Heineken Cup Team of the Year

Jonny Sexton

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

11 thoughts on “Heineken Cup Team of the Year

  1. What is the justification for selecting Chris Aston? He scored one try in the tournament! Surely Shane Horgan would have been a better choice!

    1. You could make an argument for either, but Ashton was more influential in the group stages (even though he wasn’t swallow-diving so much!). Saints did have a more straightforward route through though…

      Would you pick Horgan over Medard?

  2. Nacewa’s the right call. He’s played such a huge part in the majority of backs play from Leinster this season, and he’s pure class

    1. Garrett on that basis id still have foden. if he were playing in the leinster team would he do a better or worse job than nacewa?
      id say better.

      but he was class no doubt!

  3. Ben Foden was outstanding in the final, and in doing so he made a certain Brian O’Driscoll look average at best. It was probably one of the few positives an English fan could take from that game!

    Still, Nacewa edged it for me. Jimmy I agree with you to the extent that I’d rather have Foden in my team, but Nacewa has performed better over the course of the tournament.

  4. I dont think Foden would have had it so easy in the final if O Driscoll was fully fit. It was Drico least effective performance defensivly in a big match that I can remember but he made for this with his leadership.
    Looking at the team as a whole it is a top quality outfit and speaks volumes for the quality of the competition. And when you consider the players who just missed out like Hartley Healy Foden Horgan Cullen I reckon that it would give the Super 15 version a run for its money even if they think in the southern hemisphere that there rugby is superior.

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