The Six Nations Super Saturday did not disappoint.
A thrilling day in the Six Nations saw Scotland romp their biggest victory in their Six Nations' history thrashing Italy 52-10. The second game of the day saw Ireland claim a massive 32-18 victory over England in CJ Stander's final home game for Ireland. The action was rounded out by the game of the day as Brice Dulin scored a late try to secure a 32-30 victory for France denying Wayne Pivac's men a Grand Slam.
Scotland crushed Six Nations whipping boys Italy with an eight-try demolition in Edinburgh as the ill-disciplined Azzurri suffered a 52-10 defeat. Two tries from hooker David Cherry on his first start, plus a double from Duhan van der Merwe, helped the home side steam to an emphatic win, and Scotland should head to France in good spirits for the finale to their campaign on Friday.
Johnny Sexton scored 22 points as 14-man Ireland saw off England 32-18 at the Aviva Stadium to end their Six Nations campaign on a high. Both sides were out of contention to win the competition heading into the final round of fixtures, but it was Ireland who claimed a third win in a row thanks to first-half tries from Keith Earls and Jack Conan.
Brice Dulin scored a try with the final play after the 80-minute mark to earn France a thrilling 32-30 victory over Wales at the Stade de France that denied their opponents a Grand Slam and keeps their own Six Nations title hopes alive. Wales led 30-20 with 10 minutes to play in Paris and had a one-man advantage after Paul Willemse was sent off, but Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams were both sin-binned in quick succession and that sparked a remarkable turnaround. Dulin touched down in the 82nd minute to secure a victory that leaves France needing another bonus-point win at home to Scotland next Friday – a fixture pushed back due to a coronavirus outbreak in their camp – to finish above Wales.
Following a thrilling day of action, we select our team of the week.
1. Cian Healy - Ireland
While there were a few standout performances on the loosehead side of the scrum it was hard to look past the dominance Irish pack at the Aviva.
Healy dominated in the set pieces after coming off the bench early in the second half. His outing against England sees him beat out the likes of Cyril Baille and Rory Sutherland for a place in the side.
2. Dave Cherry - Scotland
Dave Cherry took his first opportunity to start a test match dotting down twice in well-rounded performance where Scotland were solid in the set pieces. Cherry shone with ball in hand making over 30 running metres and was solid defensively.
While Cherry impressed, the likes of Julien Marchand and Ken Owens were certainly not too far from the XV neither was Rob Herring.
3. Tadgh Furlong - Ireland
One of the players of the weekend, Tadgh was outstanding in the scrum. His dominance over Mako Vunipola forced the veteran English loosehead being subbed at halftime. He too was excellent around the park and got stuck into the English forwards throughout.
4. Tadgh Beirne - Ireland
Another week, another standout performance from Tadgh Beirne in the Irish pack. The Munster man has been in stellar form this Six Nations and continued in that vein on Saturday.
He got through a ton of work on either side of the ball and was once again a threat over the ball claiming three turnovers.
A mention has to go to Romain Toafifenua as well as Adam Beard.
5. Alun Wyn Jones - Wales
It certainly wasn't Alun Wyn Jones' fault that Wales stumbled short of another Grand Slam. The Welsh captain was once again at the heart of Wales' effort in the final game of the day topping the tackle count at the Stade de France with 22.
He also hit double digits in the carry count with 10. Grant Gilchrist also impressed at Murrayfield but Jones was simply too good to ignore.
6. Josh Navidi - Wales
Again the back row positions were extremely contested this week with Josh Navidi edging the likes of Jamie Ritchie and CJ Stander to a spot in the team. Stander impressed in what was his last game for Ireland on home soil while Ritchie was brilliant at Murrayfield was Scotland surged to victory. However, it is Navidi who sneaks into our team of the week after another excellent outing for Wales as he continues his fine run of form since returning from injury. Another well rounded game from the 30-year-old as he scored a try, made 12 tackles and was solid with ball in hand.
7. Hamish Watson - Scotland
All three of the games on Saturday saw a #7 produce a standout performance with Tom Curry standing out for England in their loss, Charles Ollivon and Justin Tipuric both starring for their respective sides but our pick went to the outstanding Hamish Watson. Unfortunately for Watson, Warren Gatland was in Dublin as the Scotsman put in a massive shift on attack. Watson made over 30 running metres and was a pest at the breakdown.
8. Gregory Alldritt - France
Again there wasn't too much splitting the contenders for the #8 jersey in our team of the week with Jack Conan scoring and assisting a try in Ireland's victory, Matt Fagerson producing a tidy shift at Murrayfield and Taulupe Faletau driving Wales forward in France. Faletau and Alldritt's positional battle was something to behold as the pair provided their sides with an outstanding attacking platform. Alldritt gets the slightest of edges over Faletau.
The Frenchman was involved with just about everything good France did and it was his powerful carry that led to his Charles Ollivon scoring that put France within three points of Wales.
9. Antoine Dupont - France
A threat once again, Dupont dotted down for France in the early stages of the clash at the Stade de France. He continued to have a fine day running the French attack that created try-scoring opportunities at will. He was taken off the pitch late on in the encounter but his performance certainly kept France in with a chance. He beat the likes of Gareth Davies and Scott Steele.
10. Jonathan Sexton - Ireland
The Ireland captain was accurate in everything he did at the Aviva as he marshalled Ireland to victory. He didn't miss a beat from the tee while his defence was solid. Sexton also controlled Ireland's attack wonderfully with his cross-kick to Hugo Keenan in the build-up to Jack Conan's try one of the standout moments in his performance.
Notable mentions for the likes of Romain Ntamack and Dan Biggar while Stuart Hogg did not disappoint at flyhalf.
11. Duhan van der Merwe - Scotland
While performances against Italy do need to be taken with a pinch of salt this year, Duhan van der Merwe definitely deserved his place in our team of the week. He made over 140 running metres beating 13 defenders and scored two tries.
12. Gael Fickou - France
The man who assisted the match-winning score for Brice Dulin, Gael Fickou was on top form once again for France as he led his side on defence and ignited the attack.
He made seven carries, seven passes and managed just 24 running metres combining superbly with Virimi Vakatawa.
13. Huw Jones - Scotland
George North and Virimi Vaktawa both had standout games for their respective countries but our pick came down two players. Huw Jones and Robbie Henshaw. Henshaw earned the man of the match award in Ireland's win over England while Huw Jones produced an attacking masterclass against Italy. As mentioned before, performances against Italy, who had arguably their worst performance, do need to be taken with a pinch of salt but against Jones' outing was just too good to ignore.
Over 170 running metres is a ridiculous stat against any team while he was also involved in just about everything good Scotland did.
14. Keith Earls - Ireland
The Irish winger once again showed that class is permanent as he produced an excellent all-round performance against England. He scampered away from the clashes of the English defence to score his first, superbly finished a second before it was chalked off for an earlier knock-on and was solid defensively and under the high ball.
15. Brice Dulin - France
The matchwinner at the Stade de France. Dulin continued his stellar form for Les Bleus as he waltzed in for the match-winning try to end Wales' Grand Slam dreams. Again Dulin was safe under the high ball and sparked France's attack at will with some excellent running lines and good counter-attacking.
🇫🇷 @BriceDulin v Wales #FRAvWAL— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) March 20, 2021
8⃣0⃣ Minutes ⏰
0⃣6⃣ Passes ✋
0⃣1⃣ Offload 👌
1⃣1⃣ Defenders beaten 🕺
0⃣2⃣ Clean breaks💨
8⃣9⃣ Running metres⚡️
0⃣1⃣ Match winning try 🏉
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