Team of the Week - Heineken Cup
January 17, 2011
Thierry Dusautoir drives his Toulouse team forward against the Dragons © Getty Images
Anthony Allen Matt Banahan George Chuter Paul Diggin Thierry Dusautoir Moray Low Pierre Mignoni Isa Nacewa Sean O'Brien Brian O'Driscoll Dominic Ryan Johnny Sexton George Skivington Soane Tonga'uiha
In a defining weekend in the Heineken Cup, who stood up to the pressure, led their team into the latter stages and made it into our Team of the Week?
15. Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
The Fijian was a constant threat bursting into the line from fullback and providing a cutting edge to Leinster's intricate midfield play. He showed a terrific step of his left foot to score his try.
14. Matt Banahan (Bath)
The giant England winger stomped all over the flimsy Aironi defence, scoring four tries for Bath against the Italian side and causing mayhem each time he took the ball forward.
13. Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster)
O'Driscoll was typically tenacious in defence, chasing and cutting down Andy Saull on the breakaway, and as inventive as ever in attack, linking well with Jonathan Sexton and releasing a number of neat offloads.
12. Anthony Allen (Leicester)
Despite his modest stature, Allen used his strong, direct running to put Leicester on the front foot and successfully countered the physical threat of opposite number Jonathan Davies.
11. Paul Diggin (Northampton)
In the absence of Chris Ashton, the diminutive winger stepped out of the England man's shadow as he blitzed Edinburgh with four tries on Friday night - three of which came in the final ten minutes of the match.
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
The Ireland fly-half proved he is in fine fettle ahead of the Six Nations as he set the Leinster backline in motion with his slick distribution and composed decision-making.
9. Pierre Mignoni (Toulon)
Roared on by a vociferous home crowd, the Frenchman masterminded Toulon's crushing victory over Munster. His kicking from the breakdown was particularly exquisite, leading to Christian Loamanu's first try.
1. Soane Tonga'uiha (Northampton Saints)
The hulking loose-head prop again transferred his Aviva Premiership form on to the European stage as he claimed yet another Man of the Match performance against Edinburgh on Friday evening.
2. George Chuter (Leicester Tigers)
After being confirmed in England's squad for the Six Nations, the Leicester hooker showed great hands in the build up to Alesana Tuilagi's try and he weighed in with two turnovers and ten tackles.
3. Moray Low (Glasgow)
The Scotland international anchored a superb scrummaging effort from Glasgow as they accounted for Wasps at Firhill and his performance will surely not be lost on national coach Andy Robinson.
4. Calum Clark (Northampton Saints)
Clark may not have lit up Franklin's Gardens like his team-mate Diggin but his stats command attention. A significant presence in the loose he helped cut down Edinburgh's limited creativity at the source whilst making his mark in the set piece.
5. George Skivington (Leicester Tigers)
The Leicester lock continues to catch the eye and his impressive industry helped power the Tigers to an important victory. He racked up an energy-sapping nine tackles and also had a hand in Alesana Tuilagi's second half try.
6. Dominic Ryan (Leinster)
Toulon's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Leicester's Thomas Waldrom had strong claims, but the Leinster blindside grabbed two tries in the demolition of Saracens, firstly crashing over after hitting the line at a superb angle and then sniping a second thanks to intelligent support play.
7. Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse)
The Toulouse skipper drove his side to a vital victory over the Dragons with a try in either half in a powerful display at the Stade Ernest Wallon
8. Sean O'Brien (Leinster)
The rampaging No.8 set the tone against Saracens as he scored a try and racked up 120 metres with ball in hand. Set to be one of the revelations of this year's Six Nations. Toulon's Joe van Niekerk pushed him all the way following his outstanding display against Munster.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action