Champions Cup Team of the Season: Leinster and Toulouse stars dominate with Antoine Dupont and James Lowe leading the way

Jared Wright
Split image featuring Antoine Dupont, Courtney Lawes and James Lowe.

The Planet Rugby writers have selected their Team of the Season.

The Investec Champions Cup season came to a thrilling close as Toulouse clinched their sixth title, beating Leinster after extra time.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, the Planet Rugby writers have put their heads together to select our Team of the Season.

Unsurprisingly, Leinster and Toulouse players dominate our team after the two clubs went unbeaten en route to the final.

So, without further ado, here is our Investec Champions Cup Team of the Season.

Champions Cup Team of the Season

15 Tyrone Green (Harlequins): An incredibly tough call with Blair Kinghorn shining for Toulouse following his mid-season switch from Edinburgh and his clubmate Thomas Ramos impressing at fly-half and fullback. Meanwhile, Leinster’s Hugo Keenan was excellent when fit. However, Green was the pick of the lot, gaining more metres (662) than any other player in the competition while crossing for three tries and assisting another.

14 Damian Penaud (Union Bordeaux Begles): The sensational French flyer was a game-breaker for UBB during the tournament, racking up an incredible eight try involvements in eight matches, scoring and assisting four tries. He was sorely missed in their quarter-final defeat but still did enough to edge the excellent Tommy Freeman and Leinster’s fleet-footed star Jordan Larmour.

13 Robbie Henshaw (Leinster): With Garry Ringrose missing most of the tournament through injury, Henshaw stepped up to the plate and shone at outside centre for the Irish province. He was exceptional on both sides of the ball and edges Paul Costes for the number 13 jersey.

12 Pita Ahki (Toulouse): The Tongan international’s final was cut short by injury, but he was a driving force in his club’s journey to a sixth title. Ahki was resolute in defence and a wonderful attacking presence in the Toulouse backline. There was no shortage of options with Harlequins’ Andre Esterhuizen, Leinster’s Jamie Osborne and Munster’s Alex Nakivell all having standout campaigns.

11 James Lowe (Leinster): The high-flying winger was unable to clinch his maiden Champions Cup title but was sensational in the Irish province’s run to the final, dotting down for six tries and assisting three – most of which coming in the knockout matches with a hat-trick of assists and a brace of tries against La Rochelle, while he scored three times against Northampton Saints. Bordeaux’s Louis Bielle-Biarrrey misses out to Lowe.

Halfbacks

Toulouse's Antoine Dupont celebrates winning after the Investec Champions Cup Final between Leinster and Stade Toulousain at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

10 Marcus Smith (Harlequins): Harlequins’ journey came to an end in the semi-finals but Smith was instrumental to guiding the Premiership club to their best-ever finish in the competition. He finished the Champions Cup as the top scorer with 85 points, including four tries, and kicked outstandingly all tournament, knocking over 89% of his kicks – the best success rate in the 2023/24 season. Toulouse’s Romain Ntamack starred in the latter stages after overcoming his injury setback, while Northampton Saints star Fin Smith enjoyed a cracking season in the competition.

9 Antoine Dupont (Toulouse): While there were several standout performers in the number nine jerseys this season, this was really a two-horse race between Dupont and Jamison Gibson-Park. The Toulouse captain was the difference between the two sides in the final and was just as impactful throughout the competition, earning him the EPCR Player of the Year award. He is simply world-class.

Leinster v Toulouse: Five takeaways from Champions Cup final as ‘superhuman’ Antoine Dupont stars

Loose forwards

Stade Toulousain's Jack Willis applauds the fans following victory after the final whistle in the Investec Champions Cup final.

8 Caelan Doris (Leinster): The powerhouse number eight shone throughout the tournament, producing standout performances from start to finish, skippering the side along the way. The Irishman was central to Leinster’s bid for a fifth star and beats La Rochelle captain Gregory Alldritt and Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt to the number eight jersey.

7 Jack Willis (Toulouse): A season to remember for the ex-Wasps back-rower who saved his absolute best for last, putting in a sublime performance in the finale to clinch the title. He impressed in the build-up to the final; impactful on defence and a real pest to the opposition’s breakdown. Harlequins’ star Will Evans is incredibly unlucky to miss out as is Josh van der Flier and Levani Botia.

Sam Warburton hails ‘phenomenal’ Jack Willis after Toulouse’s Champions Cup final victory

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints): Perhaps our most difficult call with Lawes and Francois Cros both enjoying extraordinary seasons in all facets of the game. In the end, Lawes gets the nod by the smallest of margins as he spearheaded Northampton’s run to the semi-finals, leading from the front on attack and defence.

Toulouse locks

5 Thibaud Flament (Toulouse): The hard-working second rower was phenomenal for the French giants, enjoying a particularly brilliant performance in the semi-final victory over Harlequins. The multi-talented lock made key interventions for Toulouse throughout their charge to the title and did so again in the final, playing the full 100 minutes. Leinster’s James Ryan also shone despite his injuries, as did Munster’s Tadhg Beirne.

4 Emmanuel Meafou (Toulouse): Joining Flament in the second-row is his locking partner, who wreaked havoc against every team he came across in the competition. Meafou regularly attracted more than one defender when he received the ball and superbly got the offload away when they did manage to get arms around him. He was instrumental in the victories over Leinster and Harlequins, having also played well in the pool stages. He edges breakout star Joe McCarthy, who also had an outstanding campaign.

All-Leinster front-row

3 Tadhg Furlong (Leinster): The veteran tighthead prop was back to some of his best rugby in the loose this season but that did not impact his scrummaging where he was a force once again. He was superb in the final, in particular, but shone throughout. Harlequins legend Will Collier also enjoyed a fine campaign, as did Bordeaux’s Ben Tameifuna.

2 Dan Sheehan (Leinster): Another Irish international gets the nod in the front-row as Sheehan continued his stellar Six Nations form in the Champions Cup. He might not have been as prolific as he was in the Six Nations, scoring just three tries, but he was accurate at the set-piece and a real force in attack and defence. Peato Mauvaka and Curtis Langdon were both fantastic for Toulouse and Northampton, respectively.

1 Andrew Porter (Leinster): Completing our team and an all-Leinster front row is the excellent Porter who went deep into the second half of many of Leinster’s matches and did not let his standards dip. He is renowned for his work around the park, but he was also solid up front and comfortably got the better of Dorian Aldegheri in the final. Quins’ loosehead Fin Baxter also shone, as did Cyril Baille and La Rochelle rookie Louis Penverne.

READ MORE: Antoine Dupont claims ANOTHER individual accolade after Champions Cup triumph