Team of the Week: Champions Cup

Date published: November 16 2015

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The first round of Champions Cup matches has come to a close, making it time for us to select our Team of the Week.

Four of the weekend's games were called off after the attacks in Paris on Friday evening, with six going ahead across the weekend.

Let's see who made it into our side.

Team of the Week: Champions Cup

15 Charles Piutau (Wasps)The player of the weekend. Piutau made over 100 metres, beat seven defenders and four clean breaks in Dublin to play a big part in Leinster's record European defeat at home. Brilliant footwork and slight of hand. He gets the nod ahead of the Ospreys' Dan Evans and Northampton's Ben Foden.

14 Vereniki Goneva (Leicester): We switch Goneva from right to left wing as his 15 carries for 131 metres made him a shoo-in this week. The Fijian was superb with ball in hand and deserved his try, seeing off Wasps Christian Wade who was also impressive.

13 Elliot Daly (Wasps)Another accomplished performance from the Wasps youngster, who always appears to have so much time on the ball. His cannon of a leg might have missed a couple of penalties in the second half with the wind causing problems, but Daly still excelled – eight carries and 11 tackles being his final totals.

12 Matt Smith (Leicester): A mention straight away for Saracens centre Brad Barritt who was a rock in their victory over Toulouse. However, Tigers mainstay Smith was excellent on Friday and is making the most of his starts at 12. He has always been an honest player whose versatility meant a run in the side in one position rarely happened. But, nine tackles and a try could change that.

11 Chris Wyles (Saracens)Two tries for the American international against Toulouse. We spoke about Wyles needed to replicate David Strettle's proficency out on the wing last week and Wyles has started well. Gets in ahead of Munster's Simon Zebo.

10 Dan Biggar (Ospreys): Despite missing a few kicks at goal, it says something that Biggar is our fly-half of the weekend. Owen Williams was also impressive for Leicester but Biggar is in a different league right now, commanding the air with his up-and-unders while marshalling his troops well. To beat an impressive Exeter Chiefs side and deny them a losing bonus-point is some achievement.

9 Joe Simpson (Wasps)His speed is always such a weapon for Wasps as we saw for their second try, but it was Simpson's game management, dominating the kicking game, that was such a big a factor in Wasps' huge win in Ireland. Picked ahead of Leicester's Ben Youngs despite a sharp night for the England number nine.

8 CJ Stander (Munster): Another try from Munster captain Stander as he led his side to a bonus-point victory over Treviso in difficult weather conditions. He is eligible for Ireland for the Six Nations and on this form he should be there or thereabouts. Nathan Hughes was strong for Wasps in their win at Leinster but Stander was man of the match and rightly so. A ball-carrying machine in red.

7 Brendon O'Connor (Leicester): What a way to announce yourself not only to the Tigers supporters but also European rugby. O'Connor was making his debut after moving from the Blues and was everywhere on Friday, scoring a try in a workmanlike performance. He's eligible to play for England too and being an out an out openside flanker surely helps his case as the Red Rose looks for a fresh start.

6 Dan Lydiate (Ospreys)The Welsh region's tackle machine was back doing what he does best, as Lydiate chipped in with 21 tackles against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday. He also made nine carries with the ball in hand to cap a productive afternoon. Wasps flanker Sam Jones impressed too.

5 Maro Itoje (Saracens)Yet another promising display from the man touted as a future England captain. Itoje made nine carries, 14 tackles and won three turnovers in Saracens' win over Toulouse, along with a pair of lineout wins. Nothing seems to faze him.

4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps)The England lock rolled up his sleeves and got stuck into Leinster as Wasps' pack came out on top. Carried hard to get the Premiership side over the advantage line and came up with nine tackles. 

3 BJ Botha (Munster): He celebrated signing a contract extension until June 2016 with a try-scoring effort against Treviso. Botha, 36 in two months, is a reliable performer for Munster especially at the set-piece so to get over the whitewash was a well earned.

2 Tom Youngs (Leicester): He made 11 carries for the Tigers cause but was also impressive with ball in hand as a distributor. This new-look Leicester side hugely impressed as a unit against Stade Français and England international Youngs was a key cog in making them tick. Carlo Festuccia earns a mention for his solid outing in Wasps colours as they claimed an excellent victory at Leinster.

1 Mako Vunipola (Saracens): A mention for Wasps loosehead Matt Mullan after that win in Leinster as he made 7 carries to go with a whopping 16 tackles. But Vunipola in this kind of carrying form is superb and his early try got the ball rolling for Saracens.

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