Six Nations Team of the Week - Round Two

Six Nations Team of the Week - Round Two
The second weekend of the Six Nations thrilled with another entertaining game kicking off proceedings with England beating Italy 41-18 at Twickenham. Saturday's action concluded with another red card in a Wales game as Scotland fell 24-25 at Murrayfield. 
 
 
The weekend's action concluded with a historic 15-13 victory for France as tries from Charles Ollivon and Damian Penaud condemned Ireland to a second straight defeat as France went top of the Six Nations table.
 
 
 
With a number of standout performances across the six teams, we have picked out the best in each position and it was tight.
 
 
 
1.  Wyn Jones - Wales
 
 
Another strong display from the Welsh loosehead Wyn Jones this week against a Scottish side that is quickly becoming renowned for its prowess. Jones did struggle to contain WP Nel at times but he did grab a penalty off of Zander Fagerson. He like France's Cyril Baille, who also had a good game, lasted into the final 10 minutes of their respective games.
 
 
 
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie
 
 
Cowan-Dickie's explosive carries were a sight to behold on Saturday while his set-pieces delivered a near-perfect result with just one dart going astray. He managed to force his way over for a try and continues to put pressure on Jamie George for the starting hooker role. Overall Cowan-Dickie was efficient and effective for the men in white. 
 
Wales' lineout wobbled against Ireland but against Scotland, it was far more accurate with the Sheriff finding his jumper on all but one occasion. He charged around the pitch making his tackles and his carries were strong and effective.
 
 
Cowan-Dickie's performance at the lineout gives him the edge over Julien Marchand who was superb for France but his set-piece wasn't as accurate as Cowan-Dickie. A mention must be made for Luca Bigi who made 18 tackles without missing in a massive 68 minute stint.
 
 
 
 
3. Kyle Sinckler - England
 
 
Kyle Sinckler enjoyed a fantastic return to rugby from his suspension with a man of the match performance against Italy. The English tighthead played a crucial role in England's attack with his passing game impressing and freeing up space for the backs. He also carried strongly to the line and his scrummaging was sharp. A mention has to go to WP Nel who was excellent in the set piece against Wales. 
 
 
 
 
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4. Bernard Le Roux - France
 
 
It's not often that a man that goes to the sin bin makes our team of the week but Le Roux certainly earned his inclusion. He was brutal on defence and played a key role in stall any attacks that Ireland threw at the French. He also made the last tackle of the game with his dominant hit allowing Antoine Dupont the space and time to get over the ball and win the penalty.
 
 
Le Roux edged the likes of England's locks Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill with both players enjoying fine outings against Italy.
 
 
 
5. Jonny Gray - Scotland
 
 
 
Jonny Gray had an excellent game against Wales albeit in defeat. He was effective with ball in hand and as accurate as ever on defence. His current form should earn him at least a spot in the Lions squad if not in the 23. Elsewhere, Paul Willemse had another impactful game on defence for France while Iain Henderson and Tadgh Beirne were solid for Ireland. 
 
 
 
6. Rhys Ruddock - Ireland
 
Not a standout weekend for blindside flankers with the position up for grabs until the final game of the weekend. Ruddock nabbed the jersey over France's Anthony Jelonch but in fact the pair had similar outings for their respective country. The comparisons don't stop at their performance as both players have been overlooked by the national selectors in the past despite their excellent club form.
 
 
Ruddock got the edge over Jelonch for his excellent work at the lineout picking off a steal in the first minute of the game. Both men were busy around the pitch and a lot of their work went unnoticed as they cleared out rucks. 
 
 
7. Charles Ollivon - France
 
 
Arguably the most hotly contested position of the weekend. The clash at Murrayfield produced a fantastic arm-wrestle in the #7 jersey with Justin Tipuric and Hamish Watson enjoying stellar games for the second week in a row. Both were pests at the breakdown, strong defensively and made huge strides with ball in hand. Tom Curry was equally good for England while Johan Meyer was a real pest on the other side of the pitch.
 
However, our pick in the #7 jersey goes to the man that lead his country to their first Six Nations win in Dublin in a decade. Ollivon lead the defence making more tackles this weekend than any other player (20). He also scored a crucial try in the side's victory and won a turnover.
 
 
8. Gregory Alldritt - France
 
 
 
Fronting up to CJ Stander is no easy task but Gregory Alldritt hunted the Ireland no.8 during their clash at the Aviva on Sunday. The 23-year-old has successfully filled the void of Louis Picamoles in the Les Bleus jersey and is quickly adding his own trademark to it. He made over 70 running metres against Ireland, made all 15 of his tackles, won a turnover and was superb with his offloading ability. 
 
 
 
 
The two number 8s in Murrayfield were solid with Matt Fagerson making over 40 running metres from his 14 carries while making all 10 of his tackles. Taulupe Faletau was the top tackler in the clash with 19 tackles while he also made a telling contribution with ball in hand. A mention has to go to Michele Lamaro who was a titan for Italy before being forced off the pitch in the 44th minute. 
 
 
9. Antoine Dupont - France
 
 
Hard not to select Antoine Dupont again. The Frenchman was excellent with his kicking game and his service was swift and effective. He was caught out on possession late on in the game but made up with it by making the crucial turnover that secured the result for France.
 
Ali Price had a few hiccups against Wales but overall his performance was sharp while his try assist for Darcy Graham deserves a mention by itself. Elsewhere, Dan Robson was excellent off the bench for England while Stephen Varney continues to look comfortable at test level and looks certain to have a long bright future with the Azzurri.
 
 
 
10. Callum Sheedy - Wales
 
 
 
A somewhat left-sided choice for the #10 jersey but overall no flyhalf really stood out more than Sheedy. Paolo Garbisi had a few impressive touches while Finn Russell had moments of brilliance but paired them with some errors. Mathieu Jalibert had a similar game to the one Finn Russell had. He had some wonderful touches but threw away a few opportunities with poor passes and had he been more accurate from the tee, the win could have been more comfortable for France.
 
 
 
11. Anthony Watson - England
 
 
Although he played on the right, Anthony Watson finds a place in our team of the week on the left flank. After barely touching the ball in round one, Watson was sensational on attack in round two as he tore the Italian defence to shreds scoring two tries. His jink and speed lead to an excellent first try while he read Italy's attack perfectly to run in a second. 
 
 
Monty Ioane had another strong game in defeat for the Italians with the speedster dotting down for his first test try in the opening stages of the game having been denied a try the week before. He threatened each time he touched the ball and often England needed some last-ditch defending to stop him. Liam Williams was also key to Wales' victory playing both at wing and fullback for the side following Leigh Halfpenny's injury. 
 
 
12. Gael Fickou - France
 
 
Willis Halaholo put in a performance to remember on his test debut for Wales but the simple brilliance of Gael Fickou could not be ignored. He crucially stopped James Lowe from scoring and was excellent defensively throughout the game. He kept Robbie Henshaw quiet throughout the game and linked up well with his handling on point. 60 tests up now for the Frenchman and he shows no sign of slowing down. 
 
 
 
13. Henry Slade - England
 
 
Arthur Vincent looked like an openside flanker at times they way he flew into contact and rucks and despite his excellent performance, he did not do enough to cement his position in our team of the week for a consecutive round. Slade provided England with an attacking spark out wide while he kicked superbly too and was defensively solid. A mention for Chris Harris who was a nightmare for Wales to contain. 
 
 
 
14.  Louis Rees-Zammit - Wales
 
Rees-Zammit gave a glimpse into what we can expect in the future with the 20-year-old producing a wonderful performance for Wales in their victory. He didn't just score a fantastic try to seal the result but he finished the game with a pair of tries and an assist. Having also set up Liam Williams' try, Rees-Zammit has been directly involved in six tries in just five starts for Wales (four scored, two assisted).
 
 
 
He also put in a fantastic kick in the latter stages of the game which pinned Scotland inside their 22. As Wayne Pivac said in the post-match, Rees-Zammit isn't the full package yet but the game at Murrayfield was a marker. "Louis Rees-Zammit is doing some very good things with the ball. He's got things to work on, he dropped a high ball earlier and he wasn't the complete package, but he has scored some really well-worked tries." -  Wayne Pivac.
 
 
 
 
15. Stuart Hogg - Scotland
 
 
 
 
For the second week in a row, the Scottish captain takes the #15 jersey in our team of the week. Although Scotland wasn't able to go back to back in the Six Nations for the first time, Hogg was simply outstanding. Again his kicking game was superb while he took his two opportunities to score well. He was not able to stop Louis Rees-Zammit from scoring the match-winner but there may not be a fullback in world rugby that could have. 
 
Over 100 running metres and six defenders beaten is just a small insight to just how effective he was. 
 
 
Brice Dulin was possibly the unluckiest player to miss out in the team of the week following his man of the match performance against Ireland where he shone in the air, assisted a try and kicked well. The performance from Hogg was just too good to ignore. 
 
 
             
             
           
             
             
           

                     


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