Aviva Premiership Team of the week: Round 21

bath

15. Alex Goode (Saracens)
Three assists for the Sarries fullback, who cameoed brilliantly from the back all afternoon. It was not his most difficult assignment, at home to a club that ended the game relegated, but the fullback looked classy every time he got the ball. Mention to his opposite number Chris Pennell who was again fantastic and will be missed in the Premiership next season.

14. Marland Yarde (London Irish)
A blistering hattrick could not have been better timed with a little over a week before the England squad for New Zealand is announced. The first was a particular highlight, blazing his way round the outside of would-be tacklers who could barely lay a hand on him.

13. Jonny Leota (Sale Sharks)
On a weekend when some fantastic tries were scored, Leota’s stood out. After some superb build-up play from the rest of the team, the centre timed his supporting run to perfection before weaving past several Tigers defenders on his way to the line. A beautiful consolation score. Mention to Ian Whitten, who impressed for Exeter and bagged assist of the weekend for his work in the build up to Matt Jess’s try.

12. Toby Flood (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Allen had been superb before him, but Flood showed his innate understanding of the way the Tigers, and in particular Ben Youngs, play by coming off the bench to bag a brace and confirm the bonus point that took the Tigers to the semi-finals. He was inches away from a fourth, and most unlikely, hattrick of the weekend.

11. Shane Monahan (Gloucester Rugby)
They weren’t all the most difficult of finishes, but anyone who scores a hattrick is doing something right. The big Irishman came off the bench to score three tries that ultimately wiped out Marland Yarde’s efforts for the visitors. Mention to Ugo Monye of Quins, who looked back to his best with a pace and power-filled display at Exeter.

10. Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers)
Some early wobbles from the tee aside, Williams was superb for the Tigers at Sale. He regularly threatened the gainline, dancing over it on several occasions to beat six defenders. He finished with two direct assists, and had a hand in almost all the other tries too. Sublime stuff from the young Welshman. Mention also to both Ford and Myler who in the end cancelled each other out on Friday night at the Rec, and Nick Evans who had a huge hand in a vital five points for Harlequins.

9. Danny Care (Harlequins)
Scampered over for the try that brought Quins back to within touching distance of Exeter, after cutting a brilliant support line following some sublime offloads. Injected his typical pace and verve to proceedings. Mention to his England rival Ben Youngs, who looked back to somewhere near his dangerous best for the Tigers.

1. Paul James (Bath)
It hasn’t always been the case at Bath, but they have had a strong set piece this season. This continued on Friday night at the Rec, as the Bath eight coped well with a more-vaunted Northampton outfit. James was key to this effort, and also put in a titanic shift in the loose, ending his side’s second top tackler with 13 made, none missed.

2. Dave Ward (Harlequins)
Two assists would be an impressive return for a playmaking back, never mind a hooker, and yet that is what Ward finished with, proving again what a revelation he has been this season. He also carried strongly and managed four offloads in the course of the game, the epitome of the fast paced style that makes Quins so easy on the eye.

3. Logovi’i Mulipola (Leicester Tigers)
As was pointed out during the game, is there another tighthead prop that is used as such a ball carrying weapon? Against Sale Mulipola was used as a runner from deep on kick returns, a role usually reserved for barracking back rowers. More than held his own in the scrum too – not bad for a man more used to playing loosehead.

4. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Rightly cleared of any wrongdoing in the final play, Lawes again showed how he has matured this season with another display that was physical without crossing the line into illegality. He made seven hits in total, stole some Bath lineout ball and was a nuisance at the breakdown to finish with a couple of turnovers.

5. Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
It was an astonishingly open game at Adams Park, and one in which a lock with Launchbury’s athleticism was only going to excel. He carried to great effect and when he was finally caught, managed to offload well, and didn’t miss a tackle all afternoon.

6. Jackson Wray (Saracens)
Wray was one of three hattrick-heroes this weekend, which highlights what a high scoring weekend this was for the Premiership. What stood out most in the young back-rower’s performance was the way he timed his runs to perfection to barrel over the gainline on his way to each of his scores.

7. Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Rallied his troops to an astonishing comeback that sees his side’s fate in their own hands when they meet Bath next weekend. Carried an astonishing 19 times, and with the help of Luke Wallace ensured that Quins ruled the breakdown and the quick ball his side so loves was readily available.

8. Nathan Hughes (London Wasps)
A brace for a man who has truly stolen the limelight in recent months. The giant Fijian has been a revelation for Wasps, and ended the game with what turned out to be a vital 10 points for Wasps. Also smashed past six defenders and threw five offloads. Speaking of offloads, mention must go to Jordan Crane, who was Kieran Read-esque at times for Leicester.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

6 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team of the week: Round 21

  1. Haskell must have been close to this – although I haven’t seen anything of the Quins game. Haskell really looks to be at his best right now, brilliant against Newcastle.

    Wasps defense still worries me. We seem to concede tries so easily, often without the opposition having to do too much to open us up.

    1. Haskell did play well, but I feel he’s probably had his day as far as England are concerned. He’s 29 now, and with people like Kvesic, Wray Gaskell, Gibson etc who would you rather see getting caps and game time on the NZ tour?

      As for the Wasps defence, well I know people moan about Ashton’s defence, but some of those same people were calling for Varndell to be called back into the squad, and just look at his defence!

      1. Agree with you on Vardell, but massively disagree on Haskell.

        When did 29 become past it? Especially with someone like Haskell who has clearly kept himself in fantastic shape.

        Whilst young players should be given opportunities, don’t discard anyone that gets towards their late 20s. Haskell could easily still be there or there abouts for England in 2019, let alone 2015.

        I don’t think any of the back row players you mentioned are outplaying Haskell currently, in fact, outside of Wood and Robshaw I fail to see anyone outperforming him. So for me, yes, definitely some game time on the NZ tour.

        1. I agree with Jacob here, despite previously breathing a sigh of relief when Haskell was no longer being picked.

          He really seems to have worked hard this season and appears to have dropped all the silly brand stuff to concentrate on his rugby. He’s certainly playing well enough to be selected for NZ in front of those named above

          1. Agree as well- 29 is hardly ‘over-the-hill’. He seems to have fully recovered from those niggling injuries and like Robshaw worked on his speed- I have been more impressed with him playing 7 than I ever was with him at 6. I think he would offer a good partnership with either Wood or Robshaw should either get injured.

            Certainly ahead of Kvesic, Wray, Gaskell and Gibson. Been Very disappointed with Kvesic, never been a Gaskell fan, and Gibson has been good this season but not quite good enough. Been most impressed with Wray.

            On a side note, GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! According to the Telegraph, Croft will be playing for Tigers this sat. And Corbs will be playing for Saints. If they can prove fitness they both have to go to NZ for me

  2. My $0.02 on the Haskell situation. If he was 29 and had no, or little, International experience, he wouldn’t be worth taking. However, he would be one of the most capped players touring NZ, and played a season for the Highlanders, so his experience with playing in NZ could prove valuable.

    Also, from what I’ve seen from him this season, he is probably the most effective all round back row England have available, for me this makes him an ideal bench option for the first test.

    That said, after 2015, unless he has really nailed down a spot in the 23, I would want to look at younger players.

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