RaboDirect Pro12 Team of the Week: Round 18

15. Richard Fussell (Ospreys)
Fussell was solid at the back and took the high ball perfectly throughout the game. His reliability at the back allowed the rest of the Ospreys to concentrate on dominating the Dragons in other facets of the contest, which they certainly did.

14. Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
One of the only real saving graces for Ulster who have begun to look fairly ordinary following some deflating losses. The paceman ran well, taking his try with elegance but couldn’t perform the heroics needed to help Ulster come out of this terrible funk and get their season back on tack.

13. Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster)
Strong play from one of Leinster’s most reliable players. D’Arcy defended well while putting the opposition under extreme pressure with impressive running. Put in a good shift against a very good Glasgow team.

12. Ashley Beck (Ospreys)
Crossed for a try while setting-up others to steady a previously shaky Ospreys boat. Beck helped stop the Dragons before they could get motoring while also showing some impressive attacking play, running at the defence with menacing speed.

11. Christian Loamanu (Bennetton Treviso)
Always a threat when he gets his massive hands on the ball and he didn’t disappoint against Cardiff. The big runner wasn’t able to get himself on the scoresheet but did occupy the Blues defenders, allowing his supporting cast to inflict the real damage and earn the Italian side an historic victory.

10. Ian Madigan (Leinster)
Scored all of Leinster’s 22 points helping to earn the victory which put the Irish side back atop the Pro12. Madigan ran hard, spraying the ball all over the pitch putting Glasgow under enormous amounts of pressure. He grabbed himself one try while slotting home five penalties and a conversion.

9. Kahn Fotuali’i (Ospreys)
Had a hand in every one of the Ospreys tries combining excellent vision and ball skills with beautiful kicking. Fotauli’i pulled the strings for the Ospreys, continually putting the Dragons on the back foot with excellent playmaking.

1. Ed Kalman (Glasgow)
Tried his hardest to keep Glasgow in the hunt for an impressive away victory which could have tightened the Scottish team’s grip at the top of the table. In the end Glasgow fell short but Kalman proved to be a top performer, looking safe in the scrum up against the powerful Leinster unit.

2. Sean Cronin (Leinster)
Powerful and reliable as always to help subdue one of the Pro12’s most outstanding forward packs. Cronin punished the Glasgow front-row with some solid scrummaging and powerful footwork. He had an excellent all-round game which helped Leinster regain top spot in the Pro12.

3. Lorenzo Cittadini (Bennetton Treviso)
Fronted-up well to keep a difficult and tricky Blues front-row silent. The big Italian worked well in the scrums while dishing-out some pain with some powerful tackles. Treviso have proved to fans and teams alike that they are no longer an easy ride.

4. Donncha O’Callaghan (Munster)
O’Callaghan displayed some excellent all-round rugby, providing clean, quick ball for the rest of the Munster team. The big lock jumped well in the line-outs, scrummaged with power and determination while pushing Connacht back at every opportunity.

5. Paul O’Connell (Munster)
Making his first start for Munster since October last year, O’Connell wasted little time in showing exactly what he is capable of by grabbing himself a well taken try. The lock worked tirelessly to keep Connacht quiet in the scrums, line-outs and open play. If O’Connell can stay injury free for the rest of the season Munster could quite easily find themselves in the hunt for a top four finish.

6. Alessandro Zanni (Bennetton Treviso)
Dominated in the rucks and was destructive in open play. Zanni played some of the best rugby we have seen all year helping Treviso record their first ever Pro12 win over Cardiff.

7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)
Following his heroics against England in the Six Nations Tipuric transferred his exceptionally fine form to the Ospreys, bagging a try and dominating the Dragons in a convincing 52-19 win. Tipuric was everywhere for the Ospreys, consistently running hard as an attacking option.

8. Rob McCusker (Scarlets)
Kept plugging away to keep the game in the Scarlets’ hands. Worked hard at the breakdowns, winning ball with ease against a difficult Zebre forward pack. Did his job well and got those all important points to keep the Scarlets in the hunt for a top four finnish this season.

By Alexander McLeman