Six Nations Team Of Round One

Six Nations Team Of Round One

The Six Nations returned with a bang this weekend as France, Wales and Ireland celebrated victories while England suffered from a very slow start, Italy suffered their 23 consecutive loss in the competition and Scotland came close against Ireland.

There were a number of outstanding performance all round making some of the calls incredibly close.


Italy and England don't feature in the side at all with England really disappointing after their run to the World Cup Final last year. Joe Marler and Johnny May were the two standouts for the World Cup runners up while an improved second-half showing from George Ford does earn him a mention.

  


1. Rory Sutherland - Scotland

There were a number of positives that Scotland could take away from their defeat to Ireland and the performance from Rory Sutherland is definitely one of them.


The Edinburgh loosehead's inclusion in the starting line up did raise a few eyebrows but he played a big part in disrupting Ireland’s scrum against the experienced Tagh Furlong while a brutal carry into Dave Kilcoyne epitomised his game.

As mentioned before, Joe Marler is unlucky not to make the side as he was one of England's best on Sunday while Cian Healy was particularly impressive around the park.

2. Rob Herring - Ireland

Stepping out of Rory Best's shadow and shinning in his first start since his former captain retired. Herring was accurate, busy and solid for Ireland on Saturday in a massive 72-minute shift.

His accuracy at the lineout was a concern for Ireland but he was flawless. He got around the pitch well, highlighted by his chasing down of Adam Hastings and earning a penalty before the break while the only concern for the next game will be Ireland's faltering at the scrum.

His opposite number, Fraser Brown, also had a strong game despite some ill-discipline while Julien Marchand impressed on his first start for Les Blues. 

3. Zander Fagerson

Fagerson joins his fellow country in the front row as Peter de Villiers' work with the Scottish pack paying early dividends. 

Scotland's pack was excellent on Saturday and Fagerson was at the heart of it, he won a penalty off Cian Healy at the first scrum in the 14th minute.

He lasted a whole 72 minutes and hardly looked as if he would slow down throughout that.

Mohamed Haous was wonderfully solid for France while Dillon Lewis put in a handy shift against Italy.


4 Bernard Le Roux - France 

Along with his fellow South African in the second row, Le Roux played a big role in France's stunning win over England.

He topped the tackle count with 22, carried well, disrupted the breakdown and England's lineout in a brilliant performance.

He sees off the incredibly busy Scott Cummings to a place in the side with Maro Itoje blowing hot and cold in Paris.

5. James Ryan - Ireland

It's hard to think of a test match where James Ryan hasn't hit double digits in both the tackle and carry categories and the game against Scotland was no different.

He was also excellent in the lineout, hit rucks superbly and made the crucial tackle before Stander won a penalty ultimately sealing the victory. 

Jonny Gray was just as busy making an incredible 22 tackles in just 64 minutes while there Alun-Wyn Jones hit his usual highs and Paul Willemse stepped up for France.


6. CJ Stander - Ireland

Stander packed down at blindside for all of 15 minutes before debutant Caelon Doris departed the pitch but we move the powerhouse forward to the side of the scrum to accommodate the excellent Gregory Alldritt.

Stander was excellent in his man of the match performance smashing defenders backwards with his ball carries, doing the same on defence and coming up with a few key pilfers.

A massive performance from the Munster man who sees off Francois Cros and Aaron Wainwright to a place in the side.



7 Justin Tipuric - Wales

Charles Ollivon made a strong claim to the jersey as he became the first captain to score two tries in a Six Nations game since Gareth Thomas in 2006.

But the fact that Justin Tipuric was named man of the match in a game that his back's stole the headlines highlights just how crucial he was.

Tips was excellent on defence, a menace at the breakdown and played a major role in Wales superb attacking performance.




8. Gregory Alldritt - France

What a game the Frenchman had!

He was sublime on defence making a massive 17 tackles and pilfered over the ball at key times -notably before halftime.


A real thorn in England's defence he seemed to make metres every time he touched the ball and was deservedly named man of the match.


Taulupe Faletau was strong in his first game back while Tom Curry did have flashes of brilliance for England but didn't seem at home in the #8 jersey.

  

9. Antoine Dupont

Tomos Williams certainly ran the Frenchman close to a place in the side but it was all confirmed on Sunday as Antoine Dupont raced through the English defence.

He pulled the strings superbly, his service was excellent and his tackle on Willie Heinze in the 77th minute was just the icing on the cake. 



An early clearance before the clock was up, that allowed England to claim a losing bonus point, was the only blemish on his outstanding game.

10. Dan Biggar

Romain Ntamack continued to play beyond his years and George Ford's improved second half did get England within touching distance but it was a Biggar masterclass that takes the 10 jersey.


That Carlos Spencer inspired pass summed up an excellent game from the Welshman but it was far from the only thing he did well against Italy.

He mixed his game up well with his kicks, made a crucial tackle to stop an Italy break and run a superb attacking game.

Jonathan Sexton deservedly earned the praise of his new boss and deserves a notable mention.

11. Josh Adams - Wales

Hard to pick anyone else for the left-wing spot than the poacher who grabbed three against Italy.

He did well to finish all three tries, darting in after a lovely set move for the first, managing to stay infield from Dan Biggar's through the legs pass for the second and ran a neat hard line to crash over from close range for the third.

Teddy Thomas was back to some of his old tricks for France and Elliot Daly did well to put Johnnny May away for a try for England but it was always going to be only one man for this jersey.

12. Bundee Aki - Ireland

The #12 jersey could quite easily have gone to Gael Fickou who captained France's defence on Sunday making a huge 19 tackles but Bundee Aki did just enough the day before to keep him out.

Powerful carries, good link up play and some excellent work in the breakdown is a trademark performance from Aki and his performance on Saturday was exactly that.

He also threw in some clean footwork, an offload and 40 running metres for good measure.

13 Nick Tompkins - Wales



The #13 jersey could have quite easily have gone to either George North or Nick Tompkins with the pair switching the responsibility throughout the game.

However, it's the debutant who grabs the jersey as he made an immediate impact for Wales and looked as if he was ready-made for the highest level.

A nice pass to Leigh Halfpenny lead to Josh Adams' first try of the game and that was just the start of a wonderful performance where he also grabbed his first test try.



14. Vincent Rattez - France

Jonny May is incredibly unlucky to miss out altogether but is rookie error to not play to the whistle lead to a try for Charles Ollivon, assisted by the man that beats him to a place in the side.

Rattez impressed on his first start after coming in for the injured Damian Penaud. He marked his first start with a wonderful try and made over 60 running metres and beat 5 defenders in a performance that will surely lead to more minutes in the Blue jersey.

15. Anthony Bouthier - France

Leigh Halfpenny proved his class against Italy and could well have made the side, and is incredibly unfortuante not to, but the former builder and test debutant Anthony Bouthier claims the final spot.

Bouthier was playing in the PROD2 last season with Vannes before Montpellier came knocking at his door and luckily for France they did as the 27-year-old looked assured and right at home at test level.

He was sublime under the high ball, covered the backfield with a veteran pedigree and was even better with his boot.



 

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