RaboDirect Pro12 Round 20: Team of the Week

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)
An excellent performance from one of world rugby’s most impressive players. Halfpenny provided the base for the Blues to build from, wearing down a spirited Zebre side who would not stop pushing until the final whistle. Kicked well, ran with pace and determination while defending brilliantly.

14. George North (Scarlets)
North positioned himself well, running at the Glasgow defense with poise and skill, finding those all important gaps to punish the Scots. The Scarlets exposed Glasgow’s weak points this weekend finding the gaps and making them pay bringing them crashing back down to earth.

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster)
Another important game for Leinster and the talismanic Irishman didn’t disappoint, helping Leinster record a crucial win against a resilient Munster side. Displaying some typical O’Driscoll line-breaks, he grabbed the killer try keeping Leinster in the hut for a top table finish.

12. Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues)
Bagged man of the match honours and a try in a game which displayed excellent rugby from a team who should be challenging for league titles not mid-table positions. Roberts ran hard punishing Zebre at every opportunity with skillful ball-handling and great awareness.

11. Tommy Bowe (Ulster)
Bowe collected one try and had a hand in another, helping to record an important win for an Ulster side who have been looking out of sorts the past few weekends. He played well in a tight match at Ravenhill, and was an important attacking weapon for Ulster aways offering himself as a willing runner whenever he could.

10. Owen Williams (Scarlets)
Completely ran the show, spraying the ball out-wide, in-close or running it himself. He did not allow Glasgow a moment’s respite as he pounded their defence, helping to keep the Scarlets in the hunt for a top four finish.

9. Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh)
Laidlaw again finds himself on the losing side off the back of an impressive individual performance. Kicked all of the Scots’ points (24) while pulling the strings for Edinburgh in attack delivering quick, clean ball. His supporting cast have been poor this Pro12 season not living up to last year’s impressive European and domestic adventures. It is unfortunate to see such a talent wasted, and if his performances for club and country continue to impress the big spending French or English teams will soon be knocking at his door.

1. Allan Jacobson (Edinburgh)
The veteran front-rower turned back the clock with an all-round excellent performance. His international career may be over but he is still a real problem for opposing team in the Pro12 with strong running and aggressive play. His rugby knowledge is invaluable to Edinburgh offering advice to teammates and coaches while also helping to blood the next generation of warhorses for Scotland.

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets)
An important anchor for the Scarlets, scrummaging brilliantly against a powerful Glasgow pack. Line-out ball was clean while he was constantly found foraging at the breakdown.

3. Mike Ross (Leinster)
Scrummaged consistently, keeping the Munster front-rowers of Archer and Kilcoyne quiet for much of the contest. Ross was solid at the breakdowns displaying a tireless work ethic to keep Leinster’s hands on the ball.

4. Alun-Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
Constantly found at the breakdown causing Treviso all sorts of problems. Ran well with the ball making the hard yards with ease, grinding down a difficult Italian side who have looked hard to beat in recent weeks.

5. Leo Cullen (Leinster)
Stepped-up when his team needed him, jumping well in the line-outs to out-smart Munster’s experienced second-row pair of O’Connell and O’Callaghan on multiple occasions. Cullen was excellent throughout the course of the match, working tirelessly to cover the whole pitch.

6. Mike Kearney (Connacht)
Brought his A-game to Scotland’s capital with some excellent ball skills and defensive work. Kearney was a constant threat, looking for the ball with determination while gaining those important yards to keep Connacht on top.

7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
Brilliant game from one of Wales’ most impressive back-row forwards. Caused Treviso all sorts of problems throughout the match with the Italians having no answer for his dynamic running and solid defensive work. Tipuric is another player on Lions watch with the talented back-rower putting in dominating performance after dominating performance.

8. Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)
An all-round excellent performance from another world-class player. Heaslip kept Munster on the back-foot for much of the game, never letting the Munstermen gain any sort of momentum. Hit the defenders with power and aggression while putting in some bone-crunching tackles of his own.

By Alexander McLeman

6 thoughts on “RaboDirect Pro12 Round 20: Team of the Week

    1. Not a bad shout Jacob, although I’d say Laidlaw would be doing well to be first choice in the test team ahead of Youngs and Phillips.

      1. Yeh I almost put expect Williams and Laidlaw; but then I thought that was a bit disrespectful to Laidlaw. I actually think Youngs will be at 9 and they will find room for Tuilagi – but this is certainly close to it.

  1. Laidlaw is so under-rated, he needs to move from Edinburgh asap to a team that can provide the support one of the worlds best 9s needs.

  2. “Bagged man of the match honours and a try in a game which displayed excellent rugby from a team who should be challenging for league titles not mid-table positions” – he was great but this comment does make me wince. We’ve had an awful season and it’s all down to the front five. We’ve got decent lads who try hard but very little real quality. We’ve been bullied out of the close matches so our league position is about right.

    Cannot wait for next year though – Gethin and Rees in the front row. All the young lads we have (our squad went from average age of 32 last year to 23 this year) with an extra year under their belt. And if you think we’ll miss Jamie Roberts then you can’t have seen Cory Allen yet. Like a young Henson – but in a good way, without all of the baggage.

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