It was Heineken Cup Quarter-Final Weekend and with three Irish Teams involved there was plenty of homegrown talent on show. Here are this week’s Irish Rugby Player Rankings.
Munster annihilated Toulouse at Thomond Park, Ulster narrowly lost to Saracens in a controversial game at the new and improved Ravenhill and Leinster were well beaten by holders Toulon.
(10) Ian Keatley
Many believed that Ian Keatley wouldn’t have the ability to step out of the shadow of Munster great Ronan O’Gara but as the season has gone on the former Connacht and Leinster out half has stepped up the challenge. He was superb against Toulouse.
(9) Tommy Bowe
Bowe has endured an injury nightmare in the last two seasons but looked back to his very best against Saracens. The Monaghan man was Ulster’s biggest attacking threat and will be looking forward to the rest of the season which should finish with a spot in Joe Schmidt’s touring party to Argentina.
(8) Darren Cave
Cave was superb in Ulster’s rear guard action after having Jared Payne sent off early on at Ravenhill. Sterling in defence as always, his attacking link up with teammate Bowe could be something to keep an eye on for the Ireland management.
(7) Simon Zebo
The Munster winger continued his superb form since returning from injury against Toulouse. Lining up against one of the Six Nations’ best wingers, Yoann Huget, Zebo was again under pressure defensively but was outstanding. His performance was capped off with Munster’s fifth try.
(6) Brian O’Driscoll
His Heineken Cup career ended in defeat but O’Driscoll gave everything he had against Toulon. The holders star studded team kept him busy in defence so his attacking opportunities were limited. He won’t get the Heineken send off he perhaps deserved.
(5) Chris Henry
What a season it has been for Chris Henry. Irish honours have been followed by a string of fantastic displays for Ulster and that continued against Saracens. He is going to be a hard man to move from the number 7 jersey when Sean O’Brien returns from injury.
(4) Conor Murray
The Limerick man put his sluggish performance against Leinster firmly behind him with an excellent display against Toulouse. His breaks from the base of the ruck directly led to three Munster tries. Murray is now in the top tier of scrum halves in world rugby and at only 24 years of age will continue to improve.
(3) Cian Healy
Healy was rested in Leinster’s previous game against Munster and it proved to be a good call by their coach Matt O’Connor. The loosehead prop’s contest against Carl Heyman was epic and Healy more than held his own against the former All Black who is regarded as the best tighthead prop in world rugby.
(2) Rob Kearney
Under immense pressure during Leinster’s defeat to Toulon, Kearney’s performance was top notch. He continues to improve with every game he plays and along with England’s Mike Brown is the top full back in world rugby.
(1) Paul O’Connell
The biggest cheer at Thomond Park on Saturday was saved for Paul O’Connell as he scored a try with the final play of the game. The former Lions Captain’s work rate was remarkable and he set the tone for the victory with an early lineout steal.
John Keogh, Pundit Arena.
Read More About: Top Story