Gallagher Premiership round 14 Team of the Week

Gallagher Premiership

Following the resumption of the Gallagher Premiership last weekend, the top stars of the game showed off their magic. Robert Rees selects his Team of the Week. 

1. Val Rapava Ruskin

Gloucester’s dominant display was centred around their forward prominence. 100% at scrum time and carrying hard to give the Cherry and Whites the go forward they required, Ruskin pushed George Skivington to his first Gloucester victory.

2. Tom Dunn

Fighting off some hot competition for the hooker shirt is Bath’s Tom Dunn. Despite strong performances by Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie and Gloucester’s Jack Singleton, Dunn’s brace and monstrous display of power earns him the spot in our team.

Bath got on top of the London Irish pack early doors and never relinquished their hold on the game.

3. Nick Schonert

Worcester’s first game back was one to be forgotten following a red card to Melani Nanai, resulting in a demolition job at Sixways at the hands of Gloucester. Despite the poor overall performance, Schonert stood out as a rock in their defence and fought valiantly at the set piece.

4. Joe Launchbury

Wasps’ destructive bonus point win over Northampton was down to their forwards, one of which was Joe Launchbury. Working in the boiler house alongside Will Rowlands, his hard carries and set piece rigidity pushed Wasps into the final play-off berth.

Gallagher Premiership
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Joe Launchbury of England wins lineout ball under pressure from Eben Etzebeth of South Africa during the Old Mutual Wealth Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images,)

5. Will Rowlands

The Welsh lock shone alongside his English counterpart as Wasps took the Sunday headlines. Offering an option at most breakdowns, whether he was the carrier or support runner, he played an impressive part in first Lee Blackett’s win as permanent Head Coach.

6. Jack Willis

Eddie Jones was watching the game at Franklin’s Gardens, and Jack Willis took his chance to impress the England coach. Barnstorming runs and crucial turnovers secured enough ball for their backline to finish off.

7. Thomas Young

Fans of Wasps are getting excited at this point, and there’s no real surprise that they’ve had four players in our forward pack. The display was dominant, and Young’s epic role in one of Wasps bonus point tries was key to victory, alongside his turnovers.

8. Jake Polledri

The final spot in our forward pack goes to Gloucester flanker-come-number eight Jake Polledri. Racking up 95 fantastic metres and his offload being a key moment in one of Ollie Thorley’s tries, the Italian back rower smashes into our back row with one of his best performances in a Cherry and White jersey.

9. Ben Spencer

A 75-metre interception try, the first of which he’s scored this season, was the cherry on the cake that was his performance against London Irish. His dangerous, darting runs around the breakdown area and pinpoint accuracy with ball in hand, and by foot was vital to Bath’s victory.

10. Jacob Umaga

Wasps had plenty of ball from their forwards and Jacob Umaga was on hand to utilise it. Shipping ball across their midfield, Umaga’s leadership at such a young age is becoming a promising sign for Wasps fans.

11. Louis Rees-Zammit

The only member of our Team of the Week that came off the bench. The Welsh winger saw action when Jonny May was taken off for a HIA. His rapid nature was soon recognised, as he lit up Sixways, scoring a try and tearing up nearly 100 metres as he went. There was even time for a cheeky chip to add to his CV.

12. Ashley Beck

Beck’s performance went rather under the radar given the loss his side suffered. Despite this, his defensive efforts contributed to limiting the humiliation, rather than adding to it. 100% tackle rate and offering an extra running option in the period that Worcester did control earns Beck the spot in our 12 jersey.

13. Joe Marchant

Returning from Super Rugby, one could forgive Marchant a slow start given the variance between northern and southern hemisphere games, but that was not the case. With nearly 50 metres to his name and an impressive defensive display, he boosted Harlequins title hopes as they leapt up the table, slowing down Sale’s chances as they went.

London Irish’s Curtis Rona was a good shout for the spot, as was Ollie Lawrence, but ultimately Marchant did enough.

14. Ollie Thorley

Gloucester takes both winger slots in our team as Thorley bagged a brace in their destruction of Worcester. His extraordinary acceleration and savvy spatial awareness saw him cause the Warriors issues all afternoon.

It is this all-round performance that sees him jump above Luke Morahan.

15. Stuart Hogg

Exeter’s sole representative in the side is Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg, who commanded the game from deep and bagged himself a wonderfully finished try. His counter-attacking efforts ensured Leicester found it difficult to remain on top for long, and couldn’t play a territorial game.


“Main photo credit”

Gallagher Premiership
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 23: Ollie Thorley of Gloucester breaks with the ball during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Wasps at Kingsholm Stadium on March 23, 2019 in Gloucester, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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