Combined Champions Cup XV: 15 players to watch this weekend
With the Six Nations over and the European Champions Cup quarter-finals just around the corner, we’ve put together a combined XV of all 8 quarterfinalists purely based on their performances in the cup so far. What a team this would be!
15. Liam Williams (Saracens)
– 11 clean breaks
Recently arrived at the Allianz Park for the 2017/18 season and has already impressed supporters by scoring some important tries to keep the hopes of a third consecutive title alive. An integral player in the Lions tour of New Zealand and easily one of the best attacking full-backs in world rugby at the moment. His 2 tries in the opening weekend against Northampton Saints was his biggest performance yet.
14. Alivereti Raka (Clermont Auvergne)
– Hat-trick versus Saracens
– 348 metres gained
A flying Fijian with plenty of pace and an eye for the try-line. His standout performance of the competition was against Saracens as he scored 3 tries in last than half an hour and made 161 metres in the match. He will be hoping to add more tries to his tally in the knockout stages.
13. Geoffrey Doumayrou (La Rochelle)
– 11 clean breaks
After making over a century of appearances for Stade Français, Doumayrou moved to La Rochelle for the 2017/18 season and has already won over his supporters through his excellent attacking skills. He stood out in his Man of the Match performance against Harlequins after scoring 2 tries including 4 line breaks and 4 defenders beaten.
12. Owen Farrell (Saracens)
– Reached 3rd place of all-time point scorers
Despite playing the majority of his club rugby at fly-half, Farrell has adapted to the centre role excellently for England and has earned his place in this XV. Just 26 years old and already in 3rd position of top point scorers in the competition behind Ronan O’Gara and Stephen Jones. Champions last year as well as Player of the Year – Farrell will be hoping to add another winner’s medal to his collection.
11. Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
– 90% kicking rate
Difficult to believe Nacewa is 35 years old and still at the peak of his game. Played a lot at centre this season but his try-scoring prowess is stronger from the wing. 3 winners medals to his name and will be hopeful of adding 1 more this year. His 2 tries against Glasgow Warriors were taken excellently well as you would expect from the experienced utility-back.
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster)
– 39 points
– 570+ overall points in the competition
The key player for Leinster that gets everything ticking and one of the best fly-halves in world rugby on his day. 3-time winner of the competition and has the hopes of his province firmly on his shoulders as they seek another title this year. Excellent kicker and has the ability to read the game better than anyone, he certainly proved this for Ireland in their Grand Slam victory.
9. Alexi Bales (La Rochelle)
– 1 try in 6 games
Probably the most unknown player from the XV after staying under the radar for Agen before joining La Rochelle in 2016/17. Bales has now emerged as an exciting talent this season after his goal kicking display against Ulster and his Man of the Match performance against Wasps really stood-out. He is certainly one to watch in their clash with Scarlets in the quarter final.