The first round of the knock-out stages in both the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup was largely one of disappointment for the Irish provinces.
Both Munster and Connacht saw their European seasons come to an end in two high-scoring matches that eventually got away from the Irish teams in the closing stages of both games.
Ulster were the only Irish side to claim victory at the weekend as they hammered a second-string Harlequins side at the Twickenham Stoop, while Leinster were given a walkover due to a positive coronavirus case in Toulon’s squad.
They put on a devastating show of attacking rugby at The Stoop to cruise into the quarter-finals 🔥
— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) April 5, 2021
While they lost to Toulouse at Thomond Park on Saturday, Munster did put in an admirable performance against the reigning French champions and have earned seven places in the team as a result.
Ulster meanwhile have five players in the team of the week, after they dominated an inexperienced Harlequins side in style. Connacht have three players in the side after they went down to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Check out the Irish European team of the week below.
15. Michael Lowry (Ulster)
14. Alex Wooton (Connacht)
13. Chris Farrell (Munster)
12. Damien De Allende (Munster)
11. Keith Earls (Munster)
10. Billy Burns (Ulster)
9. Conor Murray (Munster)
8. Paul Boyle (Connacht)
7. Sean Reidy (Ulster)
6. Gavin Coombes (Munster)
5. Jean Kleyn (Munster)
4. Ultan Dillane (Connacht)
3. Stephen Archer (Munster)
2. Rob Herring (Ulster)
1. Eric O’Sullivan (Ulster)
A number of Munster players put in much-improved performances after their loss to Leinster in the Pro14 final, but Gavin Coombes stood out the most at Thomond Park.
The youngster scored two tries and made a whopping 19 carries and is proving to be a very effective attacking threat for the southern province.
“Look at the gas on Mike Lowry.” 🏃♂️💨
That is just sensational from the @UlsterRugby full-back!
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 4, 2021
Plenty of Ulster players found plenty of success against a weak Harlequins effort, but Michael Lowry’s show of skill and pace to score a sensational try outshone his teammates on the day.
For Connacht, Paul Boyle was tireless with the ball in hand, and showed great awareness and speed to score a try from 30 metres out late on against Leicester.