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HEC: Team of the quarter-finals

08th April 2013 12:16

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Heineken Cup team of the week QFs 2013

Pure class: Wilko and Sivi

Now that the dust has settled on the European quarter-finals, we select the players who stood out from the crowd this weekend.

If there is a trend to pick out, it's the prominence of old stalwarts producing the goods when the chips are down. If you're good enough...you're young enough!

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

Heineken Cup Team of the Quarter-Finals:

15 Mathew Tait (Leicester): Probably the visitors' most dangerous back at Stade Felix Mayol. Tait's counter attack from deep inside his own 22 - beating four defenders along the way - is one for the highlights reel at the end of the season.

14 Sitiveni Sivivatu (Clermont): Pure class. Sivi's try against Montpellier was out of the top draw. It was also his break that set up Aurélien Rougerie's score which opened the floodgates. His 158 metres gained were the best stats of anyone, anywhere, this weekend.

13 Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon): The Bulldozer was at his devastating best and it often required a small gang of Tigers to bring him down. Basta came within millimetres of scoring what would have been a fantastic try. A mention too for Saracens' Joel Tomkins.

12 Brad Barritt (Saracens): Rock solid in defence with 13 tackles. Barritt isn't the flashiest 12 in Europe but he makes very few mistakes, which suits Sarries' suffocating style perfectly. Mentions too for Munster's James Downey and Clermont's Wesley Fofana.

11 Napolioni Nalaga (Clermont): When Clermont hit their straps, you can bet your bottom Euro that their Fijian try-machine will get on the scoresheet. He touched down and gained 96 metres in another impressive display of power running.

10 Jonny Wilkinson (Toulon): Committed on defence. Accurate when kicking out of hand. A perfect record from the boot and a textbook drop-goal to seal victory in a tight game. Warren Gatland, are you listening?

9 Morgan Parra (Clermont): There were plenty of plaudits for the Clermont pack but their backs scored all the tries. The link between them was Parra, who also kicked very well. A mention for Leicester's Ben Youngs.

8 Kelly Brown (Saracens): The top tackler of the quarter-finals weekend with a phenomenal 21 hits. Mentions too for Toulon's Chris Masoe and Montpellier's Alex Tulou, who carried the ball for 85 metres.

7 Will Fraser (Saracens): Man of the Match in Saracens' dominant display at Twickenham in a performance that included the opening try. A big mention for Clermont's Gerhard Vosloo who produced some crazy stats: 96 metres gained, seven offloads and eleven tackles!

6 Peter O'Mahony (Munster): The visitors to the Stoop turned up the heat in the second half and O'Mahony led the physical onslaught. George Robson would rather forget getting the ball ripped from his hands in mid-air!

5 Paul O'Connell (Munster): What a return to the red jersey! Munster are a different beast with POC in the side. Unrivalled in the air, the veteran second row also carried the ball with real determination. A few weeks ago his Lions chances looked slim but on the basis of this performance, he'll be very hard to overlook.

4 Steve Borthwick (Saracens): Another veteran second row getting the job done on the big occasion. 12 tackles, five clean line-out wins and a steal made for a good night for the Sarries skipper. A reluctant mention for Bakkies Botha, who brought his infamous hard edge, though he sometimes stepped over the line.

3 Matt Stevens (Saracens): A busy evening for the Sarries tighthead, who made his presence felt in the loose. A mention for Dan Cole who was great at scrum time but lost his place in our team due to that costly yellow card.

2 Tom Youngs (Leicester): Against the much-vaunted Toulon pack, the Leicester scrum dominated. Youngs also hit his jumpers in the air and, with 13 hits, topped the tackle stats amongst the weekend's front rowers.

1 Thomas Domingo (Clermont): A tough call to make but we'll settle for the Jaunards' loosehead, who went forward at every impact. A mention for Saracens' Mako Vunipola

Compiled by Ross Hastie

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