Six Nations: Team of the Week

Date published: February 8 2016

With the dust having settled on Round 1 of the Six Nations, we take a look back over the three matches to select our Team of the Week.

The winners on Saturday were France and England while Ireland and Wales played out an entertaining draw on Sunday in a decent weekend.

Let’s see who made our team…

Six Nations: Team of the Week

15 Liam Williams (Wales): Came into the run-on side on the matchday, as a late replacement for the injured Gareth Anscombe, and made full use of his opportunity. Williams was Wales’ most dangerous attacker, gaining 90 metres from 19 carries with one defender beaten. Edges out Scotland’s Stuart Hogg and England’s Mike Brown who impressed in attack and defence respectively at Murrayfield.

14 Jack Nowell (England): Eddie Jones likes what he sees from the Exeter star and the way he took his chance when it arrived on Saturday deserves applause. Nowell, edging George North and Hugo Bonneval, switches wings here after his solid effort gets him the nod.

13 Jonathan Davies (Wales): Made a fine return to the Test arena after a lengthy injury lay-off as he kept Ireland’s defenders busy with some superb attacking runs. Crossed the advantage line on a several occasions, winning 36 metres in the process and did little wrong in defence with nine tackles. Italy centre Michele Campagnaro also impressed and deserved his try against France in Paris.

12 Jamie Roberts (Wales): Resumed his midfield partnership with Davies and the duo complimented each other well. Roberts put Davies through the gaps on a few occasions but it’s in defence that he made his biggest impact with 20 meaningful tackles made. Roberts also proved himself to be a willing ball-carrier, winning 25 metres from 11 carries. Beats out the solid Owen Farrell of England.

11 Virimi Vakatawa (France): That was a decent international debut for a player who has spent the last couple of seasons in the Sevens game. While greater tests will come, 63 metres and a well-taken try from the powerful wide man is an admirable start in blue.

10 Carlo Canna (Italy): Have Italy found a long-term option at fly-half? His performance in Paris certainly hints at that as Canna got the full house – a try, conversion, penalty and drop-goal – in an assured display. Canna sees off opposite number Jules Plisson.

9 Conor Murray (Ireland): Provided excellent service to his backs and varied his play well by also bringing in his forwards with clever offloads which got Ireland over the advantage line, especially during the first-half when they were dominant for large periods. His sniping breaks around the fringes of the rucks and mauls proved a handful for Wales and was rewarded with a well-taken try in Dublin.

8 Billy Vunipola (England): Three names jumped onto the shortlist for our number eight and they were Taulupe Faletau, Sergio Parisse and Vunipola. Faletau was excellent going forward for Wales while Parisse was his usual talismanic self for the Azzurri as both got a try to their name. However Vunipola, despite not scoring, was outstanding for England with five defenders beaten for 51 metres in attack.

7 John Hardie (Scotland): Despite not being the biggest back-row around, Hardie uses his pace and power to good effect on a rugby field, which England found out on Saturday. He made thirteen tackles and offered plenty with ball in hand as he gets our seven shirt.

6 CJ Stander (Ireland): The Munster stalwart has hogged the headlines after a fine display on his Test debut, and rightly so. Stander delivered a fine display, gaining 38 metres from 23 runs with one clean break and a defender beaten. Also did well on defence with 12 hits and stole a Welsh ball at a line-out. Soon will come a big question for Joe Schmidt when Sean O’Brien and Chris Henry are fit.

5 George Kruis (England): Scored the all-important first try of the game at Murrayfield with a powerful carry and went on to make an impressive sixteen tackles. Kruis has had an outstanding first half of the season at Saracens and England will hope this form continues.

4 Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales): Was one of the stars of Wales’ forward effort especially in defence where he put his body on the line, making 16 hits. Jones was also a willing carrier and his battle with his Irish lock Devin Toner was a highlight of the Dublin clash.

3 Samson Lee (Wales): Willem Nel again caught our eye around the field while Dan Cole was also impressive in an 80-minute effort. But Lee was a rock for Wales at the scrum as the visitors dominated the set-piece. At 23, this tighthead prop has plenty more caps to come.

2 Dylan Hartley (England): All eyes were on Hartley’s temperament on Saturday and despite one moment when he overstepped the mark with referee John Lacey, it was a solid game from the new England captain. One match, one trophy; but Hartley knows he’ll be targeted.

1 Rob Evans (Wales): The Test rookie did well against Ireland, especially in the scrums where he held his own against Nathan White. Evans also impressed in the loose and worked hard at the coalface of the Welsh forward effort, particularly as a defender where he made 13 tackles. He beats out Ireland’s Jack McGrath who was his usual busy self around the field as his stock continues to rise.