Team of the week: Heineken Champions Cup - Round 1
Last Updated: 15/10/18 12:22pm
With European rugby taking centre stage this weekend, our latest team of the week combines the standout performers from its top-tier competition.
On Friday evening, Leinster started the defence of their title with a ruthless dismantling of Premiership side Wasps and it will come as no surprise that many of Leo Cullen's men feature in our team.
Find out which players combine to form the latest team of the week below and vote for the individual that you think stood out the most.
15. Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues)
The man who showed nerves of steel to kick the Challenge Cup-winning penalty for the Blues in Bilbao shone from full-back on Sunday afternoon.
The Welsh region came back from an early 10-0 deficit, and from 16-14 down at the break, to secure victory in Lyon.
Gareth Anscombe's classy 62nd-minute try was, most certainly, a highlight. From inside his own half, the full-back cut Lyon's defensive line to shreds and had the pace to boot.
The 27-year-old coupled his work going forward with solid endeavour at the back and didn't miss from the tee.
14. Maxime Medard (Toulouse)
James Lowe has our 11 jersey firmly sewn up and we have to praise the quick-thinking of Toulouse's winger.
He saw an opportunity and went for it, thus saving the match for his side. Medard's moment showed that players shouldn't ever switch off or ever give up.
Without question, it will be something that he will be remembered for, for a long time.
13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)
Here starts an all-Leinster midfield after Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw combined together superbly on Friday night.
The duo's partnership was most clearly marked on the scoreboard by their 74th-minute try down the wing. Together they are a sparkling duo and one that most sides in the competition would love to call their own.
On an individual note, Ringrose is a high-class player who just seems to have so much time on the ball to decide exactly what he wants to do with it. He's just one of Leinster's many jewels and a key cog in their excellent wheel.
12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)
Powerful, imposing and the other half of the potent partnership just mentioned. Henshaw's go forwards, and ability to punch holes, is combined with pace.
Leinster's inside-centre finished his evening at the office with 18 carries to his name, a tally only bettered by Ringrose's 21, and he made a cool 85 metres.
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
At the RDS, the Kiwi winger helped the defending champions commence their new European campaign in electric fashion.
Two tries, eight defenders beaten and a staggering 184 metres made are the statistical fruits of his labour.
His footwork, raw speed and ability to finish a score gave Wasps countless headaches and we're pretty sure that they won't be the only ones on the receiving end of the Leinster, and Lowe, treatment.
10. Joel Hodgson (Newcastle Falcons)
Joel Hodgson's four penalties and a conversion helped Newcastle to a memorable away victory, only Saracens have beaten Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol before in the European competition.
Yes, the fly-half did spend 10 minutes in the bin for a deliberate knock-on but his contributions away from that eclipsed the blot on his copybook.
Hodgson made the break that led to Sinoti Sinoti hurtling towards the line. It would turn into a penalty try after the high shot on Sinoti and overall the 26-year-old showed great composure throughout.
9. Duncan Williams (Munster)
The performance of Luke McGrath was noteworthy on Friday, he kept the tempo for Lowe and co plus Tomos Williams was sparky for the Blues in France. However, Munster's scrum-half is handed our 9 jersey.
Plenty doubted the back ahead of the match and he pushed their opinions to one side with a committed performance that included a large momentum-shifting moment.
On the stroke of the final quarter, Williams' track back to halt Phil Dollman was inspired. At 10-3 down another try could have been fatal in terms of the result for Munster but instead, the scrum-half stopped the full-back and helped force a vital turnover.
In short, he handled the pressure on his shoulders extremely well.
1. Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)
Moon bolstered his chances of international honours in the autumn with a solid display in the Chiefs' bruising 10-all draw with Munster at Sandy Park.
Recently drafted into the England training squad following the international retirement of Quins' Joe Marler, the 29-year-old stood firm in the set piece and made 12 tackles during the Chiefs' attempts to stem the Munster tide
His performance will not have been lost on England boss Eddie Jones who also saw Saracens' Mako Vunipola limp out of their victory over Glasgow.
2. Sean Cronin (Leinster)
The Leinster hooker wasted no time in setting the tone for his side's demolition of Wasps with an early try at the RDS.
After picking the ball up at the back of a ruck on the Wasps' 22, he produced a scintillating burst of speed to exploit some space in the Wasps defence and evaded four would-be tacklers on his way to the line.
Any other side brave enough to afford him time and space in the future have been warned.
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)
A prop on the charge is always a great sight to behold and Tadhg Furlong took that to a new level during Leinster's Champions Cup opener.
In the second half, the home side broke out of their own 22 with a classic wraparound move before Johnny Sexton found Furlong.
The 25-year-old flew up-field, added a step for good measure, and delivered a one-handed offload to Lowe.
The break would finish with a try and confirmed Furlong's place as an honorary back for the rest of his career!
He didn't forget about his work in the closer quarters or at the set-piece either, as he delivered 12 carries and contributed to a 100 per cent scrum success rate for the Irish province.
4. James Ryan (Leinster)
James Ryan is swapping a five for a four on his back and you'll see why when you read the name of his second-row partner in this team of the week.
The 22-year-old made lineout steals, line breaks and plenty of tackles during Leinster's thrashing of Wasps.
His skill levels, like every member of their squad, make you sit up and take note and for opponents it's frightening to think how early into his professional rugby career he is.
5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)
The forward marked his first Heineken Champions Cup match in the red of Munster with a man-of-the-match award.
The lock is no stranger to the European stage, after excelling there for Scarlets, and put in an all-around performance as the Irish province grabbed two key points away from home in Pool 2.
Beirne was the go-to man at the lineout taking four, he stole two of Exeter's too, and delivered his usual high standards when it came to his work-rate and breakdown work.
We all knew that he would be an excellent acquisition by Munster and Gloucester will be very aware of his presence when it comes to their Round 2 meeting at Thomond Park.
6. Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues)
Robinson was another key component in Cardiff Blues' impressive away day in Lyon.
The all-action blindside cross for a crucial first-half try for the Blues, starting and finishing a sweeping team move with one of seven breaks that continually tested Lyon's resistance.
He also weighed in with 15 momentum-sapping tackles to help shackle the Lyon defence and lay the foundation for a famous victory.
7. Francois Louw (Bath)
The match at the Recreation Ground will be remembered by 'that' late moment however away from there, the performance of the home side's flanker must be hailed.
Francois Louw has racked up the air-miles of late, however, it didn't look to have impacted on his energy levels against Toulouse. Instead, the 33-year-old showed his international calibre.
He was a menace at the breakdown and his unrelenting work saw him finish the afternoon as Bath's joint top tackler with Zach Mercer. In short, Louw led the way for others to follow.
8. Matt Kvesic (Exeter)
Sometimes it's not all about the flashy stuff and instead it's about showing pure determination and a relentless charge for your side in tough conditions.
At Sandy Park, from the first moment until the last, their No 8 never ceased and he put absolutely everything into the match.
The result was that the 26-year-old made 25 tackles and missed none. He also delivered 16 carries for his side, joint top with Dave Ewers.