Premiership Rugby

Investec Champions Cup: Round 3 Team Of The Week

Investec Champions Cup: Round 3 Team Of The Week

We take a look at the best 15 players from Round 3 of the 2023-2024 Investec Champions Cup.

Jan 15, 2024
Investec Champions Cup: Round 3 Team Of The Week

The Investec Champions Cup came back with a bang this weekend, delivering a healthy slab of rugby entertainment to fans, as the competition edged one step closer to the knockouts.

The Northampton Saints opened the weekend with a dominant display against Bayonne, Toulouse and Leinster followed that with big dubs Saturday and then La Rochelle and Bordeaux Begles closed out the round with wins at home.

Numerous players grabbed the headlines for their performances, but only 15 could make the FloRugby team of the round.

1. Fin Baxter (Harlequins)

Nowadays, props last about 50 minutes before being substituted. 

That wasn’t the case for Harlequins up-and-comer Fin Baxter, who lasted over 75 minutes in a stirring performance against Cardiff. He even managed to get on the scoresheet after reacting quickest to a loose ball.

2. Peato Mauvaka (Toulouse)

There were plenty of standout performers for Toulouse in its romping of Ulster, though no forward shone brighter than Peato Mauvaka. 

The hooker scored twice and linked up with Antoine Dupont brilliantly, on one instance unleashing his scrum-half with an audacious no-look pass.

3. Thomas du Toit (Bath)

Bath had to really work for its bonus-point win over Racing. However, it did dominate the scrum, thanks to the tidy work of Thomas du Toit, whose precision meant most penalties swung Bath’s way. 

The prop also scored his side’s only try of the first half, which crucially kept them in the contest.

4. Thomas Ahern (Munster)

Thomas Ahern covered every blade of grass in Munster's important win over Toulon. 

While his work rate is worth celebrating, it’s his finish in the second half that really deserves commendation. Not only did Ahern collect a cross-field kick, he proceeded to run through Dan Biggar to dot down in the corner.

5. Emmanuel Meafou (Toulouse)

Toulouse didn’t just dominate Ulster with the skill of its backline, it outmuscled its Irish counterparts, and Emmanuel Meafou was pivotal to it all. 

The hulking second row is almost impossible to bring down, and he managed to thunder his way over to score by the sticks.

6. Paul Boudehent (La Rochelle)

Much like Ahern, Paul Boudehent’s heat map was red-hot in Round 3. 

The La Rochelle flanker was at the heart of his side’s trademark power plays in the midfield and appeared at almost every breakdown, supporting his forwards, while also disrupting everything the Leicester Tigers generated.

7. Tom Pearson (Northampton Saints)

Hat tricks are a scarce commodity for forwards, but Tom Pearson made it look like an everyday occurrence against Bayonne. 

While his first score ultimately came from a Bayonne lineout error, the other two were built around his dominance in the contact area, which no Bayonne defender could match.

8. Caelan Doris (Leinster)

Another big carrier over the weekend was Caelan Doris. 

The Leinster No. 8 wreaked havoc upon Stade Francais, scoring two tries from short range, though it was his barreling run in the first half, helping set up Josh van der Flier, that earns him this spot. 

Doris was palming off tacklers like they were half his size.

9. Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)

What’s there to say about Antoine Dupont that hasn’t already been said? 

The sensational scrum-half nabbed two tries, made 20 carries throughout the match and lit up the contest whenever he had the ball. He’s a dream to watch and arguably the best player in the sport right now.

10. Matthieu Jalibert (Bordeaux Begles)

Bordeaux Begles’ nine-try romping of former champion Saracens was a showcase of clinical attacking rugby at its very best, and right at the heart of the performance was Matthieu Jalibert. 

Whether he was assisting tries with delayed offloads, floated miss-passes or stepping defenders to break the line, he was simply unplayable.

11. Leolin Zas (Stormers)

It was the pace of the Stormers that ultimately upended Sale Sharks, and Leolin Zas was the primary architect. 

The winger was in fine form, scoring on either side of the break to give the home side the win. 

His first score came from a brilliantly cut line, while his second originated from his blistering acceleration past a helpless tackler.

12. Yoram Moefana (Bordeaux Begles)

Any great fly-half needs an inside center they can trust. Jalibert has Yoram Moefana, who possesses the perfect balance of attacking awareness and physicality. 

He may not have got on the scoresheet, but nonetheless, Moefana was at the heart of most Bordeaux breaks, cutting dummy lines and offloading at the opportune moment to create space out wide.

13. Garry Ringrose (Leinster)

Garry Ringrose is playing some of the best rugby of his career at the moment and rightly deserves all the plaudits. 

He perpetually splintered the Stade defense Saturday, handing the ball off to James Lowe for his try, releasing a cross-field kick for Dan Sheehan’s score and breaking the line to set Jordan Larmour up.

14. Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)

Tommy Freeman got his try early on, smartly catching a bobbling ball to put the Northampton Saints ahead early. However, it was his faultless running with the ball in hand that set him above others on Friday night. 

Freeman had the timing and precision to cut through the Bayonne defense and the strength to ride tackles, even when he was doubled up.

15. Romain Buros (Bordeaux Begles)

Few fullbacks have been as clinical as Romain Buros in the Champions Cup this season. 

The 26-year-old grabbed another try over the weekend, running a tight inside line off Jalibert’s shoulder and complementing the riches of the Bordeaux backline with some brilliant offloads.