the BUCS Super Rugby and Women’s National League award winners and Team of the Season members. A special thank you to all our final year players for giving so much to BSR and WNL - we wish you the best of luck on your next adventure, and look forward to welcoming you back as a fan next year. 

Thankfully we only have to wait four months to do it all over again with the best two leagues in the land. 


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