RUCK’s Team of the Week: Bleyendaal, Nadolo, Stander, Strettle
Now that the dust has settled on Round 2 of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup; RUCK selects the players that stood out over the weekend.
Round 1: Team of the Week
Fullback: Simon Zebo (Munster)
The fullback was under every high ball and made some strong carries for Munster as they capped an emotional day with a 38-17 win against Glasgow Warriors.
The Ireland international also scored a superb try, overcoming Stuart Hogg’s attempted tackle before wrestling his way over the whitewash.
His performance, strength and character would have made Anthony Foley proud.
Alex Goode (Saracens) – Mr. Consistent was great again as Saracens made it 2/2 against Scarlets on Saturday
Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps) – The versatile back kept his nerve to slot a late conversion, rescuing a draw.
Charles Piutau (Ulster) – The Kiwi shined for Ulster as they edged past Exeter on Saturday
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – The brave back was at his best before he was stretchered off late on
Wing: David Strettle (Clermont)
The English winger continued his scintillating form with yet another wonderful try as Clermont overcame Bordeaux-Begles.
Keelan Giles (Ospreys) – Scored a hat-trick of tries as Ospreys beat Lyon 31-13 in France on Saturday.
Marcus Watson (Newcastle) – The Olympic silver medalist scored a try on his return as the Falcons powered to a 50-7 win against Grenoble
Centre: Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues)
The 23-year-old scored two second-half tries as the Blues secured their second win in the European Challenge Cup with a 27-12 victory over Pau on Friday.
Centre: Nick Tompkins (Saracens)
The young centre turned up at the Allianz Park expecting to be a spectator at the Champions Cup clash between Saracens and the Scarlets.
But instead the 21-year-old, who wasn’t named in the matchday 23, found himself being drafted into the starting XV during the pre-math warm-up when skipper Brad Barritt pulled out.
Not only did he go on to make his full Champions Cup debut, but he also scored a try and picked up the Heineken Cup Man of the Match award.
Kyle Eastmond (Wasps) – Did terrific to open up the Toulouse defence for Nathan Hughes late try
Wesley Fofana (Clermont)
Rory Scannell (Munster)
Wing: Nemani Nadolo (Montpellier)
David Smith (Castres) – The winger scored a brace as Castres romped to a dominant win against Saints
Jonny May (Gloucester) – The England man continues his encouraging return from injury with a great performance & try
Fly-half: Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster)
The fly-halves time with Munster has been hampered by a succession of injuries, but the Kiwi out-half delivered an exceptional performance as the Irish province honoured Anthony Foley with a bonus-point victory over Glasgow Warriors.
Bleyendaal, who joined Munster in 2015, contributed 16 points, which included the games opening try, in a man-of-the-match performance.
Enisei Kushnarev (Enisei-STM) – The outside half kicked five conversions and a penalty as the Russians overcame Newport
Sam Davies (Ospreys) – Sam Davies again starred as Ospreys made it back-to-back wins against Lyon
Owen Farrell (Saracens) – Continued on his exceptional form from last weekends win against Toulon
Paddy Jackson (Ulster) – The Ulsterman’s drop-goal edged his side to a narrow one-point win against Exeter
Scrum-half: Conor Murray (Munster)
Peter Stringer (Sale Sharks) – Managed to stand out as one of Sale’s better players in a poor performance
Prop: Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Antoine Tichit (Castres)
David Klilkoyne (Munster)
Hooker: Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Niall Scannell (Munster)
Michael van Vuuren (Bath Rugby)
Rory Best (Ulster)
Prop: Daniel Kotze (Castres)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Lock: Mamuka Gorgodze (Toulon)
Lock: Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Will Witty (Newcastle Falcons)
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers)
Flanker: Mathieu Babillot (Castres)
Charles Ollivon (Toulon)
Flanker: Schalk Burger (Saracens)
The legendary back-rower is experiencing northern hemisphere club rugby for the first time at the age of 33 – but the South African really had hit the ground running at Sarries with a series of faultless, committed performances.
Number 8: CJ Stander (Munster)
The second sentence from an emotional Stander after he and Munster dismantled Glasgow at Thomond Park to pay Anthony Foley a fitting tribute.
Stander, who threw everything at Glasgow but the kitchen sink, wore the number 24 jersey in the bonus point win as the province opted to retire the number 8 for their sold-out Pool 1 fixture.