Team of the Week - Heineken Cup
January 24, 2011
Back with a bang: Ospreys wing Shane Williams © PA Photos
Joe Ansbro Florian Cazenave Tom Court Phil Dowson Guilhem Guirado Bertrand Guiry Richard Haughton Ryan Jones Nicolas Mas Maxime Mermoz Johnny Sexton Simon Shaw Farid Sid Pedrie Wannenburg Shane Williams
The curtain has fallen on the Heineken Cup group stages for another year, but who stood out enough in the final round of pool action to warrant a place in our Team of the Week?
15. Richard Haughton (London Wasps)
Haughton took to the field after just 22 minutes and led the Wasps' revival with some elusive running from fullback, surging past defenders with ease and scoring a pivotal try as his side came from behind to beat Toulouse.
14. Farid Sid (Perpignan)
A competitive category with Biarritz's Iain Balshaw scoring two tries against former team Bath on Saturday, but Sid was scintillating against the Scarlets, scoring a try and setting up another as he added a cutting edge to Perpignan's back play.
13. Joe Ansbro (Northampton)
Talk about timing. Ansbro laid down his claims for a place in Scotland's matchday squad against France in two weeks' time as he scored a fine try and had a slick hand in Saints' two others tries against Castres. Given the wing competition he forces his way in at outside centre.
12. Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan)
The French centre's subtle skills and instant change of pace caused the Scarlets no end of problems at the Aime Giral and he will be back in the frame for a Test jersey in the Six Nations. He made the decisive break for Florian Cazenave's crucial fourth try.
11. Shane Williams (Ospreys)
The returning winger proved his playmaking prowess is as important to Welsh rugby as his flair for finishing as he inspired the Ospreys to a comeback win over Toulon in his first appearance for 10 weeks. Just edged out Wasps' David Lemi for the honour after the Samoan's last-ditch try to beat Toulouse.
10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
Another strong performance from the Ireland fly-half as Leinster overcame Racing Metro in France. Sexton bagged two tries, four conversions and a penalty in his 21-point haul.
9. Florian Cazenave (Perpignan)
The 21-year-old scrum-half made the most of the front-foot ball afforded to him with as he exposed all number of gaps in the Scarlets' defence with a sharp eye and swift footwork. Rounded off his side's bonus-point try.
1. Tom Court (Ulster)
Tougher tests loom with a quarter-final against Northampton on the horizon but the Ulster loose-head helped to create a rock-solid scrum platform for the Irish side's back-row to reap the rewards against Aironi.
2. Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan)
The hooker, who is part of France's Six Nations squad, epitomised Perpignan's effective mix of power up-front and precision out wide as he floated a wonderful miss-pass out for Henry Tuilagi's try as well as some aggressive play in the tight.
3. Nicolas Mas (Perpignan)
The French tight-head was once again the cornerstone of a fearsome forward effort that allowed Cazenave and his backs an easy ride. Mas looks in good nick and will cause some damage in the Six Nations.
4. Simon Shaw (London Wasps)
The old warrior continues to roar as he led Wasps' resurgence with tireless energy. He is all set to profit from the loss of Courtney Lawes in the England set up.
5. Ryan Jones (Ospreys)
The Ospreys forward helped turn the game in the Welsh side's favour against Toulon as his influence swelled once he moved into the engine room, ending with the Man of the Match award.
6. Phil Dowson (Northampton)
The Saints No.6 enhanced his claims for a call-up to the injury-stricken England squad with another well-judged display against Castres. His effort included a try that owed much to his intelligent support play.
7. Bertrand Guiry (Perpignan)
The 22-year-old openside pilfered three turnovers and made 14 tackles in a tenacious display during Perpignan's defeat of the Scarlets and looks to be the real deal.
8. Pedrie Wannenburg (Ulster)
The opposition may not have been the best, but the South African stood head and shoulders above the rest in Viadana with two tries and two assists as Ulster confirmed their passage into the last eight.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales