15. Nick Abendanon (Bath Rugby)
Before its ugly conclusion, the West Country derby had been a fairly dire affair. Abendanon was a shining light, however, making a monstrous 126 metres with ball in hand and consistently breaking the gainline for Bath. Great beard, too.
14. David Lemi (Worcester Warriors)
It wasn’t quite enough to grab the comeback win against Exeter, but Lemi’s brace helped Worcester come away with a crucial two points. The first was the pick of his efforts, a sublimely judged chip ahead which he collected and crashed over under intense pressure from the defence.
13. Marcelo Bosch (Saracens)
A classy outing from Saracens’ Argentine in the midfield, who smashed a couple of long range penalties and scored a try for an 11 point haul as Sarries dispatched closest rivals Saints.
12. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
A brace from the big man as he looked back to his best, beating nine defenders along the way. Showed a mixture of power, pace and timing to score two tries that ultimately sank Wasps. Mention to Sam Hill who was excellent for the Chiefs.
11. Andy Fenby (London Irish)
Tough to argue with a hattrick, as London Irish ran riot over the Newcastle Falcons. Fenby grabbed the headlines from his more illustrious back three mates, making three clean breaks on his way to a scintillating hattrick. Mention to opposite number Sinoti Sinoti who beat a round-high 10 defenders in a losing cause for Newcastle.
10. Gareth Steenson (Exeter Chiefs)
A try, an assist, eight defenders beaten and 67 metres made – the stats speak for themselves as Exeter’s stand-off orchestrated a superb attacking performance from the Chiefs.
9. Danny Care (Harlequins)
The England scrum half continued his insatiable form against Sale, injecting zip and menace into the Quins attack to come away with a try and an assist for his efforts. Dictated play well and broke the line almost at will.
1. Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Scrummaged hard and rumbled over the gainline on several occasions as Harlequins won a crucial game over play-off rivals Sale on Friday night.
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
Brits would not look out of place in the centres. In fact, it is almost a shame he spends so long in tight as when the play gets loose he is so dangerous. There were some lineout wobbles early on, but he more than made up for that with his break for what was one of the tries of the season. Mention to Exeter’s Jack Yeandle who grabbed an impressive brace.
3. Fraser Balmain (Leicester Tigers)
Scrummaged strongly against more vaunted opposition, made nine carries for 17 metres, snaffled a turnover and made 10 tackles without missing any. Not a bad day at the office for the Tigers’ young tighthead.
4. Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby)
It wasn’t pretty at Kingsholm, but that’s exactly how Attwood likes it. Part of an impressive forward effort for Bath, the towering second row was always effective when carrying the ball and finished as his side’s second top tackler.
5. Nic Rouse (London Irish)
A humungous shift in the tight from the lock, who racked up an astonishing 23 tackles over the course of a game that his side dominated on the scoreboard but not in territory or possession.
6. Blair Cowan (London Irish)
Probably the individual performance of the weekend from Cowan, who made 21 tackles with none missed, carried nine times for 30 metres and generally got through a mountain of work for Irish.
7. Guy Thompson (London Wasps)
Did not deserve to end on the losing team, as he ran in a superb finish for Wasps’ early try and made a huge 22 tackles without missing a single one. A massive shift. Mention to opposite man Salvi who, to his credit, also expended a huge amount of effort for the Tigers.
8. Nathan Hughes (London Wasps)
His side may have lost but Hughes was hands down one of the best players on the pitch at Welford Road. Like Thompson he got through a mountain of work, and carried strongly to end with 57 metres made.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images