Team of the week: Best of PRO14, Premiership, Super Rugby and Top 14 combine

The best performers from the PRO14, TOP 14 and Premiership combine in our team of the week.

15. Ben Smith (Highlanders)

Speed, precision and power – key components of Smith’s game – were clear to see on Saturday as he helped the Highlanders to victory over the Brumbies.

A brace of tries, including an unstoppable surge down the left-flank off a set-piece move, saw the All Blacks full-back shine for Aaron Mauger’s side, who moved within two points of third-placed Chiefs in the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.

14. Luke Morahan (Bristol)

Bristol celebrated an immediate return to the Premiership with an emphatic ten-try victory against Doncaster Knights in front of a buoyant home crowd at Ashton Gate.

Inspirational skipper David Lemi was the main talking point ahead of the match, as the Samoan made his last appearance for the club but it was Morahan, who produced a man-of-the-match display to score four tries.

The Australian winger, who was celebrating his birthday, showcased all his attributes – speed, handwork and composure – in his quartet of scores and he will be one to follow with close attention in the top flight next season.

Luke Morahan scored 4 tries on Bristol's way to a big win over the Doncaster Knights 13. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester)

Gloucester moved a step nearer to European Champions Cup qualification with a bonus-point win over Harlequins and the centre kicked 17 points for the hosts with the boot and also set up Callum Braley for the opening try.

In a match which was closely contested the England international’s accuracy at goal was important along with his link-up play in the midfield.

12. Tommaso Castello (Zebre)

It was a weekend of double Italian joy in the PRO14 and Zebre captain Castello led a resurgent second-half comeback victory over Dragons.

Inside 10 minutes of the second half starting the hosts had scored two tries – the first by the centre – and two further scores were to follow for the Italians, who also had Carlo Canna’s goal kicking to thank.

11. Ben Lam (Hurricanes)

Lam terrorised the Chiefs defence, breaking through tackles with consummate ease, as the Hurricanes moved to the top of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference.

There’s not many better sights on a rugby field than a player running away at full speed from the clutches of a despairing opposition defence and Lam has gained a reputation for scoring seemingly effortless tries.

Highlights of the Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

Friday’s victory was no different as he scored the game’s opening score – his ninth try of the campaign – at the Westpac Stadium and complemented his attacking capabilities with some important and robust tackles.

10. Tommaso Allan (Benetton)

Benetton created history at the RDS on Saturday as they won for the first time in Dublin against Leinster in the PRO14 and the talented Italian provided a telling contribution.

The Irish province, table-toppers in Conference B, began well and opened up a 12-5 first-half advantage but the Italians benefited from some uncharacteristic errors from Leo Cullen’s side to mount a fightback.

Allan, who made the most of a misplaced pass by Jack McGrath, and Federico Ruzza ran over for tries in the second period to secure a landmark triumph in the Irish capital.

9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh)

At a sun-drenched Murrayfield, Edinburgh recovered from back-to-back defeats at Scotland’s national stadium with an emphatic free-flowing victory against a second-string Scarlets, who have a Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster to look forward to next weekend.

The architect of the hosts’ ruthless display was Hidalgo-Clyne. The 24-year-old was instrumental for Richard Cockerill’s team at scrum-half and produced a moment of quick-thinking and composure to first make a dart from the scrum before a perfectly weighted kick sat up perfectly for Duhan van der Merwe to go over.

The club’s top try scorer hasn’t played in international colours since the 2016 Six Nations fixture against Wales but despite the competition for places, the watching Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend can’t help but have been impressed.

Highlights of Edinburgh's dominant PRO14 victory over Scarlets from Murrayfield 1. Team England Sevens at the Commonwealth Games

After struggling to single out a loosehead prop, the achievements of the England Sevens squads at the Commonwealth Games are highlighted with both men’s and women’s teams earning bronze medals.

Captain Tom Mitchell led a second-half revival for the men as they overcame South Africa while Abbie Brown led the women to a 24-19 success against Canada.

After an exciting opening to their meeting with Bath at Allianz Park on Sunday, the hooker sent Saracens on their way with a try from a driving maul and the 36-year-old will go down as one of the best overseas signings in the Premiership.

Sarries have prided themselves on a reputation to be hugely effective in defence to enable their flair players to impress with ball in hand and Brits continues to be instrumental in that coming to fruition.

3. Paul Hill (Northampton)

The prop returned to the Saints fold for the first time since the Anglo-Welsh Cup defeat to Exeter in November and on derby day he produced an impressive performance to help his side earn a long overdue victory over Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Hill has only started four games this season through injury and falling out favour but was vital in the scrum and at the breakdown and his powerful run led to Ben Cohen going over for one of the visitors’ three tries.

4. Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues)

A seven-try rout against Southern Kings secured the Welsh region Champions Cup rugby next season and Davies was a vital component with both his defensive work and his support in attack.

Cardiff Blues began the match in emphatic fashion with two early tries, including one from the Wales international off a clever short ball move from the training pitch.

5. Iain Henderson (Ulster)

In a match which was ultimately decided by Jacob Stockdale’s last-gasp try we have chosen to highlight the work of another Ireland international in Henderson, as Ulster took a giant step to PRO14 play-off spot with victory over Ospreys at Kingspan.

Henderson has become a reliable performer week-in-week-out and in a match which failed to hit the heights his defensive contributions along with the rest of the pack proved pivotal telling over the course of the match before Stockdale’s opportunistic finish.

6. Jamie Gibson (Northampton)

The Saints recorded their first double over rivals Leicester Tigers since 2007 with a determined 27-11 victory and despite a flawless kicking display from Stephen Myler, we have opted for man of the match Gibson.

The English flanker was a constant presence in defence – making 11 tackles – and also was key to disrupting the Tigers’ line-out ball as the former Leicester man ended Matt O’Connor’s team a sixth consecutive win.

Gibson celebrated his 150th Premiership appearance in fine fashion as the Saints ended a disappointing chain of five defeats, as the hosts dropped out of the top four.

7. Facundo Isa (Toulon)

Chris Ashton might have stolen the limelight in southern France – at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome – when the winger set a Top 14 record for tries scored in a season, but the Argentinian produced a big-game performance against Montpellier.

Catch Chris Ashton's record breaking Top 14 try against Lyon on Saturday, his 22nd effort of the season for Toulon.

After a determined break the loose forward made a timely offload onto Semi Radradra, who continued the move down the touchline before Ma’a Nonu had the simple task to pop a pass to Ashton.

Toulon scored all four of their tries against the French league leaders in the first half, including one from the former Lyon and Jaguares player, and missed out on the bonus point after they weathered a second-half storm from Vern Cotter’s side.

8. Akira Ioane (Blues)

The Blues scored 19 unanswered points to end a three-match losing run at the weekend and the No 8 was a pivotal presence against the Sunwolves with an all-encompassing performance in Tokyo.

Highlights of the Super Rugby clash between the Sunwolved and Blues.

In a meeting between the two bottom sides in the New Zealand conference, the 22-year-old scored with a powerful run to see off two challenges and go over for his seventh try of the season and was unlucky not to be awarded a second, after the TMO and referee ruled he had not grounded the ball correctly.

Ioane is certain to be in the selection thoughts of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen for their upcoming Test series against France should he continue to deliver effective displays for Tana Umaga’s side.

Source.