Premiership Team of the Week: David Campese rewards Northampton Saints after one-sided win over Gloucester

James While
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Premiership Team of the Week Round 17 image.jpg

David Campese selects his Premiership Team of the Week.

A breathless Round 17 in the Premiership saw Northampton Saints secure a home play-off spot with a record home win as they thumped Gloucester 90-0, whilst the old stagers Saracens proved they’re still a team to be reckoned with as they too secured qualification.

With attacking play thriving, Wallaby great David Campese joins Planet Rugby’s James While to pick his team of the round.

We have teamed up with eToro, the official investing and trading partner of Premiership Rugby, to launch a new feature that will see us name a best XV from a famous face after every Premiership round for the remainder of the season.

Last week, Campese correctly predicted the winner of four of the five Premiership Rugby fixtures. The only exception being Exeter Chiefs’ triumph over Harlequins, as the former flyer felt Quins would be victorious.

On the back of his predictions on Friday, Campese rejoins us to select his team of the round.

Premiership Team of the Week

15 Elliott Daly (Saracens): Daly is a player often criticised for what he does poorly rather than praised for his brilliance in vision and enablement for others. I thought he was superb in picking Bristol apart, although I also enjoyed the performance of Sale’s Sam James as he played his last home game for Sharks.

14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs): Huge performance from the winger as he profited from the brilliance of the Chiefs’ physicality in another impressive display to see off Quins. He’s a real athlete and someone I’m tracking to see how he develops. Joe Cokanasiga also impressed me in Bath’s crucial win against Newcastle.

13 Lucio Cinti (Saracens): Absolutely brilliant all afternoon and created some real problems for Bristol, creating two tries. He just takes it from Henry Slade who also had a fine game for Chiefs in a crucial win at Sandy Park.

12 Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks): Absolutely massive. English rugby will lose someone of the highest quality when Manu leaves the shores next season. He’s the sort of centre I loved playing with as his physicality opens up space for others around him. Saints’ Fraser Dingwall also looked in fine fettle in that cricket score at Franklins Gardens.

11 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints): The winger’s fine form continues as he grabbed a hat-trick to celebrate the birth of his first child. I hope Steve Borthwick takes a look at this lad soon – he’s direct, powerful and quick. Exeter’s Olly Woodburn didn’t get on the scorecard but once again did so much for others around him.

‘We had a job to do’ – Northampton Saints share sympathies after hammering Gloucester and securing semi-final

10 Harvey Skinner (Exeter Chiefs): A very close call with Fin Smith starring for Saints and Owen Farrell reminding us all of his class for Saracens in a key away win at Bristol, with one amazing 50:22 kick (from his own 22-meter line)! But for me Skinner was the key man for Chiefs, although his opposite number Marcus Smith scored one brilliant individual try and Finn Russell returned to action for Bath with an impressive performance off the tee and with ball in hand.

9 Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints): Mitchell is fast becoming a world class nine and he’s at the centre of everything Saints and England do well. Magnificent once again, although Ben Spencer needs a shout out too for his work for Bath.

Standout forwards

Courtney Lawes at scrum Northampton v Gloucester Premieship 2024 - Alamy.jpg

8 Greg Fisilau (Exeter Chiefs): Absolutely huge as he dominated the gainline with some thundering carries and delivered a fine display both sides of the ball. Juarno Augustus was massive for Saints with some real power, whilst Sarries’ Tom Willis also caught my eye.

7 Juan Martin Gonzalez (Saracens): I’m being a bit creative here and switching the big Puma to the openside, where he often plays, to free up a shirt for another special player in Lawes at six. Gonzalez was huge, abrasive and effective. This guy is a real Test standard athlete and someone who I enjoy greatly, having watched him often in the Rugby Championship. Jacques Vermeulen also impressed me with similar qualities as he was a focal point of Exeter’s impressive display.

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints): Absolutely world class in every aspect, Big Courts just gets better and better. He will prove irreplaceable for both Saints and England, and I can see him getting the Lions captaincy if he’s available and wants it. Ethan Roots also put a big shift in for Chiefs in his usual abrasive fashion.

5 Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs): This lad is truly one to watch and the way he conducts himself as a leader is really impressive and he is extremely mobile for a big man. Alex Moon was part of the try-fest for Saints, whilst Joe Batley tried hard in defeat for Bristol.

4 Maro Itoje (Saracens): Despite his yellow card for an accidental head clash, Maro was magnificent, crossing twice and generally adding huge nuisance value for Saracens. Sale’s big Saffer Cobus Wiese was another to catch my eye in an abrasive performance.

3 Thomas du Toit (Bath): The former Shark crossed again – I think that’s his 11th try of the season – as Bath secured a vital win at Falcons. He’s been a fantastic signing for Johann van Graam. Dan Cole scored for Tigers and stood out in defeat against Sale Sharks. Saints’ Trevor Davison looked powerful as his scrummaging smashed the Gloucester eight all afternoon.

2 Curtis Langdon (Northampton Saints): Saints grabbed four tries from the hooker shirt but Langdon is one that surely needs to looked at by England before too long. Jamie Blamire was the best of the Falcons in defeat, whilst Jack Yeandle’s leadership and solidity was crucial for the Chiefs.

1 Alex Waller (Northampton Saints): His try brought the house down at the Gardens as this wonderful Saint made his last scheduled appearance – at the venue – for a club he’s served brilliantly. A hugely likeable person and it’s sad to see him retire. A shout out to two incredibly mobile props, Mako Vunipola and Bevan Rodd, both in fine handling form for Sarries and Sale respectively.

READ MORE: Rob Baxter sympathises with Harlequins amid ‘absolute madness’ of fixture scheduling