15. James O’Connor (London Irish)
The Aussie troublemaker grabbed his first try for London Irish as he scored all of his side’s points against Worcester. It was a must-win game for the Exiles, and this is exactly the sort of performance O’Connor was brought in for – his quality was the difference between the two sides. Mention to Nick Abendanon of Bath, who was always superbly positioned and full of running.
14. Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
This young man is a serious talent. There seems to be little he cannot do; he is quick, strong, more than solid in defence and not afraid to get stuck in at the breakdown. He finished one try superbly and was a constant threat down his wing.
13. Marcelo Bosch (Saracens)
Super stuff from Saracens’ new Argentinian, as Bosch battled well in the mud of Kingsholm on Saturday. In seven carries he returned 44 metres and two defenders beaten, but more impressively made three offloads. Managed a turnover for good measure, too.
12. Sam Tuitupou (Sale Sharks)
Tuitupou was a constant source of front foot ball for Sale on Friday night, in gritty conditions at Kingston Park. Despite the adverse weather, the Kiwi centre managed to beat five players on his marauding midfield runs.
11. George North (Northampton Saints)
It wasn’t vintage stuff at the Gardens, and indeed North himself had a few moments to forget, but there was also plenty of good about his performance. He was simply too powerful for opposite man Walker as he comfortably brushed him off on his way to score a try brimming with pace and power.
10. George Ford (Bath Rugby)
It was a consummate all-round performance from Bath’s young fly-half, who nailed all his kicks at his old stomping ground, Welford Road. More impressive than that was his playmaking, as he scampered through gaps and threw some beautiful miss-passes to play an important role in all three of his side’s tries.
9. Joe Simpson (London Wasps)
He may be erratic at times, but Joe Simpson’s searing pace saved the day for Wasps at the weekend. First, he scorched through a gap for his side’s only try, and then, with only minutes remaining, raced back to tackle Henry Slade and, whether it was the right decision or not, deny him the try.
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Dominant in the scrum, a nuisance at the breakdown and a ball-carrying brute, this was Mako Vunipola at his best. Mind you, it is a bit of an armchair ride for opposing front rows against Gloucester at the moment. Next season cannot arrive soon enough for them.
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
Two assists for the enigmatic Saracen who showed once again that he offers something so different to virtually every other hooker out there. There was a glorious pass out of the tackle for De Kock’s opening try, while he also played a key role in Strettle’s later score with some nice hands.
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Cole’s scrummaging prowess was to the fore once again on Sunday, as he had opposite man Paul James on toast to win numerous penalties at the set-piece.
4. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Another powerful performance from Northampton’s enforcer-in-chief, making ten barnstorming carries and not missing a single tackle all night. He was also an important part of the Saints’ pack, that ultimately bullied Quins into submission.
5. Stuart Hooper (Bath Rugby)
Hooper so nearly inspired Bath to only their second ever win at Welford Road. His work rate was high in defence, ending with nine tackles, while he also snaffled a turnover at the breakdown. He also provided a solid source of possession at the line-out, and managed a couple of strong carries. The yellow card was more for the team, than himself.
6. Jamie Gibson (Leicester Tigers)
Gibson’s performance was almost Croft-esque, as the willowy flanker galloped around in the wide spaces and showcased an impressive turn of pace. There was one gorgeous offload off the floor to set Miles Benjamin free, and of course the superbly finished last minute try. He was also an excellent source of line-out ball for the Tigers.
7. Dan Braid (Sale Sharks)
Shifted across to number seven to accommodate Gibson, Braid personified a nuggety Sale win up at Newcastle on Friday night. There wasn’t a great deal to shout about at Kingston Park, but Braid carried strongly, making more metres than the rest of the pack combined, and also made thirteen tackles in a busy shift at the coalface.
8. Ofisa Treviranus (London Irish)
It was far from a vintage weekend for no.8s in the premiership, but Treviranus was just about the best of an average bunch. He made ten carries, seven tackles and a turnover, resulting in a total of 33 metres made and two defenders beaten. Solid if unspectacular.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images