Planet Rugby

Heineken Cup: Team of the Week

10th December 2012 09:53

Share:

Jared Payne Ulster scoring a try against Northampton Heineken Cup - round three

On fire: Jared Payne

Now that the dust has settled in Europe, it's time to dish out the kudos for outstanding performances in Round Three of the Heineken Cup.

Harlequins, Toulouse and Ulster all picked up important victories last weekend, with Ulster's demolition of Northampton Saints away from home standing as the pick of the results in a brilliant performance.

In France, Clermont edged out Leinster in another brutal battle following on from last year's semi-final, handing Clermont the advantage in Pool 5 ahead of the return leg at the Aviva Stadium next weekend.

The surprise winners of the weekend however were Connacht, who took down a star-studded Biarritz side for a memorable win in Galway.

Team of Round Three:

15 Jared Payne (Ulster): After missing last season with a ruptured achilles tendon, Payne was on fire against Northampton, producing both a try and an assist in Ulster's dominant performance away from home.

14 Fetu'u Vainikolo (Connacht): Two weeks after helping Tonga to a famous win over Scotland, Vainikolo has another famous try to add to his collection after his early score helped pave the way for Connacht's upset victory over Biarritz.

13 Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont): Mr. Clermont was on fine form as his side remained unbeaten at the Stade Marcel Michelin, containing the Leinster attack and producing plenty of offloads.

12 James Downey (Munster): Facing familiar opposition in Saracens after his days with Northampton, Downey was at his physical best at Thomond Park on both sides of the ball.

11 Andrew Trimble (Ulster): The Ireland winger clinched the first try against Northampton with a brilliant finish in the corner, beating out England full-back Ben Foden in a sign of things to come.

10 Dan Parks (Connacht): Plenty of competition for the 10 shirt this week from Gareth Steenson, Johnny Sexton and others, but Parks gets the nod after his 17-point haul against Biarritz, which included four penalties and a drop goal.

9 Benoit Paillaugue (Montpellier): Ruan Pienaar impressed again for Ulster but Paillaugue edges him out after leading Montpellier to victory over 14-man Cardiff Blues away from home. The scrum-half kicked six penalties after being tip-tackled by Cardiff scrum-half Lloyd Williams, who saw red as a result.

8 Louis Picamoles (Toulouse): The France number eight continued his rich vein of form against the Ospreys, making more metres than any other player and producing a brilliant offload out the back for Census Johnston's bonus-point try. Credit to Nick Easter and Jamie Heaslip.

7 Julian Salvi (Leicester Tigers): The second half may have frustrated Leicester boss Richard Cockerill but he can have no complaints about the first half, with Salvi crossing for two tries including the bonus point score before the break. Leicester have felt unbalanced in the back row during his absence, underlining his influence on the side. Credit to Ulster's tackling machine Chris Henry.

6 Iain Henderson (Ulster): A rising star of the Irish game, Henderson has returned from winning his first caps with Ireland in November and shone alongside Henry and Roger Wilson against Northampton. Beating defenders and weighing in with plenty of tackles, he is worth keeping eye one.

5 Nathan Hines (Clermont): The former Scotland second row played his part in the battle against Leinster, topping the tackle charts again and emphasising to Lions coach Warren Gatland that he still offers the physicality that will be needed on the Lions tour.

4 Tommy Hayes (Exeter): The leadership behind Exeter's first ever Heineken Cup win, Hayes as ever was in the thick of the action, making acquaintances with the opposition and also producing more tackles than any other player on the pitch with 11.

3 Census Johnston (Toulouse): The Samoan giant crossed over for Toulouse's fourth try to leave the losing bonus point out of reach for the Ospreys in the south of France. Part of a dominant performance from the home pack.

2 Rory Best (Ulster): When you're a hooker and make 16 tackles, how can you not make the team of the week? Best typified his side's physical dominance at Franklins Gardens on a memorable night for Ulster.

1 Cian Healy (Leinster): Another strong scrummaging performance alongside Ireland team-mate Mike Ross, Healy was not daunted by the Clermont scrum and carried well again in the loose, keeping him in contention for the Lions loosehead spot.

by Ben Coles

@bencoles_

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs Australia08:35
Argentina vs South Africa20:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs Castres20:45
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs Grenoble18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas vs Griquas19:10
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs Wellington14:35
Counties Manukau vs Otago16:35
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs Auckland14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
Pumas 28 - 21 CheetahsPumas vs Cheetahs Report
Lions 41 - 13 Blue BullsLions vs Blue Bulls Report
Friday , August 8
Eastern Province Kings 16 - 35 Western ProvinceEastern Province Kings vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
Super Rugby
Saturday , August 2
Waratahs 33 - 32 CrusadersWaratahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00