We’ve put together our Heineken Cup team of the season, and it’s difficult to look past Leinster and Northampton for the majority of positions.
Saints and Leinster have boasted fearsome front rows, and a combined unit of Soane Tonga’uhia, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross would be frightening. Strauss has been exceptional at hooker this season, with the best lineout stats in the competition, and making a nuisance of himself around the park.
In the second row, Courtney Lawes‘ huge hits have earned him the nod, alongside Jerome Thion, the towering French lock at Biarritz. Leo Cullen deserves a mention as the winning captain, but at least Thion breaks up the dominance of the two finalists.
In the back row, Phil Dowson is in ahead of back row colleague Tom Wood, and nobody can argue with the selections of Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip – both magnificent for Leinster.
At half-back, Ruan Pienaar of Ulster is selected for his goalkicking heroics, alongside the man of the final, Jonny Sexton. The Leinster lads have renamed the trophy the Sexton Cup apparently.
In the centres, Brian O’Driscoll is a shoo-in, and not just because of his status this time, whilst inside centre was more tricky. Clement Poitrenaud of Toulouse gets the nod for several standout performances, particularly against the Dragons in Round 5 and in the quarter-final that went to extra time.
Out wide, it’s an electric back three of Chris Ashton, Maxime Medard and Isa Nacewa, and the trio is difficult to argue with.
Here is the Heineken Cup Team of the Year – let us know what you think:
1. Soane Tonga’uhia
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Mike Ross
4. Courtney Lawes
5. Jerome Thion
6. Phil Dowson
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Ruan Pienaar
10. Jonny Sexton
11. Chris Ashton
12. Clement Poitrenaud
13. Brian O’Driscoll
14. Maxime Medard
15. Isa Nacewa