RUCK’s Team of the Week: Danny Cipriani, Stuart Hogg, Billy Vunipola
The RUCK Team of the Week (TOTW) is released by us each Sunday and represent players that have played best in our opinion the previous week in the northern hemisphere.
Fullback: STUART HOGG (Glasgow Warriors)
Hogg was named Six Nations Player of the Championship earlier this week and the full-back continued his successful week by helping his club side to their fifth consecutive GUINNESS PRO12 victory.
His night did not get off to the best start however when he was sin-binned but he stormed back to put in a all-around fantastic display as his try and late long-range penalty ensured the Warriors were victorious.
Wing: SEMESA ROKODUGUNI (Bath Rugby)
Bath called on the cavalry for this sodden West Country derby, but it was their lance corporal, Semesa Rokoduguni, who continued his rich vein of try-scoring form with a brace to seal a crucial victory in his side’s quest to salvage their season.
A fifth and sixth try in four matches from the Fijian-born wing earned Bath their third straight away win against Gloucester and ignited hopes of a top-six finish.
Centre: HARRY MALLINDER (Northampton)
Harry Mallinder was in the right place at the right time again for Saints as he helped secure a vital bonus-point 29-23 win against Harlequins at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday afternoon.
Mallinder, who had come on for Luther Burrell with 13 minutes remaining, made a pivotal impact as he made the most of good work from Samoan wing Ken Pisi to charge in for a 73rd-minute try.
Centre: RORY SCANNELL (Munster)
Wing: DTH van der Merwe (Scarlets)
Canadian winger Van der Merwe touched down with wonderful finish after being on the end of breakout by James and Gareth Davies. His addition last summer has proved a great one!
Fly-half: DANNY CIPRIANI (Sale Sharks)
Danny Cipriani scored a match-winning try against Leicester as Sale maintained their unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership in a game that was suspended during the second half due to thunder and lightning.
The flamboyant fly-half will leave the Sharks at the end of the season and rejoin Wasps, but his complete performance, which saw him kick a number of kicks before he touched down the crucial try, showed exactly why a number of supporters were very disappointed when he didn’t make the England squad.
Scrum-half: DAN ROBSON (Wasps)
Prop: ROB EVANS (Scarlets)
Wales rookie Evans had a storming Six Nations and the loose-head prop won the official man of the match award as Scarlets overcame local rivals Ospreys 25-16 at the Liberty Stadium.
Hooker: GEORGE MCGUIGAN (Newcastle)
Prop: JANNIE DU PLESSIS (Montpellier)
Lock: JOSH TURNBULL (Cardiff Blues)
Lock: DONNCHA O’CALLAGHAN (Worcester)
Flanker: THOMAS YOUNG (Wasps)
Flanker: GEORGE SMITH (Wasps)
Number 8: BILLY VUNIPOLA (Saracens)
Billy Vunipola missed out on the player of the Six Nations award but in his first league appearance for Saracens in nearly three months, his impact was as great as it had been in the championship as he hogged attention.
The back-rower bounced off defenders, cleared out rucks, smashed into ball-carriers, not that Exeter had many of them in the first-half when they were given first use of the strong wind and spent most of it tackling. After winning a lineout on 32 minutes and barrelling into the Chiefs’ 22, Vunipola finished off his own move by flattening Olly Woodburn to score in the corner after Marcelo Bosch’s one-handed reverse pass.