Six Nations Team of the Weekend: Round Two
After some quality attacking rugby and colossal defence in this weekends matches, Sam Tremlett was once again tasked with deciding who made it into the Team of the Weekend. What do you think of his selections?
Six Nations Team of the Weekend: Round Two
With some great attacking rugby, combined with some superb defensive displays, round two of the Six Nations provided gripping rugby. So here is Rugby World‘s Team of the Weekend. Let us know what you think of our selections.
1. Jack McGrath (Ireland)
The Ireland loosehead was solid as ever in the scrum and had eight tackles to his name, showing that his work ethic can never be questioned.
2. Ken Owens (Wales)
Owens put in a terrific performance at Twickenham despite shocking conditions. His work as a hooker was brilliant – only one lineout went awry from 15. He also pilfered a couple of turnovers to halt English momentum.
3. Sarah Bern (England Women)
The 20-year-old has been playing tighthead for less than two years but has been quick to become one of the world’s best players in the position. In England’s 52-0 thumping of Wales, Bern not only helped to provide a dominant platform at scrum time but also punched holes in the wide channels with her carrying game – and one such burst led to a try for Leanne Riley.
4. Joe Launchbury (England)
Massive performance, made countless tackles, was frequently carrying the ball into contact and over the gain-line. And who can forget the sublime offload that set up Jonny May for England’s second try. That kind of skill would look right at home in the southern hemisphere, let alone on a cold, rainy day in London.
Related: Talking Points on England v Wales
5. Jonny Gray (Scotland)
Both Gray and Grant Gilchrist gave Scotland go-forward with their carries against France and the directness of their runs allowed the back-line to move the ball wide. Gray made 12 carries in the match – a tally only beaten by Stuart Hogg – and topped the tackle charts from a Scottish perspective too with 13 hits. Brilliant work-rate.
Related: Talking Points on Scotland v France
6. Aaron Shingler (Wales)
Shingler was once again Wales’ best player on the pitch in round two. He was so physical in everything he did against England, whether it be bone-crunching hits – one on Farrell was particularly forceful – or taking the ball into contact. He was a nuisance in the lineout and made a a standout break in the second half.
Brief mention here to Poppy Cleall, who scored two tries in England Women’s demolition of Wales and was Player of the Match for the second week running.
7. Dan Leavy (Ireland)
Yes, Chris Robshaw did have a good game against Wales and Leavy did miss a tackle that led to an Italian try. But, apart from that one mistake, Leavy was everywhere on the pitch. He poached the ball to set up Keith Earls’s try in the first half and was often given the task of taking the ball into heavy contact.
Related: Talking Points on Ireland v Italy
8. Ciara Griffin (Ireland Women)
The new Ireland captain scored a brace of tries in the second half as Ireland beat Italy 21-8 in the Women’s Six Nations. The Irish had a huge advantage up front and Griffin showed great control at the base to score her second from a five-metre scrum.
9. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)
There was much debate about the return of Laidlaw at scrum-half for Scotland in place of Ali Price, but his importance to their win over France cannot be underestimated. Not only did he provide 22 of their 32 points with his boot, but he also added more control to the Scottish game and he even saw out the match at fly-half.
Ireland’s Conor Murray also had a good weekend, winning Man of the Match against Italy despite playing only 50 minutes.
Related: Conor Murray takes lineout
10. George Ford (England)
The England fly-half controlled the game beautifully, particularly with the boot, as he was able to find space with ease. Additionally, when called upon he showed how deft his hands could be in the midfield. His partnership with Farrell is slowly becoming one of the strongest parts of England’s game because they complement each other so well.
11. Jonny May (England)
May had a strong game on the wing against Wales, scoring two tries and hardly putting a foot wrong throughout the 80 minutes. His positioning is always solid and he showed how deadly he can be when glued to the touchline. There are few players who can match him for pace.
12. Owen Farrell (England)
As you would expect, Farrell was well up for the Wales game this weekend, to the point where he was involved in absolutely everything. He controlled the game with Ford, never backed down from contact, and showed excellent vision and skill to kick through to set up May for his first try.
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
Henshaw scored two tries against Italy to continue his good form and was a solid performer across the board. It looks like he suffered a dislocated shoulder in scoring his second try, which will be a big blow for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.
Honorable mentions also to 18-year-old Ellie Kildunne, who put in a fine performance in scoring two tries against Wales Women, and Huw Jones, who looked far more comfortable in the outside-centre berth than he did at 12 last week against Wales. He also picked a superb line for his try.
14. Teddy Thomas
So close to being the hero against Ireland, Thomas once again showed his X-factor against Scotland. His first try was set up by a cracking hand-off and then he ghosted past Finn Russell. He then scored his second after one of his chips through bamboozled Greig Laidlaw, Thomas gathered and scored under the posts.
15. Mike Brown (England)
Wales coach Warren Gatland acknowledged how imperious and dominant England were in the air on Saturday and Brown was the main man responsible for that. The Man of the Match only dropped one or two high kicks the whole game in conditions that were less than favourable.