The Leinster quintet steals the show

Leinster’s Josh van der Flier scores his team’s sixth try – Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Europe’s elite club competition has finally returned with the debut of South African sides, a resounding victory for Leinster at the Stade Océane, a test for Steve Borthwick’s Tigers at Ospreys, a big comeback at Gloucester and a fight for Sale Sharks v Ulster among the highlights. But who stood out to win the selection of the team of the week?

15. Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers)

Close competition from Elliot Daly, but it was a standout performance from Watson, scoring a key second-half try and a constant attacking threat too.

14. James Lowe (Leinster)

Cracking the offload for Garry Ringrose’s try but he was deadly throughout in the big win over Racing, beating five defenders.

13. Thomas Darmon (Montpellier)

Montpellier could have drawn 24-8 against London Irish but produced an impressive comeback, with Darmon scoring twice.

Montpellier's Thomas Darmon scores a try - Action Images via REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Montpellier’s Thomas Darmon scores a try – Action Images via REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

12. Dan Kelly (Leicester Tigers)

Offloading a tackle put Watson on his way, but the cross was impressive overall during his 70-minute stint. Another England can watch again.

11. Makazole Mapimpi (C cell sharks)

A deadly finisher in whatever competition you put him in, so it was no surprise to see Mapimpi score twice in his first Champions Cup appearance.

10.Ross Byrne (Leinster)

In hot form at the moment off the kicking tee and handled things well for Leinster against Racing, with Rob du Preez de Sale also a contender.

Caelan Doris passes the ball to Irish opener Ross Byrne of Leinster - LOU BENOIST/AFP via Getty Images

Caelan Doris passes the ball to Irish opener Ross Byrne of Leinster – LOU BENOIST/AFP via Getty Images

9. Bernard van der Linde (Bulls)

Good competition from Tawera Kerr-Barlow but the Bulls No 9 had two tries in an entertaining win over Lyon on the Bulls’ competitive debut.

1. Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks)

Star of the match in Ulster’s hammering by Sale and he’s another fringe player under Jones who might deserve closer scrutiny now. Impressive won three turnovers.

Sale Sharks' Bevan Rodd looks on during the Heineken Champions Cup game between Sale Sharks and Ulster Rugb - Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks’ Bevan Rodd looks on during the Heineken Champions Cup game between Sale Sharks and Ulster Rugb – Jan Kruger/Getty Images for Sale Sharks

2. Akker van der Merwe (Sale Sharks)

Just a nightmare to stop when he has a steamy head, but he had to work hard to put the ball on the ground for his try. Otherwise severe, with a dozen litters.

3. Sipili Falatea (Bordeaux-Begles)

Assault attempt for UBB to open the scoring against Gloucester, heading tight for 67 minutes in a charged performance.

4. James Ryan (Leinster)

Notably hammered Racing with a tackle as the French side pressed in a typically strong outing, finishing with 11 runs.

5. Bastien Chalureau (Montpellier)

Lively as Montpellier picked up that win at Brentford, the lock finishing with 21 tackles and doing well as they fought back against the London Irish.

6. Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)

Exeter’s mountain man from a back line picked up a good away win at Castres, topping Exeter’s run tally with 14 while also making 11 tackles.

Exeter Chiefs' English flanker Dave Ewers (C) scores a try during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool A rugby union match between Castres Olympique and Exeter Chiefs at the Pierre-Fabre stadium in Castres - CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/ AFP via Getty Images

Exeter Chiefs’ English flanker Dave Ewers (C) scores a try during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool A rugby union match between Castres Olympique and Exeter Chiefs at the Pierre-Fabre stadium in Castres – CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/ AFP via Getty Images

7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster)

The Men’s World Player of the Year is certainly not resting on his laurels. Two tries and Leinster’s tackle (nine) and carry (14) count against Racing.

8. Caelan Doris (Leinster)

An action-packed performance with Doris earning turnovers and producing offloads while providing tryout assistance. Racing couldn’t handle it.

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