Foden on fire
Will Greenwood salutes Perpignan and the electrifying Ben Foden after round six of the Heineken Cup.
Last Updated: 26/01/11 1:29pm
Eight teams are left standing after six spectacular rounds of the Heineken Cup. Leinster flexed their Irish muscles and certainly look like the team to beat however no doubt Leicester will have something to say about that.
Northampton fully deserve their unbeaten record in the Pool stages after beating Castres and they will be confident as they host Ulster at Milton Keynes. Toulouse have chosen to do it the hard way as they threw away a home quarter-final and will now have to travel to Biarritz in one of two all French affairs. The other sees new boys Toulon travelling to Perpignan who look in ominous form.
But before that there was the matter of round six and as well as analysing all the action on the Rugby Club, Will Greenwood casts his eye over all the action and selects his Heineken Cup picks... Here is what he liked, and didn't like, in the final round...
A straight win would have given Perpignan one of the best placed runner-up spots but they wanted more than that and put the Scarlets to the sword in brutal fashion. The free-flowing Welsh outfit had hopes of their own but could not match the power or the pace of the Catalans giants.
Player: Ben Foden
Northampton were superb as they went through the Pool stages unbeaten. Foden was once again at the heart of everything they did well. His soft hands saw Joe Ansbro in for a try and he scored himself. It is difficult not to get excited when Foden is looming up in the line, he makes things happen and the electricity he brings gets most of us to our feet
Try: Ben Foden
Some superb hands as Northampton broke from the back of a ruck. Ansbro picked up a lovely reverse pass from Dylan Hartley and broke out of a tackle inside his own half. A desperate ankle tap brought him down just inside Castres' 22 but Foden was on hand to take up the cause - he glided past one defender before showing great strength to power through the desperate cover defence.
Moment: Shane Williams back on the pitch
The Ospreys were lacking in all departments against Toulon before Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Jerry Collins came off the bench to give them that much needed intensity and direction. Williams' presence was immediately felt in the backline as he created the space and drew the defence before a clever switch pass saw Nikki Walker go over for the try. Like Foden, Williams is a player we all love to watch; it's great to have him back on the paddock.
As far as villains of the pool rounds go well I spoke about the Ospreys and Wasps last week. They must be kicking themselves after recording wins in the final round. Bath must also be added to that list for their sorry home performances.