Now that the dust has settled after the fourth and final round of the Champions Cup, we’ve had a discussion and chosen the Team of the Week.
Harlequins leads this week with three players on our side while London Irish, Gloucester and Edinburgh are next best with two players.
Check out our Pool Final Round XV below and remember, as always, to add your own team in the comments section at the bottom of the article.
Champions Cup team in the fourth round
15 Nick David (harlequins): Had a rough start under the high ball but grew into the game and was Quins’ most dangerous runner on broken course. He set up Alex Dombrandt’s try with a burning break and constantly caused problems for the Sharks defense with his footwork and pace. He covered 141 meters in total and was rewarded for his efforts with his own score as he went from his own 22 meters to exceeding the whitewash. A brilliant performance.
14 Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish): A change of wing here as we felt Hassell-Collins deserved a spot on our side. Fresh from England’s call-up, the London-Irish star showed what an exceptional talent he is against Montpellier as his speed, strength and skill kept the French side busy before the hosts got into the fight. Juan Cruz Mallia went well in Toulouse but we opted for Hassell-Collins which should be a hit in the Six Nations.
13 by Garry Ringrose (Linster): He continues to show his class and was easily the best player of the Irish province in Leo Cullen’s mixed men show. Jimmy O’Brien was no doubt grateful to Ringrose after the centre-half assisted both goals with two magic moments. In the first he saw him tearing through defense and landing on the wing before kicking forward, showing incredible pace and once again showing skillful hands for the second O’Brien.
12 Dan du Plessis (Stormtroopers): Such a joy to watch with the ball in hand, the parallels between Du Plessis and Stormers great Jean de Villiers are clearly evident and once again came to the fore this weekend. His balanced run was evident throughout the game against Clermont and he put in a lot of work, and the joint high score of 13 carries was rewarded with a great try that showed his pace as he cut the hole and went from 40 yards. Gloucester’s Seb Atkinson was the next best in our eyes.
11 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester): He would be very competitive in England if he could keep fit. Thorley was at his best as Cherry and Whites qualified for the Champions Cup round of 16 after an impressive performance at Bordeaux-Begles. He was a significant threat with the ball, causing UBB’s backguard problems with his pace, strength and footwork, but the 26-year-old also worked hard. His kick-chasing game put the Bordeaux catchers under pressure with one powerful strike to Nans Ducuing.
10 Marcus Smith (harlequins): It’s like he never left. Despite being sidelined for a month and a half due to injury, the defender has impressed in both games since returning. Smith had a great second period against Racing in Paris but was probably even better at Stoop. There was less “fantastic stuff” but the management of the game was spot on as Quins deservedly beat the Sharks.
9 Jean-Marc Doussain (Lion): He turned back the years with a great effort against the Bulls. In the end, it was in vain as the French team were denied a place in the round of 16, but that doesn’t detract from Doussain’s brilliant performance. The scrum half were absolutely brilliant in a 31-7 triumph, controlling the base game and bringing their great carriers into play. He was also a threat on the margins and totally deserved the second half. At 31, Doussain is still playing at a very high level.
8 Bill Matt (Edinburgh): An outstanding display against the Saracens where the big man led 18 times at 78 meters; the heartbeat of his team’s victory that secured them a place in the round of 16. Duane Vermeulen also deserves a shout out for his performance for Ulster in a typically reliable show and a 19 year old Chandler Cunningham-South he showed how promising he was, eclipsing Zach Mercer in London Irish against Montpellier.
7 Will Evans (harlequins): We could have picked one of several excellent sides, but Evans’ five losses gave Quins the upper hand in the rugby event at Stoop against the Sharks, where Sija Kolisi he also shone in a broad nose—and, as is usually the case with a man, he spent over an hour signing autographs for the many kids who came to see him. Łukasz Krosbi reminded Scottish selectors of his lifting power in Edinburgh Juan Martin Gonzalez was outstanding for London Irish and John Hodnett it went well for Munster.
6 Jack Morgan (osprey): We’ve split up a bit here; Morgan’s star performance at Welford Road came at the age of eight, but we picked him for his position in Wales at the age of six to accommodate both him and Mata, two standouts. Antoni JelonchToulouse’s versatility showed itself well again as he went from six to eight throughout the game Jamie Ritchie also shone for Edinburgh until he limped with hamstring improvement.
5 Adam Coleman (London Irish): A huge change from a massive man to a great squad from Montpellier, Coleman’s presence was crucial for London Irish as he scored some thunderous hits. Munster Tadhg Beirne he was superb on the front against Toulouse scoring one goal and conceding three times while the old Ospreys warhorse Alun Wyn Jones somehow he still manages to impose his personality on the match, even at the age of 37, and was outstanding against Leicester Tigers.
4 Eben Etzebeth (Sharks): A huge South African airlock making huge South African airlocks, the great Eben will have plenty of time on intercontinental flights to replicate Danny Care’s brazen theft from under his nose. His compatriot Stephan Lewis was his gritty and dependable self in direct opposition and will be sending Etzebeth GIFs of his one-handed lineout capture. Also a reminder for Adam Beard who rocked the Ospreys in the lineout and mauled again against Leicester.
3 Jan Ryan (Muster): Despite ending up on the losing team, Ryan dismantled world class slacker Cyril Baille and did a great job of slack. Uini Atonio was in tipper mode in La Rochelle and gave his site priority and we also hail Gloucester veteran Russian, Cyril Gotovtevwho was solid as a rock against Bordeaux-Begles.
2 George McGuigan (Gloucester): It was a real mess between McGuigan’s and Toulouse’s jackal machine, Julian Marchand, but somehow we felt that the Gloucester man’s win at Bordeaux was a little more special when he crossed on several tries. La Rochelle’s Quentin Lespiaucq he also grabbed the brace to the side.
1 Pierre Schöman (Edinburgh): 21 leads, trial and serious sled towards Maro Itoje saw the great Scottish Saffer put on a staggering display against the Saracens. Again Val Rapava-Ruskin he was terrific dismantling the UBB scrum and knocking out two of the dirtiest backdoors you’ve ever seen from a prop in 40 seconds while another vagrant from England, Bevan Rodd of Sale, put on a massive personal show of jackal and link play.
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Article Champions Cup Team of the Week: Marcus Smith, one of the three Harlequins on our side, and Dan du Plessis also grabs our attention, first appeared on Planetrugby.com.