Aviva Premiership Team of the Week: Round 3

15: Mike Brown (Harlequins)
A try and an assist for the Quins fullback, and at an opportune time as well – rivals for the England shirt Ben Foden and Alex Goode also shone this weekend. Brown, however, was the pick of the bunch, with some superb quick hands setting up Joe Marler, before he also darted over the line himself.

14: Dave Strettle (Saracens)
Strettle’s start to the season has been scintillating, and his superb try-scoring form continued this weekend with another brace against Bath. There was nothing too fancy about the finishes but the fact that he is getting himself on the end of these opportunities is hugely encouraging.

13: Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Tuilagi’s tumultuous week ended on a hugely positive note after he reminded everyone just how devastating a player he is. There were nine defenders beaten in total, most of them in one barnstorming burst up the middle in the build-up to Graham Kitchener’s try.

12: Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)
There were two bits of brilliance from Twelvetrees against the Saints that should have England fans salivating at the prospect of him nailing down the 12 shirt this autumn. Firstly the timing of his run and the line he picked for his try, and secondly the composure he showed to knock over the match-winning penalty deep into time added on. Another commanding performance from the centre.

11: George North (Northampton Saints)
Jamie Elliot’s early contender for try of the season owes a great deal to the excellence of North. His breathtaking break down the left hand touchline saw him beat four defenders in a five metre channel, before a well timed pass allowed Clark to set up his opposite winger. It was world-class stuff that brought back memories of that try in Australia.

10: Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks)
The stage was set for Cipriani to steal the show against his old club, and thanks to an unfortunate and painful-looking injury to Nick Macleod his replacement got his chance – and most certainly made the most of it. Cipriani’s was a composed performance that included only one missed kick from seven, and a smartly taken try. If only he could play his old club every week…

9: Jimmy Cowan (Gloucester)
Cowan needed a big performance up against the box-of-tricks that is Kahn Fotuali’i, and he more than delivered. Marshalling the young backline outside him, there was also the awareness on show to take a quick tap penalty and set-up Billy Twelvetrees for Gloucester’s second try.

1: Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Marler was back to his best against Worcester, not only in the scrums but also in the loose where he amassed an astonishing 57 metres made in only 45 minutes of being on the pitch. He also trundled over for a try and was a general nuisance in the loose to remind Vunipola and Corbisiero that he should not be forgotten about.

2: Rob Buchanan (Harlequins)
With Joe Gray cruelly sidelined until the end of November, Buchanan has a chance to get a run of games together that would otherwise not be afforded him due to Quins’ rotation policy. He certainly seemed aware of this on Friday night as he put in a storming performance, coming away with a try to his name to top off an excellent evening’s work.

3: Matt Stevens (Saracens)
Without wishing to be too cruel, you’ve got to feel sorry for whoever was at the bottom of the ruck Stevens dived over to score his try. Still, it was a moment of rare agility and (perhaps this is pushing it…) elegance from the big prop, who also had a good day in the tight exchanges before he was substituted.

4: Dean Mumm (Exeter Chiefs)
Exeter’s victory was built on character and a never-say-die attitude that is at the core of the club, and new captain Mumm epitomises both of these things. He was titanic again at the weekend and came up from the bottom of a rolling maul as the Chiefs pack rumbled over their Irish counterparts.

5: Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Two assists and a try is an astonishing return for a hulking lock the size of Kitchener. He has such deft hands for a giant man, as were in evidence for Dan Bowden’s try as he powered through a tackle and gave a gorgeous offload. He also had the presence of mind and technique to scoop the ball up and dive over the line after Tuilagi’s break.

6: Thomas Waldrom (Leicester Tigers)
After a quiet end to last season Waldrom was back to his best this weekend with several carries seeing the Tigers smash over the gainline. The best part of Waldrom’s game, however, was the perfectly flighted pass that fizzed into Tuilagi’s hands to set him on his way as he stormed up the pitch in the build-up to Kitchener’s try. It was a pass of which any fly-half would have been proud, let alone a back-row forward.

7: Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
As we build towards the Autumn Internationals speculation over Robshaw’s place in the England team will continue to grow, but if he keeps performing like this there can be few who could argue that he does not merit some sort of role in the national team’s future. His presence of mind to rip the ball off Buchanan and then offload to Care after a strong surge was great to watch.

8: Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)
There was nothing flash about Johnson’s performance against London Irish (much like that of his team in general), but he was part of a pack that ultimately proved too strong for their opposition. He was as industrious as ever, making 12 carries for an impressive 35 metres.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

11 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership Team of the Week: Round 3

  1. I think that Twelvetrees was the last of Norths 4 beaten defenders, and made to look quite awkward in the process. I didn’t see the rest of the game, so I am pleased to see that this incident didn’t sum his whole game up!

  2. Rokoduguni was good in a losing cause. Massively physical in defense, interception try & most metres made across the entire premiership this weekend (only guy 100+ too – @OptaJonny)

    Wouldn’t make the team over either of the above though

  3. Not picking Nick Easter after his immense performance cannot be ignored Perhaps whoever is responsible for this XV is connected with the AP ref’s as it would seem only right to recognize the similarities in ineptness. Wuss might have been awful against Quins but God of War was fantastic. PS: I’m an Exiles fan so no club allegiance bias!

  4. As for picking Johnson might want to have a look at the game reports and add a comment about how lucky he was not to get a yc for a forearm smash. What did I say about ref’s?

  5. I was thinking the other day about what the best starting XV would be of non-English players currently plying their trade in the Aviva Premiership would be. I reckon it would be something along the lines of:

    1. H. Aulika
    2. S. Brits
    3. J. Johnston
    4. D. Mumm
    5. S. Manoa
    6. F. Lowe
    7. J. Salvi
    8. A. Qera

    9. K. Fotuali’i
    10. N. Evans
    11. G. North
    12. D. Bowden / A. Jacobs
    13. G. Pisi
    14. N. Goneva
    15. C. Wyles

    16. (Not sure on a replacement hooker)
    17. P. James
    18. S. Muliopla
    19. A. Hargreaves
    20. J. Burger
    21. J. Cowan
    22. G. Steenson
    23. S. Rokoduguni

  6. Ashton had a fantastic game. Defence was (shock) solid, and created a lot in attack. Has been deservedly criticised for some aspects of his game recently (defence), but generally I maintain he is judged on a different scale to many other players, especially in the press.

    Given Wade’s more serious defensive frailties, despite his brilliance in attack, I can see Yarde and Ashton being the wingers in November.

  7. I don’t agree with the Johnson selection either. I thought quite a few specialist no.8s showed up well over the weekend. Joubert was certainly solid for sarries

  8. A number of the England squad seem to be playing well – Robshaw, Brown, Foden, Ashton, Wood, Flood, Tuilagi, Marler, 12Trees, the Vunipolas, Attwood, Hartley, Yarde – all seem to be on very good form

    Burrell, Strettle, Ford, Slater, Kitchener from the Saxons seem to be going well also. Think Burrell and Kitchener in particular have looked sharp this season

    Hopefully they can all stay fit and on form and give SL a number of selection quandries for the autumn internationals

  9. I know I am biased but I have to say that in the first three games Wigglesworth has been fantastic for Sarries. Much quicker getting to the breakdown than before, distribution and timing of his passes has been superb, defence and kicking both excellent too. Anyone think he has a chance of getting back in the England squad if he continues on such great form?
    Also big shout to Duncan Taylor for a motm performance at the weekend. Filled Barritt’s shoes in defence, and has been running great lines in attack as well.

    1. Can’t see him usurping Youngs or Care – both sparkier players than Wigglesworth. Youngs in particular has added a lot to the game management side of his game over recent seasons as well, so for me he’s comfortably ahead of Wigglesworth at the moment. Joe Simpson doesn’t really seem to have kicked on though, so I’d probably have him as my third choice.

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