Team of the Week - Heineken Cup
April 11, 2011
Isa Nacewa bagged a vital try for Leinster against Leicester © Getty Images
Chris Ashton Jean Bouilhou Vincent Clerc Leo Cullen Lee Dickson Cian Healy Courtney Lawes Brian Mujati Isa Nacewa Brian O'Driscoll Clement Poitrenaud Jonathan Sexton George Smith Richardt Strauss Joe van Niekerk
Perpignan, Leinster, Northampton and Toulouse booked their places in the Heineken Cup semi-finals over the weekend, but who did enough to secure a place in our Team of the Week?
15. Isa Nacewa (Leinster)
The Leinster fullback capped a strong performance against Leicester with a mesmerising try. He took a return pass from Shane Horgan and weaved his way past several defenders before stretching for the touchdown.
14. Chris Ashton (Northampton)
The England winger did not get on the scoresheet at stadium:mk but provided a crucial link in Lee Dickson's breakaway try, again highlighting his worth as a support runner in attack. His opposite number, Andrew Trimble, deserves mention for some strong running and a well-taken try, but it was his early knock-on that cost his side a try to Soane Tonga'uiha.
13. Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster)
Leinster's talismanic centre was again tasked with shackling a much-hyped England centre in Manu Tuilagi and while he took a few knocks, his desire and determination to get back on his feet and finish the job was inspirational.
12. Clement Poitrenaud (Toulouse)
A surprise selection by Guy Noves, Poitrenaud stood firm in defence, made yards with ball in hand and also did a good impersonation of Yannick Jauzion under the high ball as Toulouse edged out Biarritz.
11. Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)
The diminutive winger provided a rare attacking spark in Toulouse's win over Biarritz, with his dancing feet setting up Cedric Heymans for a superb try early on.
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
While opposite number Toby Flood again endured another shaky day in Dublin, the Irish fly-half was on top of his game. In attack he caused the Tigers problems, taking the ball flat, drifting wide and firing inside passes to his onrushing back-row, and found the corners with accuracy when required.
9. Lee Dickson (Northampton)
The Northampton scrum-half rounded off his side's vital second try against Ulster, but also proved his worth by cajoling a massive effort from his pack. A classic example of a lippy scrum-half doing the business.
1. Cian Healy (Leinster)
The Ireland international dealt comfortably with Dan Cole, and his replacement Martin Castrogiovanni, in the scrum and outshone both in the loose as a primary ball-carrier for Leinster.
2. Richardt Strauss (Leinster)
The South African hooker led a massive effort from the Leinster front-row with a Man of the Match performance. He played his part in a faultless Leinster lineout, but made the biggest impact as a tenacious carrier and constant tackler.
3. Brian Mujati (Northampton)
The tight-head prop anchored Northampton's scrum convincingly and was a major force around the pitch as a central component in the Saints' ferocious second-half defence. He was always available as a powerful ball carrying option.
4. Leo Cullen (Leinster)
Leinster's captain was the mastermind behind cracking Leicester's lineout code in Dublin as they put huge pressure on Tom Croft and his colleagues at the front of line. It paid off handsomely, stifling the Tigers' flow of good possession.
5. Courtney Lawes (Northampton)
The England lock was outstanding for the Saints as he hunted down Ulster attackers time and again with thundering tackles, 13 in total, as well as making turnovers and stealing lineout ball in an awesome all-round display.
6. Jean Bouilhou (Toulouse)
One of the finest lineout operators around, Bouilhou had a big hand in ensuring that Biarritz struggled at the set-piece, taking the sting out of their scrum dominance somewhat. Also provided his usual graft at the breakdown and several timely tackles.
7. George Smith (Toulon)
The former Australia flanker did his best to drag Toulon into the semis as he scored a terrific charge-down try just before half time and proved his pilfering skills are still as sharp as ever, securing a couple of important turnovers in Barcelona.
8. Joe van Niekerk (Toulon)
The South African No.8 was Toulon's biggest attacking threat against Perpignan and duly rounded off Dean Schofield's strong charge with a typically astute support run to score their second try.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14