Champions Cup: Team of the Week

Date published: April 25 2016

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Now the dust has settled on the Champions Cup semi-finals we put together a XV of who stood out in Reading and Nottingham.

Saracens will now face Racing 92 in next month's final in Lyon in an Anglo-French final, with both sides looking to win the competition for the first time.

Let's see who made the cut.

Champions Cup: Team of the Semi-finals

15 Alex Goode (Saracens)Kept his bid for England's full-back slot going with another good performance in Reading. Goode finished up with 14 carries for 88 metres and his kicking out of hand helped Saracens keep Wasps contained during a tense second half. 

14 Christian Wade (Wasps)Special break for the opening try at the Madejski Stadium and Wade always looked like a threat with ball in hand, although Saracens did well to keep him (relatively) quiet. Wade beat seven defenders and hit 100 metres. Credit to Telusa Veainu.

13 Johan Goosen (Racing 92)Vital penalty for Racing from long-range which ultimately proved to be the winning points against Leicester Tigers. Goosen also weighed in with eight tackles and beat four defenders, despite spending time off the field for a concussion test.

12 Brad Barritt (Saracens)Saracens' skipper led the way with his defensive duties, finishing with 14 tackles to his name as the Premiership champions subdued Wasps late on. Siale Piutau went well for Wasps.

11 Joe Rokocoko (Racing 92)Switched to the left wing, the veteran former All Black is having a fine season. Defended astutely with eight tackles always made metres on attack when Racing got the ball in his hands. Key break for the opening try.

10 Dan Carter (Racing 92)Cool under pressure for Racing and finished with 11 points after kicking three penalties and a conversion, but Carter also played his part in defence with an impressive 14 tackles. If Leicester's plan was to try to run through him, it didn't work. Owen Farrell's yellow card rules him out.

9 Maxime Machenaud (Racing 92)In top form. Machenaud's early try had Leicester always chasing the game at The City Ground and his sniping runs around the ruck always kept Leicester's defence on their toes, finishing with ten runs.

8 Chris Masoe (Racing 92)Showing no signs of slowing down at the age of 36. Masoe is on track for a fourth straight European crown after three with Toulon –  he started in the 2013 and 2015 finals – and he finished with 17 runs and 18 tackles against Leicester. Mentions for Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes.

7 Wenceslas Lauret (Racing 92)Worked hard along with Masoe in the Racing back row, with the France flanker making four takes at the lineout to go with eight carries and 14 tackles. Enjoying a fine season for club and country. George Smith gets a mention.

6 Michael Rhodes (Saracens)One of the smartest signings of the season after joining Saracens from the Stormers. Rhodes' chargedown try got Saracens back into the game against the Wasps as he also made ten tackles and four takes at the lineout.

5 Maro Itoje (Saracens)Another Man of the Match award for his already ridiculous collection. Four lineout takes and 15 tackles for the England lock, along with two steals to disrupt Wasps' set-piece. Keeps getting better doesn't he?

4 Luke Charteris (Racing 92)Like some of his team-mates on this list, Charteris is in a great run of form. Five lineout takes and a steal along with 15 tackles for the Wales lock against Leicester. Joe Launchbury impressed too.

3 Petrus du Plessis (Saracens)A dominant display upfront by Saracens, who really should have won by more, and the work at the scrum of Du Plessis deserves huge credit. Also weighed in with eight tackles.

2 Harry Thacker (Leicester)On a frustrating afternoon for Leicester their young hooker again stood out. Thacker hit his man 12 times at the lineout while making ten tackles and seven carries. Also came up with one ridiculous offload off the deck.

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens)Constantly impresses with his work-rate, whether in Saracens of England colours. Vunipola finished with 13 carries and an eye-watering 19 tackles.

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