European Professional Club Rugby | Heineken Champions Cup Team of the Week: Round 3

There was a host of brilliant individual performances across Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup and data from Oval Insights has allowed us to select the best performers in each position…

1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks)

The loosehead prop was the leading light in the Cell C Sharks front row as they cruised to a 32-3 win over Union Bordeaux-Bègles in Durban, making a significant impact in the scrum as well as making two carries and seven tackles during his 55 minutes on the pitch.

2 – Johan Grobbelaar (Vodacom Bulls)

Hooker Grobbelaar helped Vodacom Bulls to a statement 39-28 win over Exeter Chiefs as he dotted down for their fifth try in Pretoria.

He also made 15 tackles – only Ruan Nortje made more for Vodacom Bulls – and secured one turnover in a showcase of his defensive capabilities.

3 – Marco Riccioni (Saracens)

The tighthead prop crossed for Saracens’ fifth try in a 48-28 thrashing of Lyon at the StoneX Stadium as well as making 10 tackles and three carries over the course of 68 minutes.

4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks)

Another key figure in Cell C Sharks’ victory against Bordeaux, Etzebeth claimed five lineouts and made 27 metres, the most of the South African side’s tight five.

He also made eight carries and 10 tackles – flanker Siya Kolisi was his only teammate to manage more in each statistic.

5 – Paul Willemse (Montpellier Herault Rugby)

Montpellier may have fallen to a disappointing 35-29 defeat at Ospreys, but captain Willemse did everything in his power to prevent their second Pool B loss to the Welsh region, powering over for two tries and making four offloads – Cell C Sharks’ Kolisi was the only player to complete more in Round 3.

6 – Andy Christie (Saracens)

Christie was another try-scorer in Saracens’ rubbing of Lyon, and the flanker regularly put the hosts on the front foot – he recorded 10 carries, more than any of their other forwards. He also claimed four lineouts.

7 – Justin Tipuric (Ospreys)

The flanker was an inspiration as Ospreys made it back-to-back wins over Montpellier, dotting down for their third try in Swansea and making 16 tackles – only Jac Morgan (17) made more for the Welsh region.

Tipuric also gained 17 metres, bettered only by full-back Cai Evans for Ospreys, beat one defender and claimed two lineouts.

8 – Gavin Coombes (Munster Rugby)

Coombes slots in at No.8 for the second round running after another try brace against Northampton Saints, this time in a 27-23 success at Thomond Park.

He made the fourth-most carries (16) in Round 3, the most tackles (21) in the game – and the third-most in Round 3 – as well as the second-most meters (47) for Munster. He also secured three turnovers in a phenomenal display.

9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks)

The scrum-half went over twice for Cell C Sharks against Bordeaux in an assured performance, which also produced one line break and a total gain of 30 metres.

10 – Ross Byrne (Leinster Rugby)

Fly-half Byrne kicked five conversions from five attempts as Leinster broke to a 49-14 success at Gloucester Rugby and provided the assist for Hugo Keenan’s score with a brilliant one-handed tip-on.

11 – Harry Simmons (Leicester Tigers)

Simmons produced a moment of magic for Leicester as they triumphed 44-29 at ASM Clermont Auvergne, beating two defenders with a dazzling step before finishing in the corner for their second try.

12 – Cameron Hutchison (Edinburgh Rugby)

Center Hutchison was crucial to Edinburgh’s 34-21 win over Castres Olympique at the Stade Pierre Fabre, dotting down for their third try and gaining 35 meters with ball in hand.

On the defensive side, he completed nine tackles, at least three more than any Edinburgh back

13 – Wandisile Simelane (Vodacom Bulls)

Another star performer in Vodacom Bulls’ victory over Exeter, Simelane crossed the whitewash twice and gained a staggering 145 metres, the most of any player in Round 3. That total gain came across seven carries, the third-most for his side.

14 – Alex Cuthbert (Ospreys)

Cuthbert’s try brace was crucial for Ospreys in their incredible win against Montpellier. He matched Tipuric’s total gain of 17 meters as he made nine carries, more than any other Ospreys back, beat two defenders and made one line break.

15 – Elliott Daly (Saracens)

Daly was in scintillating form against Lyon and takes the full-back spot for the second round running.

He scored a breathtaking seven-minute hat-trick of tries and made the second-most meters (124) of any player in Round 3.

No Saracens player beats more defenders (4) while no other player on the pitch manages more line breaks (3).

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