15. Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues)
Finishing with a personal points haul of nineteen, the British and Irish Lions hero was excellent from the tee, punishing Edinburgh for a number of infringements, and ensuring the Blues kept the scoreboard ticking over.
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues)
A brace of tries for the Lion helped his side to victory over Edinburgh on Sunday, with the second coming courtesy of an impressive team move. Having recently made his comeback after the tour Down Under, Cuthbert is showing signs of the devastating finishing ability that caused defences so many problems last season.
13. Keith Earls (Munster)
The Lions tourist scored what proved to be the only try in Saturday’s huge Irish derby, and his score was crucial in ensuring Munster capitalised on Ian Madigan’s yellow card. Elsewhere, he was dangerous in attack with the absence of Brian O’Driscoll opposite him, and on the whole did well to halt Leinster’s offenses.
12. Corey Allan (Cardiff Blues)
The youngster showed plenty of promise alongside fellow starlet Rhys Patchell at fly-half, with some tidy handling. Had a part in Cuthbert’s second try, and looked accomplished in attack at a time when the Blues have been struggling with offensive duties.
11. Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
The Scotland international was powerful in attack, carrying strongly throughout the Warriors’ victory over the Scarlets on Friday night. He consistently made ground with ball in hand, and his physicality and offloading posed the Welshman problems in defence.
10. Ian Keatley (Munster)
The Munster fly-half’s prowess from the tee was instrumental in their narrow victory in Saturday’s derby against champions Leinster. He kicked a total of fourteen points, and controlled things from the pivot position, including a lovely cross-kick to Earls for the game’s sole try, earning the Irishman the man-of-the-match award.
9. Tito Tebaldi (Ospreys)
The Italian international continued some excellent early-season form with a polished display up against Ulster on Friday. He worked hard around the fringes to bring his big runners into play, and made ground with a handful of snipes himself. Could do little to prevent the errors out wide, and infringements that saw the game begin to slip from the Ospreys’ grasp.
8. Toby Faletau (Dragons)
Another returning Lion, the Welshman was immense in the loose, carrying strongly, and showing touches of class with ball in hand. His break from the back of the scrum led to Hallam Amos’ second try, and he was a constant menace to the Zebre defence with his strength in and around the tackle area.
7. Chris Henry (Ulster)
Ulster’s openside was tremendous in their hard-fought victory over the Ospreys on Friday night. His work at the breakdown was excellent; as he won several penalties and turnovers to stifle the Welsh side’s attacking play. He made plenty of tackles, and carried well to give the Ulstermen some go-forward.
6. Netani Talei (Dragons)
A typically dynamic showing from the former Edinburgh back-rower. The Fijian always seems to make ground in attack, and he possesses quality handling skills which were showcased briefly on Friday. He was a constant presence around the breakdown, and carried very well alongside Faletau.
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
The eventual Lions skipper led from the front, but was powerless to prevent their loss to a resurgent Ulster side. His typically powerful carrying made ground consistently against what was a generally solid defence, and he made a number of good close tackles around the fringes.
4. Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors)
The Warriors lock has impressed with some fine early-season form for the Scotstoun side, and he backed this up with an excellent all-round display at Parc y Scarlets on Friday. His powerful play around the fringes and grunt in the tight provided plenty momentum and he got through a power of work in the loose, grabbing himself a close-range try.
3. Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster)
Fitzpatrick acquitted himself well at the scrummage under pressure from an Ospreys pack filled with Lions, and made good ground with ball in hand when called upon. Part of a workmanlike Ulster forwards performance.
2. Enrico Ceccato (Treviso)
Treviso recorded a solid home victory over rivals Connacht, and hooker Ceccato proved himself to be a commanding presence in the loose, with a number of good carries. His throwing was solid, and he worked hard in defence to keep the Irishmen out.
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster)
The Munster loosehead was a key component of his side’s dominance in the tight and at the scrum, which won a number of penalties against a formidable Leinster eight. Kilcoyne offered a powerful carrying option, particularly around the fringes, and acquitted himself well in the loose.
By Jamie Lyall (@JLyall93)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images