15. James O’Connor (London Irish)
The wayward Australian has made an immediate mark down at the Madejski. He may not have been able to drag Irish to victory, but every touch he had was pure class. Exciting times for the Premiership.
14. Christian Wade (London Wasps)
After a quiet start to the season, a brace of tries showcasing his dazzling feet and scorching acceleration have reminded everyone just how good Christian Wade is.
13. George Pisi (Northampton Saints)
Was a source of consistent go-forward for the Saints as they edged a narrow victory over a resurgent London Irish. Bagged an assist with a deliciously delayed inside ball to James Wilson in the first half. Mention to Hopper of Quins who was also excellent.
12. Tim Molenaar (Harlequins)
Nothing fancy from Quins’ new signing, just strong, direct running to give Quins a platform to play off. It was all they needed to beat a hapless Tigers at Welford Road.
11. Dave Strettle (Saracens)
A brace of tries from England’s forgotten man, including one in which he seemed to hover in touch just in time to get the ball down before his feet touched the floor. Great finishing from the season’s top try scorer.
10. Gareth Steenson (Exeter Chiefs)
Exeter’s saviour on Friday night, as the Chiefs edged a narrow win over Sale up in Salford. Steenson kicked all of his side’s points, ending with a 100% kicking accuracy rate. Mention to Hodgson at Sarries, who has been sorely missed.
9. Danny Care (Harlequins)
Kept his England chances this autumn alive with a high tempo display at Welford Road. Not necessarily the eye-catching performance he is sometimes known for, but perhaps more importantly did the basics well and ensured Quins’ gain-line successes were capitalised upon with continued quick ball.
1. Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Mullan’s arrival at Wasps has shored up what was previously a troublesome area for them. After a good showing against Tigers last weekend, Mullan was again impressive against a much less daunting Gloucester unit.
2. Mike Heywood (Northampton Saints)
The Saints’ line-out was immaculate while he was on the pitch, and he also got through a mountain of work, making eight tackles and a turnover in open play. A worthy understudy to Hartley.
3. Anthony Perinise (Bath Rugby)
Two tries in two rainy Friday night fixtures for Perinise so far this term – he’s found his optimal playing conditions. Horrible weather tends to lead to props excelling – Perinise was no different this weekend as he barged over from five metres.
4. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
Molenaar got the man of the match award, but arguably Easter deserved it more. The wily old back-cum-second row was everywhere, making yards and generally tidying up around the park. 18 tackles, 19 carries and 63 metres made – stats can never tell you everything, but those are some hugely impressive numbers.
5. Samu Manoa (Northampton Saints)
Another massive performance from Manoa, who at times looks physically unstoppable with ball in hand. Crashed over the gain-line every time he got it, setting up quick ball for his team.
6. Joe Trayfoot (Harlequins)
Twenty-four carries in one game is a quite astonishing stat, and one that highlights the work-rate of this young flanker. Formed part of a Quins back five forwards that completely dominated their Tigers counterparts.
7. Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints)
Saints’ man for all occasions was in his element at the Madejski, dragging his men forward time and again. Made more than double the metres of anyone else on his side, also topping the stats for carries and tackles.
8. Nathan Hughes (London Wasps)
The Wasps no.8 was in stirling form at Gloucester, in a game that was not one for the purists. Made the most of one of many poor efforts from the Gloucester front five, as the big men in front of him shoved them off the ball, allowing him to pick up and power over from close range. Also carried well in open play.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images