Team of the Week: Gallagher Premiership final, Six Nations, international Test standouts combine
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 26/10/20 5:58pm
We pick the standout players from the Gallagher Premiership final, the latest international Tests and a Six Nations clash...
15. Blair Kinghorn (Scotland)
On Friday, Scotland were back in international action as they beat Georgia 48-7 at Murrayfield, and full-back Kinghorn was the key man in attack.
The 23-year-old was electric in the backfield as he carved out 147 metres with ball in hand - more than any other player - from 17 carries, beat four defenders, made two clean breaks and notched a fantastic individual try, skilfully chipping ahead twice before scoring.
14. Teddy Thomas (France)
He may have been missing from Racing 92's squad of 23 for their Champions Cup final encounter with Exeter a fortnight ago, but Thomas started for France as they beat Wales 38-21 on Saturday and showed his qualities.
The classy wing made 42 metres at Stade de France from seven carries, scored a magnificent try after chipping ahead, and in defence made one turnover and four tackles.
13. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Saturday proved an historic occasion for the Exeter Chiefs as they completed a European and domestic double courtesy of a 19-13 win over Wasps at Twickenham.
Centre Slade proved the man of the match in terrible conditions, as he made 48 metres going forward - the most of any player in the final - beat three defenders and earned one clean break.
He also crucially scored Exeter's only try, showing superb intelligence, pace and strength to break down the right wing and finish.
12. Gael Fickou (France)
Though much of the fanfare around France's midfield pre-their Test with Wales would have centred on Virimi Vakatawa, he was largely outshone by centre partner Fickou.
The Stade Francais man was a constant threat going forward, beating three defenders, showing some wonderful passing and making 23 metres off six carries. Defensively, he also contributed five tackles and a turnover.
Fickou's quick-tap penalty was also crucial ahead of Cyril Baille's France try.
11. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
Test debuts don't come much better for a wing than Keenan's showing against Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday for Ireland.
Within a 50-17 win, Keenan scored two tries, finishing brilliantly past Italian defenders on each occasion, and was only denied a hat-trick by an exceptionally harsh TMO call.
The 24-year-old made 11 carries in Dublin - only Ireland No 8 CJ Stander made more - 113 metres with ball in hand - beat four defenders and contributed seven tackles.
10. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Our choice for fly-half this week came down to two men who shared a pitch on Saturday: Exeter's Joe Simmonds and Wasps' Jacob Umaga.
Though he missed out on England squad selection on Monday, in the end, Chiefs skipper Simmonds just edged it after yet another display of controlled excellence.
In torrential rain at Twickenham, the 23-year-old was again flawless off the tee, kicking five from five as Exeter edged Wasps. Simmonds, incredibly, has not missed off the tee since August.
A note too for Umaga, who scored a magnificent try and showed glimpses of real quality.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
One of the best players in the world at present, no question. Dupont was sensational as France cruised past Wales in Paris.
The silky scrum-half was everywhere as he made 10 carries - only France No 8 Gregory Alldritt made more - 72 metres going forward, the most of anyone for France - scored two super tries and played a key role in two more scores.
Ahead of Baille's try, Dupont made a superb supporting run to get close, while he made a scintillating second half break for Charles Ollivon's try.
1. Tom West (Wasps)
The first forward in our XV goes to a man who was on the losing side this weekend, in Wasps loosehead West.
Lee Blackett's front-row was under considerable pressure last week, however, with starting props Simon McIntyre and Kieran Brookes ruled out due to positive Covid-19 test results and close contact protocols. As such, West came in to start against a fearsome Exeter Chiefs front-row and let nobody down.
West made nine tackles in a highly impressive effort, and was part of a Wasps scrum which was 100 per cent on its own put in, even earning one penalty, one free kick, and winning a free kick against the head too.
2. Fraser Brown (Scotland)
Undoubtedly the star man for Scotland on Friday was hooker Brown, who was outstanding as captain.
The forward made a monumental 20 carries, earned 30 metres going forward, scored two tries at the back of rampaging mauls and was part of a front-row which forced two scrum penalties.
He also landed 11 of his 12 lineout throws in a really good performance.
3. Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)
Tighthead prop proved a tough position to fill this week, and as such, we've gone with Nyakane from Super Rugby unlocked in South Africa.
The Springbok prop came off the bench after 30 minutes and turned the scrum the Bulls' way as they went on to beat the Sharks 41-14, winning four scrum penalties with his side having given up three penalties prior to his arrival.
4. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
The second Ireland man within our team this week, Beirne stepped up for Andy Farrell with Iain Henderson missing through suspension and was superb.
The Munster lock made 15 tackles against Italy - only back-row Will Connors made more - earned one turnover, made eight carries, claimed two lineout balls and stole another one.
5. Ben Toolis (Scotland)
Our second lock spot this week goes to Scotland's Toolis, who take his chance for Scotland very well in an all-action display.
The Edinburgh man made nine carries at Murrayfield, 41 metres in attack, one clean break, one turnover, five tackles, beat two defenders, claimed five lineouts and stole one too.
6. Jannes Kirsten (Exeter)
Our first back-row slot goes to Exeter's big South African Kirsten, who was the pick of the forwards from either side in the Premiership final.
The 26-year-old used his enormous physicality to superb effect, making 10 tackles at Twickenham without missing any - the most of any Chief - as well as seven carries for 19 metres - statistics which place him in the top five for tackles, carries and metres made from the game.
Kirsten also beat two defenders in the win, as Rob Baxter once again rotated his back-row effectively.
7. Will Connors (Ireland)
With the exception perhaps of Dupont, Connor was up there as the most impressive performer anywhere over the weekend.
The Ireland flanker - who like teammate Keenan was on his Test debut - was magnificent against Italy, making some 19 tackles - the most of any player and several of which were dominant - 10 carries, two turnovers, one clean break, beat one defender and scored a try.
8. Gregory Alldritt (France)
At No 8 this week, we've gone for France's Alldritt, who - an early knock on aside - was brilliant on both sides of the ball against Wales.
The 23-year-old made 17 carries - more than anybody - nine tackles, 27 metres with ball in hand and claimed two lineouts.