PRO14: Team of the Week

PRO14: Team of the Week
1. Nicky Smith
The 23 year old put in a big shift for Ospreys as they fell to PRO14 Champions Scarlets on Saturday night. Playing the full 80 minutes, Smith helped his Ospreys side to a 100% scrum success rate against the Scarlets. His work rate was of note, racking up 9 carries and making 11 metres going forward. Also made 4 tackles with a 100% success rate.
2. Stuart McInally

The hooker gave a MOTM performance on Friday night as he led his side to a one point victory over a Zebre side that have been steadily improving in recent weeks. The Scottish international had a huge work rate throughout the game and as a result played the whole 80 minutes. A huge effort for a front row forward. He was a menace with ball in hand and managed to gain 56 metres off 11 carries, leading to his try. In defence he made 10 tackles and one crucial turnover when his side were on the ropes.

3. Zander Fagerson 
Another immense performance from the young Scottish international, who many think was unlucky to miss out on Lions selection. He made 7 dominant tackles in defence, missing none which is a very good stat for a tighthead. He carried just 5 times but had relative success, making 14m and beating 1 defender. As always the Glasgow scrum was a force to be reckoned with and the prop formed the foundation and stability upon which they built.

4. Dean Budd
Worked hard in Treviso's comfortable win over the Southern Kings. Had an 88% success rate at the line out, winning 14/16 as Treviso dominated the Kings at the set piece. Budd made 10 tackles, not missing a single tackle in the process. Also made 12 metres going forward, chipping in with an offload too.
5. Scott Fardy
The former Wallaby is transitioning from a world class back row to a world class lock. He was up against one of the smoothest lineout operators in world rugby in Peter O’Mahony, and he managed to steal a couple of balls and wreak havoc for Munster there all day. He carried well in attack and Leinster are definitely seeing the benefits of having an extra ball carrier in their pack in recent weeks.

6. Giovanni Licata 

The young blindside flanker makes it into our TOTW for the 2nd time this season after an outstanding performance away to Edinburgh on Friday night. If the young Sicilian will be in line for a call-up to the Italy national side if he continues this sort of form further into the season. He was an option at the lineout for the Italians on Friday, winning the ball effectively at the back. He is most certainly Zebre’s go to ball carrier. They managed to get him the ball on 13 occasions, which he used to make 39m, 2 clean breaks, beat 5 defenders and offload a whopping 5 times. This young man is one to look out for in the future.

7. Callum Gibbins
The New Zealand-born openside had an unbelievable game in Pretoria on Friday night. He was deservedly given the MOTM award for his exploits on the field which helped his side to a last gasp victory over their hosts, the Cheetahs. The former Super Rugby champion made 2 clean breaks on the night which led to tries for himself. He made 64m off 11 carries, beating 3 defenders in the process. He really showed real opportunism to take both of his 5 pointers. Both of which were scored from close range, after he identified space around the ruck, following good support play.

8. Marco Barbini 
Treviso added another win to their league campaign on Saturday evening and they were helped to the BP by their talismanic number 8, Barbini. The Italian international scored a fantastic try after picked from the base of the scrum and drove over the line. He made 28m in attack off just 6 carries in his 48 minutes on the field. He played flawlessly before his substitution and Treviso must be trying to keep him fresh for later weeks when they are given more serious tests.
9. Gareth Davies
Only on the pitch for 55 minutes but was a key player for Scarlets. Made some nice breaks and got himself on the end of 2 poachers tries with 2 nice finishes. Was his usual self, sniping around the pitch, gaining 54 metres going forward and beating 2 defenders. His first finish he showed great determination to ground the ball and the second try showed some nice feet to score as Scarlets racked up an important away win.

10. Jonny Sexton

MOTM in today's win at the Aviva vs Munster. Pulled the strings well at 10, with Leinster's aerial threat troubling Munster at times, Sexton's 10 kicks from hand were pivotal towards this. Played an integral role in Rory O'Loughlin's 2nd try with the famous Sexton loop creating space to setup the try. Had a 100% kicking rate as he became Leinster's all time leading points scorer, surpassing Feleipe Contepomi.
11. Jacob Stockdale
Combination of searing pace and dazzling footwork consistently proved to be too much for the Connacht defence to handle as he broke the line time and time again, making a total of 117 metres for his side. He was a rock in defence, making 5 tackles, some of which vital cover tackles coming at pivotal moments of the game. His tremendous all round efforts were rewarded when he crossed the whitewash to score the breathtaking game winning try in the second half.
12. Sam Johnson
Part of the backline that played some great rugby for the Warriors in South Africa. Carried well in the 12 channel, making 43 metres going forward to help setup Glasgow on the second phase. Also made a clean break to setup Glasgow on the front foot. Showed his agility and power, beating 6 defenders going forward.
13. Rory O'Loughlin
Got on the scoresheet not once but twice for Leinster in the win at the Aviva vs Munster this afternoon. The first try was a great finish as he showed great awareness and perseverance to spin out of the tackle and snipe over to score Leinster's 1st try. Finished off his second try well, scoring under the sticks after running in out wide. Made 7 tackles missing just 1, further enhancing his chances at a call up for the November internationals.
14. Keith Earls 
Despite being on the losing side for Munster against Leinster, the Ireland international excelled for the men in red. The winger popped up with 2 tries and those tries were 2 sublime finishes. Went over early on for a disallowed try, but showed dazzling feet to score. His first try came from a Tommy O'Donnell break, with the winger doing excellently to finish in the corner from the covering defender Adam Byrne. The second was a replica finish of the first, showing great speed and agility to score in the corner. Also made an impressive 90 metres going forward.
15. Joey Carbery
One of the stand out performers in the Leinster backline. Consistent under the high ball, dangerous when running from deep racking up 46 metres going forward and kicked well from full back with 4 precise kicks from hand. Showed some flashes of attacking brilliance with beautiful footwork beating 3 defenders in the process and accurate passing which was apparent when he brilliantly set up his side’s second try to rack up an assist.

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