1. James Cronin (Munster)
On his Pro12 debut, the Munster prop was a thorn in Edinburgh’s side, consistently carrying well and making good ground with ball in hand. His work in the loose contributed to several of the home side’s tries, and he was rewarded with his own touchdown on the stroke of half time.
2. Scott Baldwin (Ospreys)
The young Baldwin stood out in a scrappy game dominated by errors and indiscipline, and crossed the line off the back of a rolling maul.
3. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby)
Scrummaged well against a formidable Munster pack, and was characteristically busy around the field, taking on many of the carrying duties.
4. Andrew Coombs (Dragons)
In his first official fixture as captain, the Dragons lock put in a tireless shift, leading from the front in what was an excellent opening victory for the Welshmen. In attack, Coombs frequently offered himself as a ball-carrying option, while he made some important tackles in defence.
5. Tim Swinson (Glasgow)
The Glasgow second row turned in a powerful performance, getting through plenty of work in the loose. Chipped in with a number of very effective tackles around the fringes of the breakdown, preventing the Blues’ forwards from making ground in some awful weather conditions.
6. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets)
Punctured the Leinster defence several times early on, demonstrating his impressive attacking skill set and pace to get the Scarlets in behind the visiting line.
7. Nic Cudd (Dragons)
The Dragons openside was a nuisance at the breakdown, stifling and slowing down Ulster’s attacking play.
8. Jordi Murphy (Leinster)
Part of a very effective and cohesive Leinster back row that frustrated the Scarlets at the breakdown, and carried well throughout. Managed to get himself on the scoresheet following good work from Brendan Macken.
9. Tito Tebaldi (Ospreys)
The Italian Osprey was both energetic and industrious in attack, combining slick service with an offensive threat around the breakdown, and providing a clever if somewhat fortuitous assist for Ben John’s try.
10. Jimmy Gopperth (Leinster)
The departure of Jonny Sexton left something of a void among the reigning champions’ half-backs. This week, however, Leinster’s new Kiwi fly-half more than filled it, notching a total of 22 points and proving dangerous and intelligent with ball in hand.
11. Sean Lamont (Glasgow)
The Scotland international was one of precious few attacking threats in terrible weather conditions at Scotstoun, looking dangerous with ball in hand, and looking for work in midfield. The only blight on his performance was a handling error close to the Blues line.
12.Steven Shingler (Scarlets)
Kicked well, and provided the tidy assist for Rob McCusker’s dubious try under the posts.
13. Casey Laulala (Munster)
The former All Black looked typically classy outside fly-half Ian Keatley, and he showed in flashes the sort of clever play for which he is renowned. Only a superb Nick De Luca cover tackle prevented him from grabbing a try.
14. Fion Carr (Connacht)
Kicked the Connacht attack up a notch with some nice touches, particularly in the lead-up to Matt Healy’s try, and crossed for one of his own in the final five minutes.
15. Robbie Henshaw (Connacht)
Classy performance from Connacht’s full-back, defending well and injecting some pace and verve into the Irishmen’s attack.
By Jamie Lyall (@JLyall93)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images