Locks away! It’s our Champions Cup Team of the Week

ROLL ON DECEMBER! Because after two long, hard weekends of Heineken Champions Cup rugby, we only want more.

After a momentous win for Toulouse, big wins for Munster, Edinburgh, Saracens and the tournament’s surprise package Newcastle, here’s our favourite XV from round two.

Who do you think is a glaring omission/objectionable inclusion?

15. Alex Goode (Saracens)

Continues to be quietly brilliant from fullback for Saracens, a terrific extra play-making option outside Farrell with both pace, handling and footballing skill to prise open defences.

14. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse)

A second week running in team of the week and his lightning quick footwork once again took him there. A nightmare for defenders to monitor and his assurance in that skill, sidestepping the charging Robbie Henshaw, put the final nail in Leinster.

13. Olivier Klemenczak (Racing 92)

Klemenczak breaks through Ulster with Simon Zebo in support. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The 22-year-old was magnificent at the U Arena, scything through Ulster’s defence and assisting brilliant tries for Wenceslas Lauret and Juan Imhoff.

12. Johnny Williams (Newcastle Falcons)

Only dislodged from this position by Robbie Henshaw last week, Williams put in another monstrous shift for the Falcons, making 11 hard carries into Montpellier and 11 tackles for the cause.

11. Maxime Medard (Toulouse)

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Two tries against the reigning champions. The veteran showed his experience, power and then late energy to keep pace with the stunning breakaway on the intercept. 

10. Joey Carbery (Munster)

Carbery takes a hit from Ben Morgan after passing. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

He moved to Munster in order to play more as an out-half and after six straight weeks starting in the number 10 jersey, he is getting better and better. An utterly delightful array of passing ensured the southern province executed their opportunities to turn a somewhat problematic performance into a comfortable bonus point win.

9. Teddy Iribaren (Racing 92)

Changed the game for the hosts, digging them out of a 3-12 hole when he was introduced after 25 minutes against Ulster. Scored within minutes of his introduction and proved the catalyst for all the destruction Racing visited on Ulster’s defence.

Iribaren tries to evade Marcell Coetzee. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

1. Guram Gogicashvili (Racing 92)

Ulster’s scrummaging struggles never looked likely to ease against the fearsome front row in Paris. Gogicashvili also thrived outside of the set-piece making regular gainlines off his 10 carries.

2. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh)

Typified a powerful Edinburgh display to run up 40 points against Toulon. Came desperately close to scoring the first try himself, but ended up laying the ground for Ben Toolis. Got his score soon after half-time thanks to vibrant, energetic front row play in the loose and ended up with a game-high 15 carries.

McInally scores Edinburgh’s third try against Toulon in Murrayfield. Source: Graham Stuart

3. Cedate Gomes Sa (Racing 92)

Dominated his contest with Andy Warwick and gave the hosts a consistently solid platform from which to run up their 44 points.

4. James Ryan (Leinster)

His first ever loss for Leinster, but not for the want of effort. His try, one of 16 impressive carries, felt like the moment Leinster took control, though Toulouse’s counter-attack won out.

5. Tadhg Beirne (Munster)

A catalyst for Munster turning the contest against Gloucester into one-way traffic. Incredible efforts at the maul, line-out and on the ground. His chip and chase game isn’t bad either.

Beirne breaks clear in the second half in Thomond Park. . Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

6. Maro Itoje (Saracens)

Moved out of the second row and, in many ways, freed up. Sensational early try showed his full skill-set, stripping the ball from the opponent before opening up his stride and scorching 50 metres to the try-line. Saracens need his influence now more than ever with the Vunipolas out of action.

7. Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons)

A constant pest for Montpellier in Kingston Park. Dogged work-rate helped ensure that the French giants struggled to find a rhythm. 

8. Selevasio Tolofua (Toulouse)

A cornerstone the old kings of this competition’s defence with no misses in his 13 tackles. The same number of powerful carries forward laid the basis for a tough day for Leinster, who must have expected that their hosts would miss the influence of Jerome Kaino. 

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