Combined Champions Cup XV: 15 players to watch this weekend - Page 2 of 2 - Ruck

Combined Champions Cup XV: 15 players to watch this weekend

8. CJ Stander (Munster)
– 89 carries  – 78 tackles
One of the best ball carriers and tacklers in the competition this year – his performances so far have been excellent. Stander came to Ireland from Super Rugby’s Bulls and has gone on to make over a century of appearances for Munster and is now one of the first names on the team sheet. He got his only try of the pool fixtures against Leicester Tigers after a pick up and drive over the line in typical CJ Stander fashion. 

7. Levani Botia (La Rochelle)
 2 tries in 4 games – 33 carries in 2 games
Powerful Fijian centre that is playing in the back-row for La Rochelle this season and is proving he is a menace on the pitch whichever position he plays. 16 carries and 2 good tries against Wasps was his highlight as well as a Man of the Match performance against Ulster. He is one of the favourites to be this year’s Player of the Year if his team can reach the later stages. 

6. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
– 94 carries – 17 offloads – 26 lineouts won – 3 tries in 6 games
One of the best all-round players in the world at the moment and is in exceptional form for Racing 92. Sevens rugby gold medallist for Fiji in Rio 2016 and was one of the stand-out performers in that star-studded team. He’s the leading try scorer for his club in Europe so far with 3 in 6 and has more carries and offloads than anyone else in the competition. He seems to be playing in a league of his own on times and he’ll be looking to win his first title this year for the Parisians. 

5. Tadgh Beirne (Scarlets)
– 2 tries in 6 games – 73 tackles completed out of 74  – 14 turnovers
Not many people would have heard of Tadgh Beirne after he was released from Leinster in 2016, he was picked up by the Scarlets where he won the PRO 14 in his debut season with the club. He’s now emerged as a key player for the Welsh region and has put in some superb performances so far. His Man of the Match performance against Bath was his stand-out moment where he racked up 20 completed tackles, 2 line breaks and 1 try. 

4. Scott Fardy (Leinster)
– 2 tries against Glasgow Warriors  – Unbeaten with Leinster
Signed from the Brumbies last season, Fardy has become an instrumental player for the unbeaten Leinster and will hope to bag some silverware in his first appearance in the competition. He made 11 tackles and a turnover against Exeter and is massively important during set pieces from scrums and line-outs. 

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
– 15 carries and 3 defenders beaten against Exeter  – 23 tackles completed
Tadhg is now a household name for Leinster and is a key player for the national side too after proving he is a great srummager and an excellent ball carrier. He started all 3 tests for the Lions in New Zealand and was integral to Ireland’s Grand Slam this year. His stand-out performance came at Sandy Park as Leinster ended Exeter’s 12 month unbeaten run at home with Tadhg putting in a huge shift.  

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets)
– 88 tackles completed – 15 tackles against Bath
Owens captained the Scarlets throughout their title winning season last year and has been leading from the front once again, this time in Europe. He’s been at the club for over a decade and is a firm crowd favourite because of his high work rate and defensive abilities. This was proven in his away performance against Bath where he managed 17 tackles and won 7 line-outs. 

1. Dany Priso (La Rochelle)
– 1 try and 12 tackles against Harlequins  – 15 carries and 6 defenders beaten against Wasps
Just 23 years old and already a key player for this La Rochelle side in the Champions Cup. With 15 carries and 63 metres against Wasps, Priso earned a call-up to the national side for the Six Nations and will be hoping to continue his good form into the later stages of the competition.


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