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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 3 March 2021

10 Irish-based players made our Champions Cup Team of the Week

The provinces are well represented after going unbeaten through round one.

THE HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS Cup is up and running again with Ireland’s three involved provinces going unbeaten.

There were big wins in France for Cardiff Blues and Newcastle Falcons, not that you’d know it just by looking through our Team of the Week.

Here’s our XV from round one, let us know who you feel is a glaring omission or objectionable inclusion below.

15. Michael Lowry (Ulster)

The 20-year-old, an out-half by trade, coped exceptionally well under pressure on his European debut and his attacking efforts show why he is so highly rated around the Kingspan.

14. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse)

Maxime Medard’s late intervention to deny Freddie Burns demanded the headlines, but Kolbe’s footwork in Bath was sensational. The South African continually made defenders missed and paved the way for a crucial Sofiane Guitone try.

13. Will Addison (Ulster)

An excellent outing from the new signing against Leicester in Belfast. A constant threat and thorn in the Tigers defence.

Will Addison with Sione Kalamafoni Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

12. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster)

On top of the brilliant carrying work he makes a staple, showed his extended range of passing to stretch Wasps to breaking point.

11. James Lowe (Leinster)

His first-phase try to signal a second-half rout had all his superstar credentials. Pace, balance, confidence and a threat of a pass to keep tacklers second-guessing.

10. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)

Doesn’t seem to have bad or even ordinary games any more. His presence makes for a big occasion and passes like his backwards between-the-legs assist show a man at the top of his game.

Leinsters Jonathan Sexton Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

9. Luke McGrath (Leinster)

Looked imperious as Sexton’s half-back partner, setting Leinster’s tempo and offering exceptional support lines on almost every break.

1. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors)

Glasgow’s European hopes are in tatters after home defeat, but it wasn’t for the want of effort from the loosehead. Kebble gave Vincent Koch and the Saracens set-piece a constant headache.

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)

Excellent at the breakdown for the hosts and scored a try which could have given them breathing space to build victory on. Munster found their way back into the game in his absence and he showed his endurance when returned to the field during the double HIA.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)

The ultra-mobile tighthead didn’t show anything we didn’t already know about his extensive skill-set. His second half break in the outside centre channel to unleash James Lowe with a perfectly-timed pass was astoundingly good.

4. James Ryan (Leinster)

Like Furlong, does all the basics of his position with brilliant physicality and tops off the package with smooth handling skills that gives Leinster another playmaking dimension in the tight and so frees up Sexton elsewhere.

5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)

Immense in the maul and on the carry for Munster and showed his remarkable engine to maintain a phenomenal work-rate beyond the 80th minute.

Tadhg Beirne celebrates after the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster)

Berated himself post-match for three penalties conceded, but showed his worth as a defensive line-out jumper with vital steals in the air and kept his defensive line in relentless hungry mood.

7. Michael Rhodes (Saracens)

A non-stop pest on Glasgow’s breakdown, Rhodes was a core reason behind the two-time champions successful efforts to nullify the Warriors. With 13 tackles and a try among his 13 carries, Dave Rennie will still be cursing him.

8. Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs)

Playing number 8 in the absence of the injured Sam Simmonds, but still showed superb openside traits, limiting the impact of Chris Cloete and keeping Munster under breakdown pressure.


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