Team of the Week

Where last week we had numerous players at virtually every position to consider, this week we found ourselves scrambling for options. In some cases players simply weren’t selected, and those that were were for the most part unconvincing. It leaves us with an unusual and somewhat unique team.

For the first time ever we’ve selected a player from the Houston SaberCats of Major League Rugby. It’s not the first time we’ve selected players from future MLR sides – Glendale players have made the grade on several occasions – but it’s the first time a player from an actual MLR side has earned selection.

1 – Carlos Muzzio (Mont-de-Marsan) A replacement who had two entrances in the game, the first as a temporary sub in the first half and then as a permanent one at halftime. Barged his way over for a try in the second half to save a bonus point for his team. Luciano Leibson scored the game-winning try for Independiente against Santboiana.

2 – Agustín Costa Repetto (Colomiers) His team came up just short to Perpignan but held in long enough to come away with a bonus point despite playing almost half the game with only 14 men! The veteran rake earns his third straight selection to the team for another impressive 80 minute performance. Must be getting daily cryotherapy during the week to recover!

3 – Damian Arias (Montauban) It’s fair to say that Montauban were the better side at Stade Sapiac. They led 45-0 at the break en route to a shocking 73-0 result over Vannes, an horrendous showing from the visitors. Arias could do no wrong, enjoying a field day before calling it a day just before the hour mark.

4 – Samu Manoa (Toulon) A stirring performance from the home side Bath earned the plaudits but the big American deserves a pat on the back. Barged into traffic with ball in hand and was on deck to receive Guilhem Guirado’s offload for a try on the end of Ma’a Nonu’s line break.

5 – Mariano Galarza (Gloucester) It didn’t take long for the towering lock to return to full form. He was outstanding in all facets during the 69-12 hammering of Zebre on Saturday. Pumas selectors will have taken note with rampant speculation that Galarza will return to Argentina in June.

6 – Adam Lee (Richmond) It wasn’t a great day for his club as they fell heavily to Connacht Eagles in Galway, but it did give the former University of La Plata flanker a chance to start and he managed to find his way to the line in the second half. His try was the only on the day for Richmond, who opted to field a reserve side in the British & Irish Cup fixture.

7 – Facundo Isa (Toulon) Singled out by Bath as a danger man, he was always met with multiple defenders but his work rate remained immense. Had nearly twice as many carries as the next best player from either team and was also the leading tackler for Toulon.

8 – Juan Cruz Ferrere (Barcelona) The San Isidro Club export has been the definition of an impact sub this season. Came on with 25 minutes to play and scored two tries, one a sensational line break that saw the big man step the fullback on a 30 metre gallop. The second came from a rolling maul. VRAC got the win but Ferrere’s input earned a four-try bonus point.

9 – Juan Manuel Lescano (Ordizia) We’ll call it a draw. On the field anyway. The snappy Argentine rolled up his sleeves and directed his team back from a 14-point deficit to finish 24-all against Alcobendas. Rosario’s Pedro Imhoff might have been in the conversation had the game against Mar del Plata not been called off at halftime due to inclement weather.

10 – Ignacio Poet (Independiente) His brother Sebastián had a respectable showing for Colomiers but the younger Poet gets the plaudits this week. Three conversions, two penalty goals, and one try for 17 points in all to lead his team to a one-point victory over Santboiana.

11 – Jeff Hassler (Ospreys) Not quite as influential as he was a week ago but the Canadian winger continued his strong form to help rub salt in Northampton’s wounds at the Liberty Stadium. Provided a foil for fullback Dan Evans and had several runs that kept his side on the front foot.

12 – Nicolás de Battista (Cornish Pirates) The Pirates had lost both of their Canadians Matt Evans and Brett Beukeboom by halftime, but their Argentine stayed the course. A second half try was part of an impressive 38-10 win over visiting Scarlets Select at the Mennaye.

13 – Marcelo Bosch (Saracens) He won’t be cheering as Sarries lost for an unprecedented 7th consecutive week but six of those defeats have been within one score. Bosch was one of his team’s better performers as they ran Clermont painfully close at one of the most intimidating venues in Europe – Marcel Michelin.

14 – Lucas Martín Caneda (Charente) Played a significant role in the upset win over the second-place team in the division Mont-de-Marsan. Often came in off his wing to look for work, appearing at first receiver twice to create the space for Kimami Sitauti to score their only try.

15 – Zach Pangelinan (Houston SaberCats) An historic first! The Guam native enjoyed a fine game for the SaberCats as they wrapped up their 2017 schedule with a 21-5 win over Dallas Reds in tricky conditions on Saturday. Pangelinan nailed all three conversions and set up a score for Josua Vici in the first half. A good day at the office for the lively fullback who has returned to Eagles contention over the past few months and is set for a big year in 2018.

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