Premiership Team of the Week: Nick Easter rewards ‘world-class’ ex-All Black and admits ‘close call’ between George Ford and Finn Russell

James While
Former England and Harlequins star Nick Easter picks his Premiership Team of the Week.

Former England and Harlequins star Nick Easter picks his Premiership Team of the Week.

And then there were four. An incredible weekend of Premiership Rugby, one where seven teams started with hopes of play-off qualification, saw four teams – Sale Sharks, Northampton Saints, Bath and Saracens – move through into the semi finals.

Former England and Harlequins number eight Nick Easter joins James While to pick the best XV from a final breathless 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.

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

Premiership Team of the Week

15 Joe Carpenter (Sale Sharks): Carpenter is starting to get mentioned in England dispatches and was once again influential at the back for Alex Sanderson’s men. Gloucester’s Josh Hathaway also impressed me, scoring a try in the rout of Falcons.

14 Mike Brown (Leicester Tigers): A man I played countless games with and still has that spiky competitiveness that characterises his game. Joe Cokanasiga also impressed me in Bath’s crucial win against Saints to grab them a home tie.

13 Rob du Preez (Sale Sharks): Absolutely brilliant all afternoon and created some real problems for Saracens as he defined the phrase ‘streetwise’. Despite Quins’ loss to Bristol, a shout out to Luke Northmore, who has put his injury woes aside and looks to be challenging for England honours.

12 James Williams (Bristol Bears): Absolutely massive for Bristol as he played half the match at 10 and orchestrated things well. Cameron Redpath also looked assured for Bath as he contributed to two of the home side’s tries.

11 Will Muir (Bath Rugby): The winger’s fine form continues as he grabbed a brace to celebrate Bath’s home semi-final tie. I hope Steve Borthwick takes a look at this lad soon – he’s direct, powerful and quick. Leicester’s Ollie Hassell-Collins also impressed me as he opened the scoring to see off Exeter’s title hopes.

Winners and losers from the final round of the Premiership

10 George Ford (Sale Sharks): A very close call with Finn Russell starring for Bath, but for me Fordy was once again a key man for the Sharks, showing immaculate game control and demonstrating just how far he’s come as a game controlling 10. Outstanding.

9 Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby): Absolutely brilliant once again and he nabbed an interception to go fully 90 metres in an impressive display of skill and leadership. I was also pleased to see Jack van Poortvliet returning to form after his long injury lay-off.

Standout forwards

8 Alfie Barbeary (Bath Rugby): Absolutely huge as he dominated the gain line with some thundering carries and delivered a fine display both sides of the ball. Big Jean-Luc du Preez is always physical and he was very much part of the pack that managed to bully Saracens.

7 Sam Dugdale (Sale Sharks): A brilliant display from an openside who is very much on the upward form slope. He was up against a Test quality Sarries back-row and didn’t give an inch. A word too for Bristol’s Fitz Harding, a man who has quietly galvanised the Bears side with some relentless performances at seven.

6 Steve Luatua (Bristol Bears): Absolutely world-class in every aspect, the old warhorse was everywhere against Quins and gave them a lot of issues around the breakdown. Leicester’s Hanro Liebenberg becomes English-qualified next season and his all-round game on the blindside might just be what Borthwick is looking for. Finally, on the subject of England hopefuls, Chandler Cunningham-South was one of Quins standouts despite the heavy defeat as he crossed twice.

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5 Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby): I have got a lot of time for Charlie, a man with a huge workrate and wonderful leadership skills. He’s been back to his best this season. Joe Batley, a man I coached at Worcester, was also highly impressive for Bristol.

4 James Dun (Bristol Bears): An absolutely brilliant outing for big James Dun as he was everywhere in carry and collision. Outstanding. Freddie Clarke (Gloucester) and Cobus Wiese (Sale Sharks) were both in fine fettle and are my runners up.

3 James Harper (Sale Sharks): This lad is a real Test prospect and his scrummaging has troubled many that he’s faced this season. He gave Mako Vunipola a torrid time at the StoneX in his last home appearance. A word too for Max Lahiff, a man that simply cannot stop scoring off the bench as he crossed once again for Bears v Quins.

2 Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby): The most dependable hooker out there with an awesome set-piece. Maul work is a feature of his game and he crossed the line once again to secure a home tie. Harry Thacker is another that wouldn’t disgrace a Test side and he finished an outstanding season off with another score for Bristol at the Stoop.

1 Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks): His Lionel Messi impression certainly irked Owen Farrell in the comedy moment of the weekend, but Rodd’s scrummaging is coming on leaps and bounds. With ball in hand he’s something else for a prop and is fast becoming the complete package. You’ve got to feel for Ellis Genge though – a brilliant try but then a serious ankle injury that saw him leave the pitch for Bristol.

READ MORE: Premiership semi-finals and kick-off times confirmed