Planet Rugby

Heineken Cup: Team of Round Six

21st January 2013 12:12

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Heineken XV of the week 6 2013

Top games: Healy and Paillaugue

Now that the dust has settled across Europe, Planet Rugby thought it was only right to hand out some praise to the stars of Heineken Cup, Round 6.

Without further ado, here comes our offering - be sure to send in your own 15-1 team selections.

Team of Round 6

15 Stuart Hogg (Glasgow) - While there was Clement Poitrenaud performing strongly in the snow - before rather strangely being substituted - we went for a Warrior for our first pick. Hogg carried for 115 metres and eight tackles in victory over Northampton and fully deserves this jersey.

14 Chris Ashton (Saracens) - A brace of tries against Edinburgh will give England winger Ashton a timely confidence boost in the run-up to next month's Six Nations. His first score showed a clever bit of communication with Owen Farrell, latching onto the fly-half's cross-field kick well.

13 Sireli Naqelevuki (Exeter Chiefs) - The imposing centre was often Exeter's go-to man as the Fijian force constantly barged his way through the middle - gaining 57 metres in total for his team. And when he wasn't tearing up Leinster's defence in the backs, Naqelevuki was a menace in the forward exchanges too - talk about multi-tasking! A solid effort overall, considering he was up against Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll who also deserves praise for a scoring a try and setting up another.

12 James Downey (Munster) - He is someone Northampton have missed since making the move across to Ireland. Downey's directness was evident on Sunday as Munster got over the advantage line, which allowed the likes of hat-trick hero Simon Zebo space to cut loose. Downey sees off Paddy Wallace, who was solid in Ulster's historic win in France.

11 Simon Zebo (Munster) - Count 'em... 1,2,3! Munster needed to win with a four-try bonus point to keep themselves alive and man-of-the-match Zebo provided three of them. He continues to go from strength to strength, and has become an expert finisher. If you need further proof, take a look at his second try that wrapped up the bonus point...pure class!

10 Nick Evans (Harlequins) - Once again he was instrumental in a Quins win with a great place-kicking display considering the conditions. But where Evans really made an impact was with his outstanding positional play. He always seemed in the right place at the right time in the prolonged game of aerial ping-ping with the Biarritz kickers. Sarries veteran Charlie Hodgson deserves a shout out for scoring one try and creating another.

9 Benoit Paillaugue (Montpellier) - In an inspired performance against Toulon, Paillaugue controlled the game brilliantly along with Francois Trinh-Duc, marshalling his pack and putting in plenty of troubling kicks for the opposition. His goal-kicking was also excellent.

8 Louis Picamoles (Toulouse) - Is there a better number eight in Europe at the moment? We don't think so. That fateful non-try (where he crossed but was unsighted to the TMO) seemed inevitable as soon as Toulouse were awarded a 5 metre scrum, such is the power of the man. He showed super hands to get the ball through a gaggle of defenders too - pity all those bodies were in the way of the cameras. A mention too for Ireland skipper Jamie Heaslip, who did get the ball down over the line and had a strong day with ball in hand.

7 Sean O'Brien (Leinster) - Exeter's pack was bullied off the pitch in their own backyard, and it was largely thanks to this man and Cian Healy (who we'll discuss a little later). O'Brien was Leinster's leading tackler (10), and put his pilfering skills at the breakdown to good use - turning over several balls for the visitors. Equally dangerous with ball in hand, Ireland's star flank made plenty of hard yards for Leinster too. A shame it was all in vain for his side.

6 Julian Bonnaire (Clermont) - It was touch and go whether both Clermont flanks would make our team but in the end we sided with Bonnaire over Alexandre Lapandry. While he is an openside that wears six (the French style), we had to get him in with 20 tackles made.

5 Mamuka Gorgodze (Montpellier) - The Georgian talisman was in good form against Toulon, making more tackles than anyone else on his side and punishing defenders when he was on the charge. Right at the core of this impressive Montpellier team, the reception he received when returning to the field underlined his importance to his club.

4 Geoff Parling (Leicester) - With lots of kicking going on at Welford Road the line-outs were always going to be crucial and Parling did a great job, claiming seven for Tigers and pinching one off Toulouse. Just as importantly, he put in another big shift in the engine room making 11 hits, more than anyone else on the park with the exception of Thomas Waldrom.

3 Matt Stevens (Saracens) - For the second successive Monday, Stevens makes our team of the round. The retired international once again performed strongly for Sarries and was rewarded for his efforts with a try. He will form a fine balancing act with James Johnston.

2 Agustín Creevy (Montpellier) - No hooker impressed more in Round 6 than Creevy, with his ball-carrying epitomising his side's power up front. His lineout work was also accurate, with Montpellier winning 15 out of 18 throw-ins. Gets the nod over Saracens' Schalk Brits.

1 Cian Healy (Leinster) - Backing up his aggressive 40 minutes against the Scarlets, Healy was effectively used like an NFL running back against Exeter. His productive outing yielded 11 carries and 38 metres made, whilst scrums on Leinster's feed were up a 100 percent.

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