As Round 3 concludes and the standings start to paint a clearer picture. Scotland maintained their strong home form to breeze by a disappointing Wales side, Ireland dispatched Les Blues in Dublin & England suffered a first-half scare at home to a rejuvenated Italian side - we take a look at our Team of the Week!
1. Jack McGrath
McGrath highlighted his Lions credentials with another routine impressive performance up front for Ireland.
Considering France had dominated England & Scotland at scrum time, to edge the powerful Slimani & Atonio further enhanced his growing reputation as one of the best LH's in the world.
2. Rory Best
Rock solid at line-out, Best steadied the scrum after a rocky start.
The captain returned from illness to give Ireland valuable solidity and accuracy at set-piece.
3. Dan Cole
Coped adequately once again on his side of the scrum despite some pressure from Andrea Lovotti.
Cole scored England’s opening try of the game and steadied the England scrum following some early Italian pressure.
4. Joe Launchbury
Launchbury led the England revival in the 2nd half. He took on the carrying duties to send Italy on the back foot.
Appears to be growing in confidence at every opportunity. Duly rewarded the man-of-the-match after 14 carries for a gain of 59 metres and one clean break.
5. Jonny Gray
Gray was outstanding in all facets of play, Jonny provided the engine room with increased power.
He carried strongly in attack, completing all his tackles and making 15 carries.
6. Maro Itoje
Made a number of thunderous hits and two steals in the lineout helped disrupt the Italian set-piece.
An early 2nd half hit on Venditti set the tone for the English revival.
7. Hamish Watson
Watson gave Scotland threat with ball in hand. He has been very effective in all three Six Nations fixtures.
Provided Scotland with an incredible impact off the bench and worked hard in the loose for his side & made a strong contribution at the breakdown.
8. Sergio Parisse
The ageless Italian skipper won his 124th cap, Parisse once again displayed all the attributes to show he is one of the best No. 8’s in the world.
Deserved to be on the winning side of this contest.
9. Conor Murray
Man of the match performance from the Munster man. Eagerly injected pace into the game after a slow opening 20 minutes from his side.
His team-mates followed that lead to build pressure leading to his try, a fine snipe to dot home from close range. Kicked beautifully from hand and pegged the French back with a delicious grubber on the 62th minute.
10. Johnny Sexton
Sexton returned to the line up to show how pivotal he is to Joe Schmidt’s side. The trademark loop play was exercised on many occasions which helped to unlock space for the backline.
His timely drop goal and ball striking were sublime.
11. Elliot Daly
Displayed his pace once again to notch his 2nd try in as many matches, unlucky to miss out on a brace after some excellent defensive work from Carlo Canna.
Daly was influential in defence helping to prevent a try by helping to force a knock on in a maul on the England try line.
12. Gael Fickou
The rangy French centre had the most carries for his side with 13. Fickou looked a constant threat with ball, making a clean line break, 13 carries and beating 2 defenders.
The Toulouse centre was a rock in defence completing 9 tackles.
13. Garry Ringrose
Started the game brightly with some nice touches, before ending the 1st half with 13 carries to pile the pressure on Les Blues. His clear out helped pave the way for Murray’s try, while he also helped to deny a French try when dislodging the ball from Yoann Huget.
The Leinster centre rounded off the performance with 6 tackles, a clean break and running for a gain 32 metres.
14. Jack Nowell
Nowell came on after 65 mins to score the bonus-point try for England before adding another score to cap off a fine cameo.
His beautiful foot work and upper body strength helped him to break the line on two occasions.
15. Scott Spedding
The Clermont full-back was a standout performer for France in Dublin. His kicking was superb and he managed the game excellently from deep, regularly pinning Ireland back deep inside their half.
Spedding looked a threat on the counter attack, with his combination of footwork and powerful direct running.