European team of the weekend

European team of the weekend

1. Dave Kilcoyne


The front row played like a backrow in the loose on Saturday. He was one of Munster’s main ball carriers and got over the gainline every time he was used by Duncan Williams. He tackled like a man possessed and played a key part in the scrum which went forward against a much bigger and more experienced Toulouse front row.

2. Jamie George

Though he was substituted in the second half for the formidable Schalk Brits, it was hard to find a fault in the young hooker’s game today. He was accurate with all eight of his lineout throws which limited Glasgow’s opportunities to counter attack at that set piece. Looked absolutely shattered as he left the field to a huge ovation from the Sarries fans in attendance. No surprise there, given the amount of work he got through in his time on the field. Still an outside bet for Lions selection.

3. John Ryan

An immense performance by the tighthead for which he was justly awarded the MOTM award. Amazingly he almost played the full game which is outstanding given his playing position. He went over for a rare try, was one of Munster’s leading tacklers and was a huge force in the scrum. He smashed a couple of Toulouse ball carriers as well, forcing knock-ons which derailed their momentum. He may very well push Tadhg Furlong hard for the Irish jersey if he keeps up these sort of performances.

4. Donnacha Ryan

It’s easy to see why the second row has been attracting so much attention from France. He is usually a workhorse around the park but has added other elements to his game, which has led to interest from across the water. He got away a couple of lovely offloads and was a nuisance to the Toulouse lineout throughout the game. A fantastic performance for what will likely be his last ever European game in Thomond in a Munster jersey.

5. Devin Toner

The Irish international really caused problems for the Wasps lineout. He won his battle over Lions hopeful Joe Launchbury there, which may pose a serious conundrum to Warren Gatland. The second row also got on the ball and carried well, which is not generally a characteristic of his game but will be welcomed by Leinster fans as it gives them another option in the loose.

6. Ross Moriarty

The Welsh number eight was played out of position to accommodate Ben Morgan in the backrow but didn’t look at all out of place as he was superb for his Gloucester side, helping them to run away with the victory in the end. Managed to get over for a fantastic solo effort, showing great gas to beat the defenders on the outside. Smashed anybody that ran stupidly down his channel in defence. You would have thought that players would begin to avoid him after what he did to Owen Farrell in the Six Nations.

7. Sean O’Brien

A definite contender for Lions selection now if he is not already on the plane. So much is expected of the versatile backrow forward, yet he consistently comes up with the goods. Made a couple of decent breaks as usual but his most important work was nullifying the threat of Nathan Hughes as a ball carrier, which he did perfectly, holding the number eight up in the tackle on a couple of occasions.

8. Toby Faletau

Got over for two tries for the first time in his career, showing us all that he is most definitely back to his best. Was destructive as both a ball carrier and defender while showing great skill on occasion with superb offloads out the back of the hand.

9. Parra

Clermont will thank their kicker for getting them over the line today but that wasn’t his only contribution to proceedings. Clermont looked to play at pace throughout the game to wear down the heavier Toulon side. It was evident at each breakdown that the number nine was working hard to facilitate this with his quick pace of delivery to Camille Lopez, who also pulled the strings well.

10. Owen Farrell

Slotted seamlessly into the number ten shirt after playing the last few months at twelve for his country. It was clear today how well Farrell understands the game as he seemed to have an age to make a decision any time he got his hands on the ball. Each decision was more often than not the correct one, as he chose when to unleash his dangerous backline outside and when to use his abrasive forwards to make the hard yards. Kicked superbly as well but that’s almost a given at this stage.

11. Semesa Rokoduguni

Played on the right wing but it’s impossible to leave him out. Two tries yesterday and that was on a day when he was relatively quiet throughout the game. The winger looks to be just built to play rugby and if he can sort out his defensive frailties he will without doubt earn a recall to the English starting XV. His second try was almost laughable as he looked to be stopped three times but his sheering pace and raw power saw him swat the defenders away like flies. It almost looked like he beat more than fifteen players on his way to the line. The back three of Roko, Homer and Watson back together is a very scary thing.

12. Billy Twelvetrees

Was having a very quiet game until Billy Burns was forced to leave the field with a head injury. He then slotted into first receiver and stole the show, much to the delight of the shed at Kingsholm. Set up try after try with some scintillating running at the Cardiff defence. Kicked everything that was put in front of him from the tee and the that was no mean feat as the majority of the conversions were from the touchline.

13. Jonathan Joseph

Brive were unable to contain the outside centre who at this stage is a shoe-in for a starting place for the Lions against the All Blacks in a couple of months. He seemed to have a hand in every linebreak Bath made yesterday, showcasing the many talents he possesses with jaw-dropping footwork and audacious offloads out the backdoor.

14. Chris Ashton

He got caught out on a couple of occasions in defence but it can’t be denied that he is one of the best finishers in world rugby. His inside backs did great work today to suck in the defenders and they know that if they get him the ball out wide, it is will almost certainly be a try. Was unlucky not to bag a hat-trick today as a last ditch shove by Stuart Hogg managed to make him brush the sideline less than five metres out.

15. Joey Carbery

Was awarded man of the match for his intelligent display from full back. Looks to have experience beyond his years when he plays and can make a huge impact on the game from number ten or fifteen. Safe under the high ball, dangerous in attack and tackled ferociously from the offset. He was particularly dangerous on the counter and played the game in a similar fashion to his opposite number Kurtley Beale, but was a lot more clinical. Has been tipped for Lions selection by some. It might be a bit too early but definitely one for the future.

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