Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 12°C Saturday 15 May 2021
Advertisement's Irish XV of the third Champions Cup weekend

It was a tough selection after two underwhelming losses for Munster and Leinster.

15. Felix Jones


Jones wasn’t spectacular but given Rob Kearney’s woes, he didn’t have to be make this team.

14. Tommy Bowe

Source: TheUAFC/YouTube

Bowe was brilliant for Ulster – he threw an excellent offload to create a try for Darren Cave and showed great strength to finish this move off in the corner.

13. Darren Cave

Darren Cave scores a try despite Scott Williams Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Cave ran a nice support line for the aforementioned try and had another strong outing at 13. He must have done something right because Ulster gave him a new deal today.

12. Stuart Olding

Stuart Olding 25/10/2014 Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Olding wasn’t at his most incisive against the Scarlets, but it was a very uninspiring outing from Munster and Leinster’s backlines so he didn’t have a whole load of competition.

11. Simon Zebo

Simon Zebo beats Julien Bonnaire Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Munster struggled to create much in the face of a stifling Clermont defence but Zebo was quite lively whenever he touched the ball. He gained the most metres for his team and his spin move regularly bamboozled would-be tacklers.

10. Ian Madigan

Ian Madigan kicks a penalty Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Madigan dead-eyed kicking – he was six-for-six against Quins – was the only time Leinster really threatened the scoreboard on Sunday. The outhalf/centre’s boot from placed balls is about the only thing Leinster can rely on these days.

9. Peter Stringer

BathÕs Peter Stringer Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Stringer is arguably the second best Irish scrum-half at the moment and he was very industrious on Friday night for Bath. After his introduction Bath scored three tries, in part because how quickly he bounced from breakdown to breakdown. Any chance Joe brings him into the 6 Nations squad?

1. Jack McGrath

Jack McGrath Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The Leinster scrum was under pressure but that wasn’t McGrath’s fault. He had another typically busy outing in the loose, and while he isn’t as dynamic as Cian Healy, he certainly adds some power when he carries the ball.

2. Rory Best

Rory Best celebrates scoring the bonus point try Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Another solid display from one of Ireland’s most consistent performers. Like Paul O’Connell, he seems to be getting better with age. He showed great passion after mauling over for a try too.

3. N/A

Mike Ross dejected after the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Mike Ross was the only Irish-qualified tighthead to start in the Champions Cup this weekend, and he was tormented by Joe Marler.

4. Devin Toner

Devin Toner Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Toner was Leinster’s top lineout target and also made eight tackles. There was also an uncharacteristically speedy break in the first half that was marvellous.

5. Dan Tuohy

Darren Cave celebrates his try with Dan Tuohy Source: Presseye/Darren Kidd/INPHO

Tuohy is still playing his way into form after his broken arm, but he is already showing signs that he is close to the level with which he started the season, when he scored three tries.

*Tuohy wore the number four for Ulster, but we shift him to five for the purposes of this team. It leaves our locking pairing looking a little imbalanced, but so be it.

6. Rhys Ruddock

Rhys Ruddock is tackled by Matt Hopper and George Lowe Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ruddock was one of Leinster’s most effective strike runners, carrying 14 times for 55 metres, which was the second most made on the team. He regularly freed his hands in contact too, but the perfect opportunity to offload never presented itself.

7. Tommy O’Donnell

Tommy O'Donnell Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

O’Donnell was the only member of Munster’s back row who came close to matching the stellar performances of the first two rounds. Like Zebo, he offered Munster a good outlet in attack and on a few occasions found himself scorching around the open-field.

8. Jamie Heaslip

Jamie Heaslip dejected after the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Another position where there wasn’t a whole load of competition, but Heaslip was still Leinster’s top tackler with nine.

N.B. We’ve limited this selection to players who are available to Ireland for the upcoming 6 Nations.

Pep Guardiola is dipping one of his immaculate loafers into the world of rugby

His face fits at Ulster anyway – Darren Cave is sticking around Ravenhill for a few more years

About the author:

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel