Wednesday 16 October 2019

We pick the best XV from the Irish provinces after a strong weekend in Europe

Simon Zebo makes the team at full back
Simon Zebo makes the team at full back

Cormac Byrne

Leinster were the big winners from the final round of Pool games in the Champions and Challenge Cup but only three players from the eastern province make our team of the week.

15. Simon Zebo (Munster)

The Cork speed demon thrived in the open spaces at Thomond and his opportunistic finishes for both tries oozed class.

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Simon Zebo, Munster, scores his side's first try despite the efforts of David Seymour, Sale Sharks

14. Fergus McFadden (Leinster)

The Suncroft man showed his sharpness to dive over for a try after just 90 seconds and was strong in defence.

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Fergus McFadden goes over for Leinster's first try

13. Darren Cave (Ulster)

A coin-toss between Cave and Luke Fitzgerald but the Ulster man's hat-trick tipped the scales in his favour.

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Darren Cave runs in to score Ulster's first try of the game

12. Ivan Dineen (Munster)

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Came in for Denis Hurley after just 22 minutes and thrived in a position where Munster have struggled this year. Seemed to be able to break the gainline at will.

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JJ Hanrahan, left, and Ivan Dineen, Munster, share a laugh as they applaud supporters after victory over Sale Sharks. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 6, Munster v Sale Sharks. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

11. Andrew Conway (Munster)

A great finisher and his two-try haul shows just how important he will be for the remainder of the season for Munster.

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25 January 2015; Andrew Conway, Munster, scores a second-half try despite the efforts of Luke McLean, Sale Sharks. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 6, Munster v Sale Sharks. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

10. Jack Carty (Connacht)

Carty was the catalyst for a terrific Connacht comeback in La Rochelle. Is continuing to improve under Pat Lam.

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24 January 2015; Jack Carty, Connacht, is tackled by Nicolas Djebaiu, La Rochelle. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 6, La Rochelle v Connacht, Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

9. Kieran Marmion (Connacht)

With Eoin Reddan and Conor Murray doubts for Ireland's Six Nations opener with Italy. Marmion put his hand up with another impressive display.

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Connacht's Kieran Marmion touches down to score a try at the Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle

8. Roger Wilson (Ulster)

Wilson made a bone-crunching 18 tackles in a brilliant defensive display for Neil Doak's side.

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24 January 2015; Roger Wilson, Ulster, is tackled by Jordan Crane, Leicester Tigers. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 3, Round 6, Ulster v Leicester Tigers, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

7. Jordi Murphy (Leinster)

Not the biggest openside in the world but he is a willing ball carrier and has a knack for picking the right lines of running. Tommy O'Donnell unlucky to miss out.

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Leinster's Jordi Murphy applauds his side's supporters after the game

6. Iain Henderson (Ulster)

Didn't look like a player who was making his first appearance of the season. Ulster have been crying out for his huge physical presence and Joe Schmidt will be keeping a close eye.

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24 January 2015; Ulster's Iain Henderson after the game. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 3, Round 6, Ulster v Leicester Tigers, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

5. Paul O'Connell (Munster)

The Limerick colossus did have a few errors but his relentless ferocity gets the best out of those around him.

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25 January 2015; Paul O'Connell, Munster, is tackled by Mark Easter, left, and Tom Brady, Sale Sharks. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 6, Munster v Sale Sharks. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

4. Franco van der Merwe (Ulster)

Used all of his bulk to get effect at the breakdown. A very important player for Ulster of they are to make the Pro12 playoffs.

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24 January 2015; Franco Van Der Merwe, Ulster, is tackled by Marcos Ayerza, Leicester Tigers. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 3, Round 6, Ulster v Leicester Tigers, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Picture credit: John Dickson / SPORTSFILE

3. Marty Moore (Leinster)

Moore had a tough encounter against Matt Mullan but more than matched the England international.

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24 January 2015; Ben Jacobs, with the support of his Wasps team-mate James Gaskell, is tackled by Leinster players, from left, Eoin Reddan, Kane Douglas, Jordi Murphy and Marty Moore. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 2, Round 6, Wasps v Leinster. Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

2. Rory Best (Ulster)

A few issues at the lineout but his dynamism at the breakdown and leadership qualities make him one of the best hookers in the game.

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24 January 2015; Rory Best, Ulster, is tackled by Logovii Mulipola, top, and Tom Youngs, Leicester Tigers. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 3, Round 6, Ulster v Leicester Tigers, Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

1. James Cronin (Munster)

A costly knock-on just before the break was the only blot on an otherwise fantastic display from Cronin.

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25 January 2015; Munster players, from left to right, Tommy O'Donnell, Peter O'Mahony, James Cronin, Dave O'Callaghan and Billy Holland watch a replay on the big screen during the game. European Rugby Champions Cup 2014/15, Pool 1, Round 6, Munster v Sale Sharks. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

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