Hat-trick heroes Denny Solomona, James Short, Sonatane Takulua make team of the week
Last Updated: 21/02/17 10:51am
Hat-tricks from the wingers, a continental midfield and try-scoring front rowers feature in our team of the week.
It was a weekend of movement in the Premiership as Sale toppled Wasps, Newcastle beat Northampton and Gloucester saw off Saracens.
In the PRO12, Leinster thrashed Edinburgh on Friday while Muster claimed another last-gasp win on Saturday - but which players made the biggest impact?
15. Tom Marshall (Gloucester)
A 31-23 win by Gloucester consigned Saracens to a second successive defeat, something that hasn't happened to Mark McCall's men since May 2015. The victory in Kingsholm was a team effort from the home side, but there were some superb individual performances and Marshall was one of them.
The full-back carried the ball 19 times for 110 metres, beat four defenders and made two clean breaks - topping the Gloucester charts in all four categories.
The New Zealander also scored a try as Gloucester kept their top-six hopes alive with a crucial victory.
14. Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
The rugby league convert continues to impress in his cross-code switch, with his latest run-out for Sale offering a hat-trick of tries as the Sharks registered an impressive 34-28 win over Premiership leaders Wasps on Sunday.
A nod to Alex Cuthbert who had a confidence-restoring performance in Cardiff Blues' win over Treviso in the PRO12. Granted the opposition was not the strongest in the competition, but Cuthbert out-performed all of his team-mates in terms of metres made with 153, as well as defenders beaten with five, and also crossed the whitewash for a late try.
13. Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs)
Italy's Six Nations campaign does not get any easier this week as they prepare for a trip to Twickenham on Sunday to take on England, and they will need all of their players to be on form for the visit.
The good news for Conor O'Shea is that Michele Campagnaro had an eye-catching game for Exeter in their 48-32 win over Worcester over the weekend. The midfielder made 15 carries for 88 metres - beaten in each stat only by James Short who ran riot on the wing for the Chiefs.
Campagnaro also made three clean breaks, beat three defenders and scored a try against the Warriors.
12. Damian Penaud (Clermont Auvergne)
With Wesley Fofana out injured for Clermont, it has given a chance to Damian Penaud to prove himself.
The 20-year-old centre carried the ball 10 times for 102 metres in his side's win over Bayonne on Saturday, scoring a try and making four clean breaks as well as beating seven defenders.
With Gael Fickou wearing the No 12 jersey for France while Fofana sits out, France's midfield stock looks in good order at the moment.
11. James Short (Exeter Chiefs)
James Short scored a hat-trick as Exeter ran away with a 48-32 win over Worcester Warriors on Saturday, but he also carried 21 times for 152 metres and beat nine Worcester defenders in the process.
Newcastle's Sinoti Sinoti may not have scored a try, but his 12 carries for 139 metres against Saints was impressive, as was the fact that he beat 12 defenders during those carries.
10. Brock James (La Rochelle)
The 35-year-old Australian bossed proceedings as Top 14 leaders La Rochelle defeated Stade Francais to chalk up their 11th league victory of the season.
James kicked 22 points, landing eight of his nine efforts off the tee, and his quick hands put Levani Botia racing through a gap for La Rochelle's third try with eight minutes remaining.
James edges out Joey Carbery and Ruan Pienaar, who both caught in the eye in impressive wins for Leinster and Ulster respectively but did not play at fly-half for the duration.
9. Sonatane Takulua (Newcastle Falcons)
Newcastle boosted their top-six ambitions in the Premiership with a 46-31 win over Saints, and scrum-half Sonatane Takulua contributed three tries to Falcons' total of seven on the day.
Takulua also ran for 62 metres with ball in hand, which put him in the top three of his club's ball carriers on the day.
Another mention for Pienaar, who scored 17 points for Ulster in the No 9 jersey, including starting and finishing a superb team try to register the bonus point.
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Munster)
Munster pulled another win out of the bag on Saturday, beating Ospreys 25-23 thanks to a 78th-minute try from Dave Kilcoyne.
But it was not the only contribution of the loosehead, who put in eight tackles and made ten carries in Swansea and also kept the Ospreys pack on their toes in the set-piece.
2. Richard Hibbard (Gloucester)
Richard Hibbard had an indifferent day at the lineout, securing six out of his eight throws in Kingsholm, but the hooker was outstanding in the loose against Saracens.
The Wales international ran with the ball ten times and put in 15 tackles - the latter tied for the most with No 8 Ben Morgan. Most importantly, Hibbard's try four minutes from time sealed the win for Gloucester against the defending Premiership champions.
3. Mohamed Boughanmi (La Rochelle)
The only member of our front row who didn't score a try over the weekend; the tighthead gets in via more traditional means.
The La Rochelle pack conceded a penalty in their first scrum against Stade Francais, but thereafter Boughanmi was the cornerstone of a demolition job on the opposition front row, which kept fly-half James on the front foot throughout. One for the purists.
4. Billy Holland (Munster)
Billy Holland was immense for Munster at the Liberty Stadium in his 150th appearance for the province. The second rower won five lineouts from the visitors' own throw and stole one off Ospreys.
Holland also put in 21 tackles while carrying the ball up seven times. Munster may have left it late to register the win, but the hard work of the likes of Holland in the pack ensured the Munstermen were always within touching distance of the opposition.
5. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
Leone Nakarawa almost matched Holland's stats at the lineout, taking five catches including one steal, but he outperformed the Ireland international with the ball.
The Fijian carried the ball 17 times and scored two tries in Racing 92's win over Brive in the Top 14.
6. Dave O'Callaghan (Munster)
O'Callaghan produced a man-of-the-match display in Munster's win over Ospreys. The 27-year-old worked tirelessly in defence, making 20 tackles and winning a turnover, and he was Munster's go-to man in a lineout that functioned at 100 per cent, taking six of 12 throws.
O'Callaghan also pitched in with six carries in attack and was involved in Dave Kilcoyne's late winner, giving the prop a helping hand to power over the line.
7. Dan Leavy (Leinster)
The 22-year-old was called into action after just nine minutes against Edinburgh following a head injury to Dominic Ryan and made a big impact.
With Josh van der Flier also suffering a dislocated shoulder early doors, Leavy stepped up in defence with seven tackles and won four turnovers.
He also impressed with ball in hand, making 47 metres and beating two defenders from nine carries, and was rewarded with a try on 67 minutes when he burst off the back of a maul.
8. Marcell Coetzee (Ulster)
Coetzee ran the ball at Glasgow 14 times - the most of any of the Ulster forwards - and beat four defenders in the process.
The Springbok also tackled 19 opponents as well as turning the ball over twice. Another hardworking outing at Kingspan Stadium from the South African, which will go some way to easing the pain of the club losing Coetzee's compatriot Pienaar at the end of the season.