Saturday 21 July 2018

Champions Cup Team of the Tournament - Eight Leinster heroes makes the side

Leinster celebrate after winning the Champions cup final over Racing 92 in Bilbao, Spain
Pic:Mark Condren
Leinster celebrate after winning the Champions cup final over Racing 92 in Bilbao, Spain Pic:Mark Condren
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

It was nice to see the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy return to Irish hands after a six-year absence and Leinster dominate our team of the tournament with eight selections.

Leinster's unblemished Champions Cup campaign was completed with a gripping 15-12 win over Racing 92 in Bilbao on Saturday.

After equalling Toulouse's record of four European crowns, Leo Cullen's men are already thinking of a fifth.

Here is our top XV from the 2017/18 Champions League competition:

1. Cian Healy (Leinster)

He has kept Jack McGrath out of the starting lineup for club and country this season and that is a measure of how well he has performed.

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Cian Healy

2. Camille Chat (Racing 92)

His lineout stats were impressive and he has been a star in the loose for Racing throughout the season. Was playing well on Saturday until he was forced off for a HIA.

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Camille Chat of Racing 92 is tackled by Jordan Larmour of Leinster

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster)

The best tighthead on the planet and he continually illustrated why throughout the competition.

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Leinster's Tadhg Furlong. Photo: Sportsfile

4. James Ryan (Leinster)

Still undefeated as a pro and a deserving man of the match recipient on Saturday.

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Leinster's James Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile

5. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)

The player of the tournament. He has flourished with Donnacha Ryan beside him to do the hard graft. Munster and Leinster did quell his offloading danger.

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Racing's Leone Nakarawa. Photo: Getty Images

6. Scott Fardy (Leinster)

The Australian was an inspired acquisition and he has lifted the standards of those around him. Crucial in filling in as Leinster back rowers succumbed to injury.

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Scott Fardy. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

7. Dan Leavy (Leinster)

He is surely one of the best blindsides in the northern hemisphere now. Total commitment.

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Dan Leavy of Leinster celebrates following their victory in the European Rugby Champions Cup Final against Racing 92 at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

8. Yannick Nyanga (Racing 92)

How can a 34-year-old be so explosive and full of running? He was immense on Saturday and in the victory over Munster in Bordeaux.

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Yannick Nyanga of Racing 92 during the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and Racing 92 at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

9. Conor Murray (Munster)

Maxime Machenaud got the better of their duel in the last four but for consistent brilliance Murray makes the grade.

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Conor Murray

10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster)

Isa Nacewa hailed him as 'the genius', Brian O'Driscoll think he's 'actually getting better' and both are dead right. Bravery and brains in abundance.

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Leinster's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sportsfile

11. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92)

Will be remembered for somehow running the ball out of play in the dying minutes but that should not detract from his season and the manner with which he dismantled Munster.

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Teddy Thomas

12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets)

Scored vital tries in the victories over Bath and Toulon and was a consistent performer. Robbie Henshaw unlucky to miss out.

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James Ryan of Leinster tackles Hadleigh Parkes of Scarlets during the Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva Stadium

13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)

Brings so much to the Leinster and Ireland defence and attack. Brave as a lion but cute as a fox too.

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Garry Ringrose of Leinster is tackled by Virimi Vakatawa of Racing 92 during the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and Racing 92 at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

14. Nemani Nadolo (Montpellier)

The Montpellier powerhouse scored two tries against both Exeter Chiefs and Leinster in the ‘pool of death’, as well as two further scores to finish the campaign as joint-top try-scorer alongside Ospreys’ Dan Evans.

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Nemani Nadolo of Montpellier hands off Leinster’s Robbie Henshaw during the Champions Cup match at the RDS

15. Rob Kearney (Leinster)

Mr Dependable under the high ball and has rediscovered his edge on the counterattack. Played a big role in securing the fourth star.

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12 May 2018; Rob Kearney of Leinster celebrates with the cup after the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and Racing 92 at the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

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