Planet Rugby

Heineken Cup: Team of Round Two

22nd October 2012 13:55

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Wesley Fofana Exeter Heineken Cup

Two tries: Wesley Fofana

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

All six Pools are shaping up very nicely going into the break as Saracens, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont, Toulon set the early pace.

That sextet all won over the weekend and have eight representatives in our selection, with an English half-back duo making up our 9 and 10.

So without further ado, here comes our offering - be sure to send in your own 15-1 team line-ups.

15 Luke Arscott (Exeter) - It seems harsh to leave out Leigh Halfpenny after his try but what Arscott did in a losing battle against Clermont could not be ignored. He made metres aplenty, broke the line and caused the French quite a bit of bother on Saturday. A mention for Alex Goode.

14 Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues) - As one Cardiff Blue misses out, this one just makes it in. Cuthbert was once again a threat for his side and despite not crossing the whitewash, was a constant thorn in Toulon's side. Toulouse wing Vincent Clerc finished well against Treviso while Ken Pisi was solid for Northampton.

13 Manu Tuilagi (Leicester) - Has he scored two more important tries? Tuilagi started and finished Leicester's remarkable revival against the Ospreys as they kept their hopes of topping the 'Pool of Death' alive. Mentions for Seremaďa Burotu and Mathieu Bastareaud.

12 Wesley Fofana (Clermont) - It was a case of anything Gael Fickou can do, I can do better from Fofana as he showed France coach Philippe Saint-André that he remains the young go-to-centre. Matt Giteau cut the Blues apart while Connacht's Dave McSharry also shone.

11 Napolioni Nalaga (Clermont) - Fofana was not the only Clermont back to cross twice as Nalaga also got a double against the Chiefs. We felt Martin Bustos Moyano and Chris Wyles (in his 100th game) deserve a shout while Fetu Vainikolo was excellent against Quins.

10 Toby Flood (Leicester) - A few names dipped their toe in the selection pool this week but no one made more of a splash than England hopeful Flood. Was instrumental in Leicester picking up all five points. Mentions for Rémi Tales, Francois Trinh-Duc and Jonny Wilkinson.

9 Danny Care (Harlequins) - The picture looks pretty bright at scrum-half for England right now as Ben Youngs and Care both put in top shifts. Conor Murray silenced his critics with a man-of-the-match effort while Morgan Parra proved again he is France's best nine.

8 Louis Picamoles (Toulouse) - A freak. If you can check out his try against Treviso then do it. Nick Easter, Peter O'Mahony and Damien Chouly all put in decent showings over the weekend but we couldn't look past what Picamoles was doing. Strength, pace and skills.

7 Steffon Armitage (Toulon) - Justin Tipuric made light of Leicester's lack of an openside early in the piece on Sunday while Julien Bonnaire and Mamuka Gorgodze both put in strong shifts in Round 2. Chris Henry also deserves a well done but Armitage makes it.

6 Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse) - Last weekend Josh Navidi was superb in defeat for Cardiff Blues and put in another shift against Toulon. But in an hour Dusautoir was exceptional for Toulouse. His subsequent injury is a major blow to the French ahead of November. Meanwhile, a mention for Leicester's Steve Mafi and Montpellier's Fulgence Ouedraogo.

5 Paul O'Connell (Munster) - Ross Ford will have nightmares all week after Paulie's effort at the line-out. The veteran stole a great deal of set-piece ball from Edinburgh as Munster strolled to a 33-0 victory over the strugglers. Courtney Lawes was impressive in defence.

4 Steve Borthwick (Saracens) - Two weeks in a row for the old stager. Borthwick scored a fine try as he continues to lead by example at the Heineken Cup hopefuls. Leicester lock Graham Kitchener was also good while Treviso's Francesco Minto got through a lot of work.

3 Mike Ross (Leinster) - Two of three likely Lions tighthead travellers were excellent as Dan Cole and Ross stood up well against the Ospreys and Scarlets respectively. Ross sneaks this selection though as he picked up the official man-of-the-match at Parc y Scarlets.

2 Schalk Brits (Saracens) - It was noticeable that when Brits was replaced in the 55th minute by John Smit, the tempo that Saracens had took a substantial nose dive. Rory Best was strong for Ulster while Montpellier's bulky Argentine Agustin Creevy also played well.

1 Mihai Lazar (Castres) - Precious few come out on top against the Northampton front-row but Castres managed it on Friday. Lazar was key to that result which is why he pips Munster's Dave Kilcoyne and Thomas Domingo of Clermont to our number one jersey.

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