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

With the Six Nations on a fallow week, all attentions turned to the respective domestic campaigns throughout Europe and the southern hemisphere over the weekend.

The top performers from the PRO14, Premiership, Top 14 and Super Rugby are below!

15. Dillyn Leyds (Stormers)

Super Rugby is back! We were treated to the return of the South African Conference over the weekend, with Leyds the top performer from the Stormers’ victory over the Jaguares in Cape Town.

Picked to start at full-back, the Springbok’s stats were outstanding as he beat six defenders, made three line breaks, earned three turnovers and made nearly 100m with ball in hand off 12 carries.

The Stormers were made to sweat for their victory over the Pumas in the opening game of the 2018 Super Rugby season

14. Chris Ashton (Toulon)

Have we seen a man settle in at a new club as well as Ashton has with Toulon? The former Saracen has been spectacular for the French club, and this week was no different.

Ashton proved far too hot for Stade Francais to handle on Saturday as he got over for another hat-trick. He has now scored 17 tries in 14 Top 14 games. Extraordinary.

13. Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors)

The Warriors racked up a significant victory on Friday night as their 37-23 success over the Cheetahs at Scotstoun confirmed a PRO14 play-off place already.

He also beat some eight defenders in a striking show of his attacking quality.

12. Gael Fickou (Toulouse)

Fickou hasn’t been involved with the France national team since the summer tour to South Africa, and on Saturday he played like a man with a point to prove.

Away victories are a rare enough occurrence in the Top 14, but last week, Toulouse were one of four sides to win on the road.

Fickou was the pick of the bunch, however, as he notched a hat-trick in victory at Agen, created another try, made 12 tackles and earned 143 metres with ball in hand!

11. James Lowe (Leinster)

Man of the match in the victory over Scarlets on Saturday, everything Lowe touched turned into a positive moment.

Highlights of Leinster's PRO14 victory over Scarlets from the RDS Arena

The Kiwi is an absolute bundle of energy on a rugby pitch, with his combination of power and pace lethal in attack.

The wing scored two tries at the RDS and made 128 metres off 20 carries. Magnificent stuff.

The Aussie slipped into the fly-half position with minimal fuss for the Tigers against Harlequins at Welford Road on Saturday, proving the match winner.

Off the tee he was superb, hitting seven of eight attempts, while he also scored a sensational solo try of his own with 20 minutes remaining in a thoroughly-creative outing.

Benetton fly-half Marty Banks is unlucky to miss out having earned the man-of-the-match award as the Italians picked up a record fifth PRO14 victory in succession over the Dragons on Sunday.

9. Teddy Iribaren (Racing 92)

Racing kept their 100 per cent record at the U Arena going on Sunday as they beat La Rochelle 19-12 to overtake them into second in the Top 14.

Scrum-half Iribaren was the pick of the players in blue and white as he conducted proceedings impressively in Paris.

The 27-year-old produced a sumptuous bit of skill for Patrick Lambie’s decisive try with a lovely reverse pass, while he also saved a certain score by catching La Rochelle wing Vincent Rattez in the second half.

1. Jacques van Rooyen (Lions)

The most difficult position to fill this week was loosehead prop, with no immediate option jumping out at us.

In the second Super Rugby game on Saturday, last season’s beaten finalists the Lions saw off the Sharks in Johannesburg with their scrum a major weapon of attack.

Last year's beaten finalists the Lions opened their 2018 Super Rugby account with a hard-fought win over the Sharks

Lions loosehead Jacques van Rooyen led the side out on the occasion of his 50th Super Rugby appearance and put in a decent shift.

2. Tom Cruse (Wasps)

The Wasps hooker played the full 80 minutes at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday against Exeter as the home side gave everything in trying circumstances.

Dai Young’s side lost four men to injury throughout the game, but Cruse racked up a massive 18 tackles in the win.

He also made 12 carries, won two turnovers in the opposition 22, enjoyed a 90 per cent success at the lineout and was part of a Wasps scrum which was on top all day.

3. Juan Figallo (Saracens)

The double European champions returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership on Friday, with Argentine tighthead Figallo named man of the match from their hard-fought win at Sale.

The prop played for 76 minutes at the AJ Bell – which is near unheard of today – while he put in an astounding 14 tackles.

4. George Biagi (Zebre)

Zebre made history at Connacht on Friday as they pulled off their first ever victory on Irish soil, and one of many star performers was lock Biagi.

5. Scott Fardy (Leinster)

What a signing Fardy has been for Leinster. If Lowe was their star in the backs against Scarlets, Fardy was the most impressive forward in blue.

The second row’s work-rate was outstanding as he made 25 tackles, carried the ball on 12 occasions, took seven lineouts and stole the ball at the set-piece twice. Superb.

6. Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets)

The Scarlets may have lost at Beirne’s old haunt the RDS on Saturday, but the versatile forward was still one of the best players on the pitch.

Deployed on the blindside in Dublin, Beirne was everywhere as he made an incredible five turnovers, comprehensively dominating the breakdown.

The Munster-bound man also chipped in with 10 tackles, nine carries and five lineout takes in a superb individual display.

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac paid tribute to Tadhg Beirne, who he expects to soon feature for Ireland

7. Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues)

The Blues pulled off a valuable victory against Munster in Cardiff on Saturday, with openside Jenkins picking up the man of the match award after a fantastic performance.

He also produced a fabulous left-handed pass out to Macauley Cook for the Blues’ first try.

Highlights of Cardiff Blues' PRO14 victory over Munster from the Arms Park

A note too for another Welsh openside, as Wasps flanker Thomas Young was brilliant against Exeter on Sunday.

8. Renato Giammarioli (Zebre)

At No 8, a second Zebre forward gets into our XV this week after Giammarioli’s marvellous display at Connacht on Friday.

The 22-year-old made 16 carries and 15 tackles for Zebre at the Sportsground, while he also scored the all-important first try in an extremely impressive shift.

A mention too for Blues No 8 Nick Williams, who, once again, was fantastic on Saturday.

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