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Investec Champions Cup Team of the Week: French and English sides dominate selection

The Champions Cup again delivered on all fronts this weekend, with some incredible rugby played across the weekend.

The Champions Cup again delivered on all fronts this weekend, with some incredible rugby played across the weekend.

The action started Friday night as Northampton Saints tore Bayonne apart in a staggering 61-14 win. This match set the bar high for the rest of the weekend, but Saturday’s matches lived up to expectations.

The pick of the matches saw Harlequins put Cardiff to the sword as they recorded a 54-15 win at the Arms Park. Leinster again showcased their champion credentials as they beat Stade Francais 43-7, but there were also wins for Exeter, Toulouse, Lyon, the Bulls, the Stormers and Munster.

Three huge Anglo-French ties wrapped up our weekend feast, and these games didn’t disappoint. Bath left it late to beat Racing 92, Bordeaux humiliated Saracens, and La Rochelle got their title defence back on track against Leicester Tigers.

But with all this rugby, which players stood out? Here is our team of the week.

Investec Champions Cup team of the week:

Props: Beno Obano and Thomas du Toit

It’s an all Bath affair in our 1 and 3 shirts this week. Obano and du Toit tore the Racing 92 scrum apart on Sunday, and this scrum dominance helped Bath claw their way back into the game.

Hooker: Curtis Langdon

The Northampton hooker again showcased why he is the England conversation again on Friday night. He had a fantastic game across the park and even managed to get himself on the score sheet. He may have been ‘robbed’ of Man of the Match, but he makes our team of the week

Second-row: Rusi Tuima and Will Skelton

Two towering locks make our team this week, as Tuima and Meafou take our 4 and 5 jerseys. Tuima has come on leaps and bounds since his move into the second row, and Saturday was another showcase of this. His skills developed in the back row have now all become highlights, and this was especially prevalent against Glasgow.

Alongside him, we have another towering lock in the form of Will Skelton. The former Saracen imposed himself on the Leicester Tigers pack, and when he is full flight it’s hard to stop him. He also scored a thoroughly deserved try, which rounded off a great performance from him.

Flankers: Tom Pearson, Will Evans

A tough decision on the flanks, but Pearson and Evans make our side. Saints flanker Pearson has settled into life in the East Midlands quickly, becoming an integral part of their back-row this season; and he showed this again on Friday night with a top class performance. Will Evans is a player that often goes under the radar for Harlequins, but this season he has made a name for himself as one of the top flankers in the Premiership, and his display against Cardiff again showed his class.

Number eight: Gregory Alldritt

La Rochelle eight Gregory Alldritt completes our forward pack. He was again the heartbeat of the powerful La Rochelle forward pack, and he didn’t show any signs of rust despite this being his Champions Cup comeback game. La Rochelle fans alike will be licking their lips at the prospect of him returning from an extended World Cup break, and his showing against Leicester showed he is already back to his best.

Scrum-half: Maxime Lucu

It is often another French scrum-half that draws the headlines, but Bordeaux captain Lucu showed he is defiantly the man to take the mantel for France in Dupont’s absence. Lucu was one of a number of outstanding players for Bordeaux at the weekend, and he really showcased his ability ahead of the Six Nations.

Fly-half: Matthieu Jalibert

Bordeaux stand-off Jalibert was without a doubt the best player of the weekend. He was at the forefront of everything Bordeaux did well in their walloping of Saracens, providing crucial assists, creating opportunities and even scoring himself. He is again often overlooked by a Toulouse half-back, but he is the man in the jersey at the moment, and his performance on Sunday should strike fear into opposition players.

Centres: Ulupano Seuteni and Gary Ringrose

Two outside centres come into our midfield this week. La Rochelle centre Seuteni played a huge role across the park for Ronan O’Gara’s side this weekend, and he chipped in with two crucial tries. He was also a constant thorn in Leicester’s side with ball in hand, and was a big part of why La Rochelle got their campaign back on track.

Alongside him we have Gary Ringrose. The Leinster centre was at his best in their thumping win over Stade Francais, and helped contribute to a fine win.

Wingers: Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Damien Penaud

The Bordeaux fliers both make our side this week. Breakout start Louis Bielle-Biarrey was simply fantastic on the left wing for his side. He started the rout with a fine try early on, and it was only fitting he brought it to a close with a late try.

His wing partner Damien Penaud is arguably the best player in the world right now, and he again showed his class on Sunday. He grabbed himself a brace, but also provided an assist too, which propelled him into our team

Full-back: George Furbank

The Saints full-back was a class act on Friday night. His form of late has been brilliant, and it’s come at the perfect time with the England squad selection looming. He was a key man for the Saints in their massive win, and he completes our team of the week.

Rugby Nause News Investec Champions Cup team of the week in full:

1. Beno Obano, 2. Curtis Langdon, 3. Thomas du Toit, 4. Rusi Tuima, 5. Will Skelton, 6. Tom Pearson, 7. Will Evans, 8. Gregory Alldritt, 9 Maxime Lucu, 10. Matthieu Jalibert 11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey, 12. Gary Ringrose, 13 Ulupano Seuteni, 14 Damien Penaud, 15. George Furbank