Premiership Team of the Week: Topsy Ojo picks six Saints and Marcus Smith ahead of George Ford at fly-half

James While
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Our Premiership Team of the Week, brought to you by eToro.

Our Premiership Team of the Week, brought to you by eToro.

With some thrilling performances delivered over the weekend, former London Irish and England wing Topsy Ojo joins Planet Rugby to pick his Premiership Team of the Week.

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, Ojo correctly predicted wins for Leicester Tigers, Harlequins and Sale Sharks but came unstuck in the other games as Saracens lost at Northampton Saints and Gloucester came off second best to Bristol Bears.

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

So, without further ado, let’s see who Ojo has picked in his selection.

Premiership Rugby Team of the Week – Round 14

15 Tyrone Green (Harlequins): When Green fires, so do Harlequins. He qualifies via residency for England in June and many believe that Steve Borthwick will have a deep dive into his skills. Max Malins also shone in Bristol’s away win at Kingsholm in his less favoured position of full-back.

14 Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks): Huge performance from a big man that’s been on England’s radar throughout the Six Nations. He grabbed a hat-trick as Sale disposed of Exeter in fine style. Louis Lynagh also caught my eye, starting the first half rout at the Stoop.

Solid midfield duo

13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Bristol Bears): Absolutely brilliant all afternoon and created some real problems for Gloucester. He’s proving to be one of the best signings around and adds so much heft to any midfield he plays in. Like Janse van Rensburg, Rob du Preez is another guy who creates so much for others and he was once again influential for Sale.

12 Burger Odendaal (Northampton Saints): The most competitive position of the weekend but I simply had to find a spot for Odendaal! I could have gone for the peerless Andre Esterhuizen, massive as always for Quins, or the powerful Solomone Kata, one of Tigers’ focal points in their win. But Odendaal’s contribution for Saints in midfield saw him create so much for the guys outside him that I simply couldn’t leave him out this weekend.

11 Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints): There’s few more direct attackers on the wing than Sleightholme. He’s big, quick and he will seek contact or space as he sees it. Newcastle’s Ben Redshaw goes under the radar of many but he was his club’s best performer despite the close loss to Leicester.

Half-back pairing

10 Marcus Smith (Harlequins): His duel with Finn Russell in the Premiership was close in Quins’ loss at the Rec just before Christmas, but this time Smith was the clear winner in an absolutely brilliant display at the Stoop. A mention for Sale’s George Ford – flawless in steering his side to a big victory with a much-needed bonus point.

9 Tom James (Northampton Saints): I questioned how much Saints would miss Alex Mitchell against Saracens in my preview but I need not have bothered as James really stepped up to the plate. Harry Randall was influential for Bristol whilst both Gus Warr and Raffi Quirke made sure the Sale nine shirt delivered an exceptional 80 minutes.

Excellent signing

8 Magnus Bradbury (Bristol Bears): Like a couple of others I’ve mentioned, Bradbury was the epitome of a wise signing by Pat Lam and he delivered a powerful display from the base. Alex Dombrandt was in try-scoring form yet again for Quins as he delivered a big 80 minutes on the front foot.

7 Ben Curry (Sale Sharks): Completely destroyed the Chiefs breakdown in a really influential display for Sale. Bristol’s underrated openside Fitz Harding also impressed, delivering a massive shift with his usual workrate for Bristol.

6 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints): Lawes is in the form of his life and is one of the finest exponents of his art in the world. Absolutely brilliant once again, as was the man who replaced him on the 60 minute mark, Lewis Ludlam, who continues his recovery back from injury at just the right time for Saints’ run-in.

Mobile lock pairing

5 Alex Coles (Northampton Saints): Coles is overlooked by many in the wider England debate yet he is superbly mobile and able to play across the back five of the pack. Another great shift from him, whilst Elliott Stooke was at the heart of Bath’s turnaround as he added real impact off the bench that almost resulted in a very unlikely win in the second half.

4 Theo McFarland (Saracens): It says something about McFarland’s ability that he makes the team despite Saracens’ heavy defeat at the Gardens. And that take off the restart will live with many for a long time! The old warhorse Joe Launchbury was as solid as ever in Quins’ fun in the sun on Saturday.

Two Quins in front-row

3 Will Collier (Harlequins): Gave Beno Obano something to think about in a powerful scrummaging display once again, although Bath’s tighthead Thomas du Toit also impressed, particularly in his carrying in close quarters.

2 Curtis Langdon (Northampton Saints): Hugely mobile, he’s another one of those shrewd signings and his tight work is getting better and better. Tigers’ world class Puma Julian Montoya crossed in his side’s win against the Falcons in yet another assured display in both the tight and loose.

1 Fin Baxter (Harlequins): The baby-faced assassin had a massive game in defence, putting in some thundering hits to augment his work at the coalface. For the second week running, Sale’s Bevan Rodd once again showed he’s well on the way back from his injury problems, as both he, Obano and Baxter illustrated England’s young depth at loosehead.

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