We pick the standout players from the final round of the Gallagher Premiership, the opening round of the PRO14 and a unique Springbok clash…
15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets)
With British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland watching in the stands at the Parc y Scarlets, Halfpenny gave a timely reminder of his sensational goal-kicking prowess.
The Wales full-back kicked nine penalties – a new club record for Scarlets – and all 27 points of his side’s points against Munster, bisecting the points from all angles. A kicking performance worthy of fulsome praise, though not enough for ultimate victory as Munster pinched the points.
14. Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
Back from his time in Super Rugby with the Blues, Marchant was deployed on the wing by Quins at the Leicester Tigers on the Premiership’s final day, and he rewarded his side with two tries.
Marchant also made 12 carries, 60 metres in attack with ball in hand, two clean breaks, two turnovers, beat two defenders and chipped in with seven tackles.
13. Semi Radradra (Bristol)
Arguably, Fijian centre Radradra is the best player in the world at the moment. Against London Irish on Sunday, he shone again.
He scored the opening try, made a game-high 12 carries, 90 metres in attack – no Bristol player made more – and beat two defenders.
12. Damian de Allende (Munster)
What a signing De Allende looks for Munster. They may have lost fellow Bok World-Cup winner RG Snyman to a cruel, long-term knee injury, but De Allende is growing in influence and quality, as he displayed in victory at Scarlets.
The centre made Munster’s first try, offloading to Jack O’Donoghue after a burst down the right wing, and made a critical line-break and run in the lead-up to their levelling third, as the Irish province came from 14 points down to win at the death, with 14 men.
He also made 52 metres in attack with ball in hand – no Munster player made more – beat four defenders, and showed outstanding and vocal leadership in terrible conditions.
11. James Lowe (Leinster)
A consistent source of tries and attacking threat for Leinster, Lowe was among the scores again for the defending PRO14 champions on Friday, as they began a new season with victory over the Dragons.
Lowe made 84 metres in the game – nobody made more – while he also put in 12 carries, beat three defenders, made three clean breaks and scored two tries.
10. Ben Healy (Munster)
With Munster 14 points down away to the Scarlets, and soon to be down to 14 men for the final 13 minutes of the game, 21-year-old out-half Healy stepped up.
The young playmaker was a second-half replacement, and was involved in a second half he will never forget. A long-distance penalty kept Munster in touch, a difficult conversion levelled things with two minutes to play, before a monstrous penalty from inside his own half, with the clock in the red, won the game for his province.
What a kick. Take a bow Ben Healy.
That last effort was the first time in the entire 80 minutes Munster led. Healy also 32 metres off just three carries in a highly promising display.
9. Dan Robson (Wasps)
What an end to the season Wasps have enjoyed. Outside the playoff places before the restart, they finished the campaign by securing a home semi-final place.
Robson – skipper on Sunday – has been huge for them, and was again in victory over Exeter. He scored a try, made 61 metres in attack, carved out two clean breaks and beat two defenders.
Love this group 🐝 pic.twitter.com/cfutcq7hep
1. Steven Kitshoff (Springbok Gold)
The most impressive performer for the Springbok Gold side, as they took on a Springbok Green side at Newlands on Saturday.
The World Cup-winning loosehead prop got the better of Luan de Bruin at scrum time, while also displaying his handling ability, work-rate and defensive breakdown prowess in spades.
2. Tommy Taylor (Wasps)
At home to a much-changed Exeter, hooker Taylor was another to stand out for Wasps.
He made 13 tackles, landed seven of his eight lineout throws as part of a well-functioning set-piece, and was part of a front-row which earned five penalties at scrum-time.
3. Vincent Koch (Saracens)
A prop forward with genuine world-class ability, Koch was the standout as Saracens played outa 17-17 draw in London against Bath.
The Springbok made 12 tackles – the most of any Saracens player – while also missing none, earned a turnover and was part of a scrum effort which yielded four penalties, a free-kick and a critical penalty try.
4. Glen Young (Harlequins)
Our second Quin this week, Young put in a hugely impressive showing at Welford Road.
The lock forward made 15 tackles and dominated at lineout time, claiming eight balls while stealing another. He also chipped in with five carries.
5. James Gaskell (Wasps)
Alongside Young this week is Wasps second row Gaskell, as he made 14 tackles and two turnovers at the Ricoh Arena.
He also made one clean break and claimed three lineout balls.
6. Siya Kolisi (Springbok Green)
Captaining the Spring Green side in their contest against a Springbok Gold XV on Saturday, Kolisi stood out again.
The flanker scored a try from a bitty game, while also overseeing his side to a 25-9 win.
7. Thomas Young (Wasps)
A major factor in the upturn of Wasps’ performances has been the fitness and form of openside Young.
The Welshman made some 16 tackles on Sunday – the most of anyone in the match – while also contributing to the attacking side of the game, making 15 metres with ball in hand off seven carries.
8. Tom Willis (Wasps)
The performance of the week goes to Wasps No 8 Tom Willis.
The back-row was everywhere in Coventry, as he made a game-high 15 carries, as well as 13 tackles. He also beat three defenders in attack, claimed one lineout ball and stole another.
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