Team of the week: Connacht shine bright
Last Updated: 30/11/15 1:31pm
Following their first win over Munster at Thomond Park in almost 30 years, Connacht dominate our team of the week.
Elsewhere there were wins for Saracens and Wasps at the Twickenham Double Header, and a four-try thrashing of last year's Top 14 finalists Clermont courtesy of Toulon.
English props and a French scrum-half also feature this week...
15. Robbie Henshaw (Connacht)
It was an historic first victory at Thomond Park since 1986 for Connacht and it came courtesy of a Bundee Aki try with three minutes remaining. It was Henshaw's offload that released Aki for the score and an 18-12 win over Irish rivals Munster, but the pop pass was just the finishing touch on a classy 80 minutes from the full-back.
14. Chris Ashton (Saracens)
It's been a while since the 'Ash Splash' was seen in double glory at Twickenham, but Ashton managed to cross the line twice for his side as they ran out 48-18 winners over Worcester on Saturday. Ashton's first try came from an intelligent kick from Ben Spencer, while the second was the result of a good switch off Charlie Hodgson. Both tries were set up well before being clinically finished by the winger.
13. Bundee Aki (Connacht)
Aki made 34 metres in the midfield with 12 carries and scored a try to win the game - and what a try it was. Perhaps he was inspired by the Green Lantern jerseys that Connacht were wearing; his diving, one-handed finish in the left corner was the stuff of superheroes.
12. Maxime Mermoz (Toulon)
Toulon had to make a statement after their Champions Cup loss to Wasps and they certainly did that with their first ever triumph over Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin. It was a 35-9 win which seemed to have been built on attacking flair but in fact it was a stern defence that led the assault, with Mermoz topping the charts with 15 tackles in the midfield.
11. Frank Halai (Wasps)
Halai scored his side's first try of the match shortly before half-time but it was his second score with five minutes remaining that sealed the 33-15 win over London Irish, as well as the try-bonus point. Wasps have made a flying start to the season, with the unstoppable back three of Christian Wade, Charles Piutau and Halai the primary reasons for it.
10. Gareth Steenson (Exeter)
Steenson scored a second-half try as he amassed 21 points at Sandy Park in a 26-25 win over Harlequins. In poor conditions the fly-half guided his side confidently in a game that could have gone either way. A notable mention to Sam Davies who won man-of-the-match for Ospreys in a 13-6 victory over visiting Cardiff Blues, despite only featuring in the second half.
9. Eric Escande (Toulon)
Toulon scrum-half Escande scored a try in the 35th minute to go with 15 points from the boot in the away win over Clermont Auverge. His distribution was good, but it was his control of the game that allowed Toulon to dominate their Top 14 rivals and move up to third in the standings.
1. Alex Waller (Northampton)
Another impressive performance from the youngster who seems to be getting better and better with every game. He more than stood his ground against the highly experienced John Afoa and helped Saints dominate Gloucester up front, the platform on which the 15-3 win was built.
2. Schalk Brits (Saracens)
Brits is a nuisance in the loose, but his bread and butter is what he does in the set piece. Sure his dazzling feet resulted in Ashton's second try but his lineout throwing and front row work put Worcester under immense pressure. The Springbok won 15 out of 15 lineouts in tough conditions at Twickenham.
3. Dan Cole (Leicester)
The No 3 jersey is one of the less glamorous on a rugby field, but Cole stuck his hand up to grab the headlines at Welford Road on Sunday. The prop scored in the 75th minute to seal a 21-11 win over Bath as the Tigers exacted revenge on the side that humiliated them 47-10 in the semi-final last season.
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys)
Once again Jones stepped up when his side were under the cosh and led from the front. The 30-year-old went over for the only try of the game but it was his leadership that shone for Ospreys in a tense 13-6 victory.
5. Aly Muldowney (Connacht)
Performed all the basic duties asked of him as a second rower and still found time to make 20 carries and 10 tackles as well as turn the ball over three times. A purist's performance from the Connacht man.
6. John Muldoon (Connacht)
He may have got a rollicking from the referee and a questionable yellow card, but the Connacht captain was spectacular in leading his men to their first win over Munster in 29 years. His work at the breakdown and his commitment in defence was excellent.
7. James Connolly (Connacht)
The flanker was outstanding on his PRO12 debut, making 14 carries and beating three defenders while making 37 metres in the process. Connolly also made 12 tackles as his side felt the pressure of the rolling Munster machine in front of their home fans.
8. Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
We tip our hat to Ernst Joubert who played his final 80 minutes for Saracens against Worcester. Joubert has been a stalwart of the club for six years and been a big part of their success over the years, but with 24 carries, two offloads and three defenders beaten, Hughes makes it into our team.