Six Nations Team of the Week: Ireland wings get the nod while England and France also well represented
Now that the dust has settled on Round Three of the Six Nations, we have gone through the action to pick the best players from the weekend.
England, France and Ireland boast four players apiece in this side, with Italy completing the line-up with three, which means there’s no room for Scotland.
Six Nations Team of the Week
15 Freddie Steward (England): A great weekend for full-backs and Steward was in vintage form for England in Cardiff where he dominated the aerial battle. We might have picked either of Ireland’s Hugo Keenan or skilful Frenchman, Thomas Ramos, but Steward was an influential rock for England.
14 Mack Hansen (Ireland): Two tries and a spirited display from the moustachioed Irishman in Rome gets him the nod on the right wing, with France’s Damian Penaud and Scotland’s Kyle Steyn also looking sharp.
13 Gael Fickou (France): A tough choice at outside centre with Scotland’s Huw Jones and Italy’s Juan Ignacio Brex both in imperious running form, but Fickou was the calm in the Parisian chaos as the centre crossed for a crucial score and was a rock in defence.
12 Ollie Lawrence (England): Finally England appear to have found a centre and Lawrence’s crashing and clattering was a feature of their win in Cardiff. Elsewhere there were strong showings from Scotland’s Sione Tuipulotu and Ireland’s Stuart McCloskey, who was again outstanding in the absence of Robbie Henshaw.
11 James Lowe (Ireland): You’d be forgiven for wondering if Ireland‘s two wingers rock up to a game on a surfboard – and once again Lowe was in fantastic form running for 278 metres. His opposite number, Italy’s Pierre Bruno, and Welsh starlet Louis Rees-Zammit both also impressed despite some less than courageous moments under the high ball from the latter.
10 Paolo Garbisi (Italy): Garbisi’s return to Italian blue produced an outstanding display of running rugby. Elsewhere, Finn Russell‘s passing into space needs to be seen to be believed at times – just ask Ramos. But for that interception he may well have got the nod! France’s cameo specialist Matthieu Jalibert again had a big impact off the bench.
9 Antoine Dupont (France): Dupont’s defence is something often overlooked but he smashed 16 tackles in a tense affair versus Scotland. Up against him, Ben White‘s consistency for the Scots couldn’t be illustrated better than his calm head under pressure in Paris whilst Italy’s Stephen Varney impressed in Rome.
8 Lorenzo Cannone (Italy): It was monumentally hard to leave out the outstanding Englishman Alex Dombrandt, but Cannone again was brutally instrumental for Italy, showing his love of tries from powerful running as he contributed 102 metres and 15 tackles. Jack Conan made some big inroads for Ireland, carrying nine times for 49 metres while Talupe Faletau was also busy.
7 Francois Cros (France): Thrown into the match after Anthony Jelonch went off, Cros was absolutely relentless in defence and carry as he moved between eight and openside all game. His legal destruction of one Scottish maul verged on superhuman and it’s impressive to see him back in this form after his horrendous injury issues. On sentiment as well as performance he’s our Player of the Week. Michele Lamaro and Josh van der Flier both starred for their teams in direct opposition in Rome.
6 Lewis Ludlam (England): This was a toss-up between Ludlam and France’s outstanding Charles Ollivon, who was the absolute heartbeat of France once more as he and Cros played all over the back-row. But Ludlam’s 15 tackles and two turnovers were crucial versus Wales. Seb Negri vindicated his selection once more for Italy in an abrasive shift.
5 James Ryan (Ireland): A massive shift from a massive man up against a superb Italian side, Ryan’s presence was vital for Ireland and he crossed for another wonderful try. Scotland’s Jonny Gray was splendid after being thrown in off the bench in the seventh minute against France and Italy’s Fedrico Ruzza was a tower of power as he made 15 tackles and took eight lineouts against Ireland.
4 Thibaud Flament (France): Flament has big boots to fill in Cameron Woki’s absence but a sterling display in the lineout and a formidable defensive showing, hammering 15 big tackles and two turnovers, means he takes the shirt from England’s improved Maro Itoje and Scotland’s Richie Gray.
3 Kyle Sinckler (England): A really mature display from England’s tighthead as he carried seven times, made 12 tackles and grabbed a vital try. Sipili Falatea put in a massive effort in France as he played 68 thundering minutes whilst Italy’s Simone Ferrari was the pick of the tightheads in Rome.
2 Ronan Kelleher (Ireland): Kelleher’s long extended throws were a crucial part of Ireland’s lineout strategy and he hammered around the pitch in an impressive performance. France’s Julien Marchand is like a fourth back-rower in most games but Les Bleus needed him as a third in this match as he carried nine times for 54 metres and didn’t miss a tackle all afternoon whilst George Turner and Jamie George impressed for Scotland and England respectively.
1 Danilo Fischetti (Italy): A superb performance from the 23-year-old saw him get the better of Finlay Bealham yet still have the energy to make six thundering carries, 13 tackles and a crucial turnover. England’s Ellis Genge was in sparkling form, running hard in Cardiff, whilst France’s Cyril Baille battered the Scottish line tirelessly on seven occasions for an impressive 41 metres and looked back to his scrummaging best.
READ MORE: Six Nations: Two Cents Rugby picks his top five players of Round Three
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