Team of the Week - Aviva Premiership
April 4, 2011
Freddie Burns' well-taken try secured his place in our Team of the Week © Getty Images
Chris Ashton Brad Barritt Chris Bell Schalk Brits Freddie Burns Danny Care Nick Easter Hendre Fourie Charlie Hodgson Courtney Lawes Brian Mujati Craig Newby Hayden Smith Matt Stevens David Strettle
The latest round of Aviva Premiership action saw Leicester and Saracens continue their charge at the top of the table, but how many of their stars managed to stake a claim for our Team of the Week?
15. Freddie Burns (Gloucester)
An early injury to Nicky Robinson meant that 20-year-old Burns inherited the kicking duties against Newcastle and while he struggled early on his confidence grew as the game progressed. He landed two penalties and a conversion to go with a well taken try, where he cut back against the grain to score under the posts.
14. Chris Ashton (Northampton)
The England winger made it two tries from two matches since the end of the Six Nations with one of his side's eight tries against Sale, rounding off a score in the corner with his trademark swallow dive.
13. Chris Bell (Sale Sharks)
Sale were overrun in the second-half by Northampton but Bell stood firm, rolling out two brilliant tackles in a strong overall defensive display. Pulled off a despairing try-saver on Ben Foden only for Phil Dowson to mop up and score.
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Barritt showed excellent command of space to put David Strettle over for his try and also ran plenty of handy support lines, with one looking for all the world like creating a try before a suspiciously early tackle from Shontayne Hape.
11. David Strettle (Saracens)
Strettle was a constant threat in his side's win over Bath and scored the only try of the game thanks to brilliant timing and acceleration, arriving onto a pass from Barritt to crash over.
10. Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks)
It may have been in a losing effort, but Hodgson was one of the best players on the pitch at Franklin's Gardens. His goal-kicking was typically strong while his playmaking skills will have excited new club Saracens no end.
9. Danny Care (Harlequins)
With England's under-pressure scrum-half, Ben Youngs, opposite him, this was a lively reminder of Care's strengths. He orchestrated things well, gave Nick Evans space and sniped well to bag Quins' try.
1. Matt Stevens (Saracens)
Up against his former club, the Saracens prop was part of a dominant scrummaging performance and also opened the gap for Strettle's try with a delicate offload out of the back of his hand.
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
The former Springbok continues to astonish with his work-rate and was matched only by Strettle in terms of metres run with the ball against Bath. Add in an exemplary showing at the lineout and you've got some performance.
3. Brian Mujati (Northampton)
The Saints hooker continued his recent try-scoring form against Sale and also helped his side dominate up-front, where they were rewarded with two penalty tries.
4. Courtney Lawes (Northampton)
The Saints worked up a serious head of steam with their maul and at the centre was Lawes, whose physicality is finally returning to the levels that made him an England regular last season.
5. Hayden Smith (Saracens)
Saracens' lineout was metronomic against Bath while he was on the field, but Smith was also a menace in the loose with several telling carries and aggressive work in the tight.
6. Craig Newby (Leicester)
The Tigers won ugly at the Stoop and thanks in part to their skipper's fired-up start to the second-half. His surge set up Alesana Tuilagi for a try in the corner and he set the tone for a marked improvement by his side.
7. Hendre Fourie (Leeds Carnegie)
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Leeds have been heavily reliant on their bulldozing flanker this season and he did not disappoint in their win over Exeter, bagging one of their two tries as they kept alive their faint hopes of Premiership survival.
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins)
The England No.8 reacted to the challenge of Thomas Waldrom, who watched from the stands, with a Man of the Match display. One of two eye-catching breaks led to a disallowed try in the corner and it was unfortunate that his poor pass late on ended proceedings.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Following the passing of Jack Kyle, Huw Richards pays tribute to arguably the finest player Ireland has produced
"When Mike Burton was sent off I thought the world had gone crazy - just Pommy bashing, hitting anyone." Behind the Rose heads back to 1975
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance