David Flatman has rewarded the grafters this week after several sides fought for hard-earned, enthralling victories in Round 14 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
In Flats’ own image, his XV got through stacks of unheralded work on a weekend where grind was the route to glory.
In Wasps wizard Danny Cipriani and Worcester playmaker Francois Hougaard, he has assembled a fearsome half-back pairing.
Cipriani kicked 14 points from the tee in his side’s 14-man 44-22 triumph over Harlequins against the odds, while Hougaard set the tempo with 83 passes in the Warriors’ narrow win over Exeter Chiefs.
Despite the slender 6-5 margin of victory, Worcester backs Bryce Heem and Ryan Mills make the cut for their exceptional work rate borne out in the numbers.
Kiwi Heem made 82 metres across 11 carriers, while workhorse Mills launched into 14 tackles in the midfield.
Mills is joined in the centre by Gloucester Rugby hero Henry Trinder, whose stunning first-half double put them on their way to an impressive 24-17 win over Leicester Tigers.
Jason Woodward, who made the initial break for Trinder’s opening try, made a round-high 118 metres and is a dependable choice at full-back – while he is also Flats’ Player of the Round.
118 metres made ✔️
7 defenders beaten ✔️
2 clean breaks ✔️
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 13, 2018
Former England man Matt Banahan broke the deadlock in Bath Rugby’s defeat of Northampton Saints, brushing off Ben Foden after a fumble and he makes the side on the left wing.
Bath, Saracens and Wasps dominate the forwards with West Country pair Max Lahiff and Elliott Stooke rewarded for their role in securing their side’s foothold in the scrum.
The Saracens front-row duo of Richard Barrington, who made 17 carries in an all-action display after his first-half try, and Christopher Tolofua make the cut.
Wasps man Thomas Young was withdrawn before the hour mark at the Stoop but oozed effort in each minute, crunching his way to 16 tackles and 54 metres gained.
Brilliant. Fluent. Clinical. @WaspsRugby at their very best 👌
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 12, 2018
Colleague Jack Willis was equally industrious, matching Young with 16 tackles and exceeding him 17 carries.
Gloucester openside Lewis Ludlow completes the XV.
Here is the selection for Flats’ XV for this week!
15. Jason Woodward (Gloucester)
14. Bryce Heem (Worcester Warriors)
13. Henry Trinder (Gloucester)
12. Ryan Mills (Worcester Warriors)
11. Matt Banahan (Bath)
10. Danny Cipriani (Wasps)
9. Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors)
1. Richard Barrington (Saracens)
2. Christopher Tolofua (Saracens)
3. Max Lahiff (Bath)
4. Elliott Stooke (Bath)
5. Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
6. Jack Willis (Wasps)
7. Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester)
8. Thomas Young (Wasps)