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Champions Cup: Five standout players as Exeter, Harlequins and Northampton all make quarter-finals

The Champions Cup returned with a bang this weekend, and now just three Premiership clubs remain in the hunt for Europe’s top prize.

The weekend started off on a high for Premiership clubs, as Harlequins downed Glasgow Warriors 28-24 at the Stoop. Quins led 21-7 at the break, but an inspired Warriors resurgence saw them jump into a 24-21 lead, however a late try from Sam Riley stole the win back for the Premiership outfit and booked their place in the quarter-finals.

Next up saw the only all Premiership tie down at Sandy Park, as Exeter took on Bath. The visitors had to defend for much of the first half, however tries from Thomas du Toit and Ted Hill gave them a 12-7 lead at the break.

A Ben Spencer penalty seemed to be the final nail in the coffin, but Exeter came back strong and efforts from Greg Fisilau and Ethan Roots ensured Chiefs kept their fantastic home record in tact.

It wasn’t such good news for the other Premiership sides on Saturday, as Leicester and Saracens both fell to defeats to Leinster and Bordeaux respectively. The Tigers put in a spirited performance at the Aviva Stadium

The same can’t be said for Saracens though, as they were torn apart again by Bordeaux as they were in the pool stage.

Sunday afternoon rounded off Premiership interest in the round-of-16, as Northampton faced Munster for the second time in this seasons competition.

Tries from James Ramm and Tommy Freeman meant the game was tied at half-time, but a late brace from replacement George Hendy ensured the Saints marched onto the quarter-finals.

But which players rose to the top and delivered on the top table of club rugby? With that thought in mind, here are our five standout players from the weekend:

Five standout players from this weekend’s Champions Cup action

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby European Rugby Champions Cup 06/04/2024. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso of Exeter Chiefs with his man of the match award after the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and Bath Rugby at Sandy Park, Exeter, United Kingdom on 6 April 2024. Exeter Sandy Park Devon United Kingdom Editorial use only , Copyright: xSimonxKingx PSI-19384-0108

Another stellar display from the Man of the Moment! Feyi-Waboso channelled his inner Jack Nowell this weekend, putting in some powerful carries around the ruck and also creating chances from nothing. He also made the most meters out of anyone on the pitch with 106, and he beat 12 defenders in the process.

Marcus Smith

Investec Champions Cup Round of 16, Twickenham Stoop, London, England 5/4/2024 Harlequins vs Glasgow Warriors Harlequins Marcus Smith scores his teams second try despite Matt Fagerson of Glasgow Warriors Marcus Smith scores his teams second try despite Matt Fagerson 5/4/2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRLxFRAxNZL Copyright: x INPHO/BenxBradyx BB1_0250

Quins talisman Marcus Smith was really on his A-game against Glasgow. He grabbed 13 of Quins’ 28 points in the game, and was influential in their late comeback. He faces stern competition for the England number 10 jersey, but if he continues playing this way Steve Borthwick faces no other option but to start him.

Ethan Roots

Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby European Rugby Champions Cup 06/04/2024. Ethan Roots of Exeter Chiefs during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and Bath Rugby at Sandy Park, Exeter, United Kingdom on 6 April 2024. Exeter Sandy Park Devon United Kingdom Editorial use only , Copyright: xSimonxKingx PSI-19384-0249

The true definition of workhorse. Roots is incredibly impressive in the tight, and made a whopping 27 carries against Bath, making 50 meters for his troubles too. He was also very effective in the breakdown, which took the sting out of Bath’s attack. His try also sealed the win for Exeter.

Sam Underhill

Investec Champions Cup Round of 16, Sandy Park, Exeter, England 6/4/2024 Exeter Chiefs vs Bath Rugby Sam Underhill of Bath Rugby before the game Sam Underhill before the game 6/4/2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRLxFRAxNZL Copyright: x INPHO/AndyxWattsx JMP_Chiefs_vs_Bath_AW0065

Bath might have come out on the wrong side of the result, but England international Sam Underhill can feel very proud of his performance. His skills on the defensive side of the ball are often his main point of difference, and he showed this again at Sandy Park as he made a staggering 21 tackles against Exeter, and he also won 3 turnovers.

James Ramm

James Ramm of Northampton Saints Northampton Saints v Munster, Investec Champions Cup, Round of 16, Rugby, cinch Stadium at Franklin s Gardens, Northampton, UK – 07 Apr 2024 PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxGRExMLTxCYPxROUxBULxUAExKSAxONLY Copyright: xAlanxWalter/Shutterstockx 14421022j

The headlines might be dominated by George Hendy’s brace, but James Ramm was probably the best player on the pitch. The fullback opened Northampton’s account, but he was their main attacking threat all afternoon. He made a whopping 128 meters from 16 carries, and beat 8 defenders in the process. He was also solid in defence, making 6 tackles.