Heineken Cup Team of the Week: Round 3

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster)
Am I allowed in to include the entire Leinster team? Kearney split open the defence on a number of occasions and he was so solid under the kicks that he made his opposite number, Ken Pisi, look like an English cricket fielder trying to catch a ball.

14. Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster)
Fitzgerald probably couldn’t believe his luck for most of the game, scoring a hat-trick and running riot throughout. The Irishman seems to be playing some of the best rugby of his career at the minute.

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
Without a shadow of a doubt. Some said he was too old, some said he should have retired last year, but the veteran put on a masterclass against Saints. He set up two tries and scored an interception to cap of a superb display.

12. Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon)
I’m being a bit cheeky here and putting the big man at 12. Dan Bowden ran him close but Bastareaud was pretty much Toulon’s only attacking threat and way of getting forward. He was solid in defence as well, making 13 tackles and missing none.

11. Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
The youngster was superb for Exeter against the European kings and is showing the type of form that will get himself noticed for the Six Nations. He beat the first defender every time and made seasoned internationals look foolish. An honourable mention to Miles Benjamin for his two tries, and Gloucester’s Jonny May who impressed in Edinburgh.

10. Nick Evans (Harlequins)
He hasn’t been the best this season, but Evans orchestrated Harlequins’ win brilliantly. He scored 17 points overall, including a try. Mention to the Blues’ Rhys Patchell, who ran the show in Cardiff.

9. Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
It’s hard not to play well behind a forward pack as dominant as Leinster’s but Reddan marshalled his team superbly and his distribution was top notch. Scored a try and troubled the Saints’ defence throughout the game.

1. Thomas Domingo (Clermont)
Part of a Clermont pack that dominated the Scarlets, Domingo carried as hard as he normally does, making huge ground each time. He also smashed the Welsh scrum and his impact on the rolling maul was horrible to watch.

2. Dave Ward (Harlequins)
Hit his target every time and overshadowed a French international with his performance. He carried well and was reminiscent of a bowling ball. Just one cog in the Harlequins pack that so hurt the Racing defence.

3. John Afoa (Ulster)
Reminded the Ulster fans exactly what they’ll be missing when he leaves for Gloucester with a display that puts other tightheads to shame. Got on the scoresheet and rampaged whenever he got the ball.

4. Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
England seem to have impressive locks in abundance at the moment and Kitchener put pressure on the others with a display that saw him cover every inch of the pitch. He was dominant in the lineout and tackled well.

5. George Robson (Harlequins)
Another Englishman. Robson was another Quins player that stood up and made himself heard. He led from the front and tackled extremely well for a lock. An honourable mention to the dominant Jamie Cudmore of Clermont.

6. Robbie Diack (Ulster)
Hopefully Diack’s performance isn’t dwarfed by more prominent household names because he was the best six on show this weekend. He carried hard and made 15 tackles, missing only one.

7. Rhys Ruddock (Leinster)
Another player who did nothing to change the Irish back-row stereotype. Again, he carried hard and fast and punctured the Saints’ line on numerous occasions. He played just as well, if not better, than Sean O’Brien. Mention to Munster’s Sean Dougall.

8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
The Englishman is more like a Scottish whiskey – he matures and gets better with age. He terrorised the Racing defence with 13 carries, didn’t miss a tackle, was reliable in the lineout, and scored a try.

By Calum Gillon (@C_Gillon)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

5 thoughts on “Heineken Cup Team of the Week: Round 3

  1. No Connacht players after that astonishing win in Toulouse yesterday? Bit of an omission, don’t you think?

  2. Good to see Habana on twitter congratulate Nowell, his opposite number, and say what a big future he has

  3. Very hard team to pick, even losing teams had some options e.g. Manoa. Glad you mentioned Rhys – he keeps improving and when he plays well the team often does well.

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