TIGHTHEAD Leon Brown has become only the second Dragons player to be named in the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team after a season that saw the powerful prop force his way back into the Wales squad.

The 23-year-old from Newport enjoyed a superb 2019/20 campaign after responding with determination to missing out on the World Cup.

The front rower’s exploits have earned selection in the PRO14 XV of the season – the first Rodney Parade player to have such an honour since flanker Colin Charvis in 2007.

Brown featured in 11 league games for the Dragons, plus five in the European Challenge Cup, and made strides at the set piece to go along with his dynamism around the park.

 

His long-range tries against the Ospreys, both at Rodney Parade and the Liberty Stadium, caught the eye but it was his scrummaging that earned the praise of his boss Dean Ryan, and led to a Wales recall.

Brown was a replacement in the uncapped November fixture against the Barbarians then added oomph off the bench in the Six Nations.

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"He is learning a lot and is getting better and better each training session. He has come a long way in a very, very short space of time,” said Pivac during the championship.

"Leon is an exciting prospect because he fits the profile that we are looking for – he is a big man and is very quick in training with fast feet.

"It's just about getting him into good habits and making sure he can repeat performances week in, week out.”

Brown’s season has been recognised with selection for the PRO14 Dream Team, which honours players who have played a minimum of eight league games.

Cardiff Blues centre Rey Lee-Lo is the only other player from a Welsh side to get the nod, with beaten semi-finalists Edinburgh leading the way with eight players.

Brown’s teammate Taine Basham was pipped to the Next-Gen Star of the Season award, which went to Leinster’s bright back row talent Caelan Doris.

The gong recognises those aged under 23 who had five caps of fewer before the start of the campaign.

The impressive Doris, 22, earned a call-up to the Six Nations thanks to his exploits with Leinster and featured against Scotland and England.

Last week it was announced that Dragons lock Matthew Screech was the PRO14 'Ironman' after appearing in 1,161 Guinness PRO14 minutes this season, starting all 15 of his appearances.

PRO14 Dream Team: Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby), Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby), Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh), Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh), John Cooney (Ulster), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Joseph Dweba (Toyota Cheetahs), Leon Brown (Dragons), Scott Fardy (Leinster), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Max Deegan (Leinster), Will Connors (Leinster), Bill Mata (Edinburgh).

Award winners so far

Star of the Season: Caelan Doris (Leinster)

Golden Boot: JJ Hanrahan (Munster)

Tackle machine: Paul Boyle (Connacht)

Turnover King: Josh MacLeod (Scarlets)

Top try scorer: Rhyno Smith (Cheetahs)

Ironman: Matthew Screech (Dragons)