Heineken Cup: Team of the Week

Date published: December 9 2013

Now that the dust has settled, Planet Rugby thought it only right to hand out some praise to the star players of Heineken Cup, Round 3.

Now that the dust has settled, Planet Rugby thought it only right to hand out some praise to the star players of the third round of the Heineken Cup.

The Pools are taking shape after what was a wonderful round of rugby, which continues this coming weekend in the reversal of those games.

So without further ado, here comes our offering.

Heineken Cup: Team of Round Three

15 Mike Brown (Harlequins) РArguably the most consistent full-back in Europe. Brown was a rock again for Quins as they stunned Racing M̩tro in Nantes. We feel a mention needs to be extended to Leinster's Rob Kearney who showed a real attacking edge against Northampton Saints.

14 Keith Earls (Munster) – 172 metres made in an excellent shift in the red jersey. He scored an opportunistic try from a turnover very well indeed and was a constant threat at Thomond Park. Miles Benjamin came mighty close though for this spot after scoring twice for Leicester Tigers while the busy Timoci Nagusa was also good for Montpellier.

13 Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster) – Vintage BOD! That flip between his legs to set up Luke Fitzgerald's second try was just one of the highlights in a brilliant performance. A mention too for Toulon's midfield wrecking ball Mathieu Bastareaud and Tigers' Vereniki Goneva.

12 Luke Marshall (Ulster) – We thought Marshall was hard done to when being left out by Joe Schmidt for the New Zealand clash and boy did he make the Ireland boss sit up and take note. 113 metres in the bank while he scored twice in the 48-0 victory over Treviso.

11 Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster) – A mention first up to Clermont's Napolioni Nalaga after his two tries against the Scarlets but how could we overlook Fitzgerald? He was always on the shoulder of a breaking team-mate and deserved his hat-trick. Jonny May was also superb.

10 Nick Evans (Harlequins) РThe Kiwi playmaker was due a big performance and he produced a top-class display in Nantes, scoring 17 points including a well-taken try to get the ball rolling for Quins as the English side silenced the home crowd by thrashing Racing M̩tro 38-12. A mention for Cardiff Blues youngster Rhys Patchell who was key to their win.

9 Kieran Marmion (Connacht) – What a result it was for Connacht as they overcame the mighty Toulouse on their home patch. Marmion was electric at the base and was deserving of his 47th minute try, which proved to be the match-winner. Eoin Reddan was also superb.

8 Ernst Joubert (Saracens) – Another man of the match makes the cut as Joubert sees off Nick Easter for our eight jersey. He made plenty of carries while being Saracens' most used line-out option in Italy. The aforementioned Easter was also a rock, leading well in France.

7 Steffon Armitage (Toulon) – One of a only a few players to shine for the champs, Armitage was a strong candidate for man of the match at Sandy Park where the forgotten English international flanker was a menace at the breakdown and one of RCT's top tacklers.

6 Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier) РFabien Galthi̩'s team will miss Gorgodzilla when he moves along the coast to Toulon next year. Another hard-hitting performance from the versatile Georgian included 71 metres made with ball in hand, four offloads and a try.

5 George Robson (Harlequins) РA big part of the Quins forward effort as they picked up an impressive 32-8 win at Racing M̩tro. In fact Robson was given the man of the match award and sees off Connacht's Craig Clarke for a spot. Clarke was a rock in victory at Toulouse.

4 Graham Kitchener (Leicester) – Another man of the match for a lock came over at Welford Road where Kitchener was a real nuisance against Montpellier. He sees off Clermont's Jamie Cudmore for our four shirt, with the Canadian having scored and carried strongly.

3 Tau Filise (Cardiff Blues) – 36 years old but you wouldn't know it. 14 tackles and a full game for the Blues as he stood out in a gritty performance. A mention for Ulster tighthead John Afoa for his try-scoring effort against Treviso while Leinster's Mike Ross did well.

2 Sean Cronin (Leinster) – With Rory Best being ruled out until near to the Six Nations kick-off, Ireland need a starting hooker who is playing well. Cronin certainly did that against the Saints as he broke the line on many occasions before being brought off with the job done.

1 Sam Hobbs (Cardiff Blues) – It was a captain's performance from Hobbs on Friday as he led a team missing Sam Warburton to a much-needed win that keeps alive their hopes of making the knockouts. A real leader in a young pack. Mention for Munster's David Kilcoyne.