Team of the Week: Six Nations

Date published: February 9 2015

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Now that the dust has settled after Round One of the 2015 Six Nations Championship, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.

Six Nations Team of the Week: Round One

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland): It wasn't the perfect performance from Hogg in Paris, as he put a couple of kicks out on the full and missed one straight-up tackle on Yoann Huget which would have led to a try but for the desperate intervention of Mark Bennett. Still, he was probably the most dangerous player with ball in hand across the opening weekend, constantly making ground, most notably when he left Rabah Slimani grasping at thin air with one early break. Rob Kearney also caused Italy problems when he counter-attacked.

14 Anthony Watson (England): The Bath speedster scored his first Test try in another impressive performance in an eye-catching season so far. The 20-year-old looked dangerous whenever the ball came his way.

13 Mathieu Bastareaud (France): A tough choice here in an outstanding weekend for outside centres. Jonathan Joseph is unlucky to miss out after a top-notch display in Cardiff that included an impressive try while Mark Bennett was excellent in Paris. But 'Basta' was at his bulldozing best, smashing players out the way all evening. Tellingly, he showed great skills in defence too, winning two crucial turnovers.

12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland): He's been talked up as the successor to Brian O'Driscoll, but what this weekend showed was that the talented Connacht centre is a very different sort of player. His powerful, direct running style was a constant threat, and he seemed to get over the gainline at will. Add in the 15 tackles he made in midfield, and it was an impressive display in his Six Nations debut. A little later in Paris Alex Dunbar did a very good job shackling Wesley Fofana although he was less visible in attack than some of his teammates in the three-quarters.

11 Teddy Thomas (France): This was a bit of a selection by default, with no left wingers particularly impressing in Round One. Thomas had few opportunities to really run with the ball, but did manage to make a couple of nice breaks and offloads. His defensive frailties, that were visible in November, were less apparent here and overall it was a solid Six Nations debut.

10 George Ford (England): A mention for Finn Russell, who has a bright future, but Ford gets the nod for guiding the English attack to victory. He also showed he can be trusted to defend his channel and was reliable enoigh from the tee.

9 Conor Murray (Ireland): An injury doubt in the build-up to the tournament, Murray showed none of the rustiness that might have been expected as controlled things for Ireland. With Ian Keatley understandably a little nervous in the biggest game of his career, Murray took charge, and even chipped in with the first try as Ireland completely dominated possession in the second half. In Cardiff Ben Youngs justified his inclusion for England with an accomplished display, linking up nicely with George Ford.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales): The Welsh number eight was the one member of he red-clad pack to emerge with his reputation intact. As the top tackler in Cardiff, he was superb on defence and set up his team's only try with a great offload. A mention too for Faletau's opposite number, and cousin, Billy Vunipola, who was England's chief ball carrier.

7 Tommy O'Donnell (Ireland): Handed the starting spot minutes before the kick-off, O'Donnell took his opportunity with both hands as he helped Ireland to a comfortable opening day win. Beyond his barnstorming run for the second Irish try, he was also tireless in defence, making all 13 of his tackles. He just edges out Chris Robshaw, who was outstanding defensively for England, racking up 26 tackles in a stunning defensive effort. Blair Cowan also shone for the Scots, but gave away too many penalties.

6 James Haskell (England): Many pundits' vote for the player of the weekend, Haskell played one of his best games ever in an England jersey. Combined with the incredible work rate, he's playing smart rugby, and was a real menace for Wales at the breakdown. A mention for Bernard le Roux, who topped the French tackle stats in Paris.

5 Jonny Gray (Scotland): It's becoming clear that the younger Gray brother is going to be the better player, and once again the 20-year-old was absolutely everywhere around the park. With 19 tackles, two lineout steals and countless clearouts, the Glasgow second row was one of the standouts in the Scottish pack. If he continues on this trajectory, he'll be a Lions starter in New Zealand in two years' time.

4 Dave Attwood (England): Much had been made of the big names missing from the England team, but Attwood's performance was testament to the depth of their second-row stocks. Combative and intensely physical, Attwood made his presence felt. A mention for up-and-coming George Biagi, who tackled his heart out in Rome.

3 Euan Murray (Scotland): Arguably the most contentious call by Vern Cotter this weekend was to give Murray the start at tighthead over Geoff Cross. The veteran Glasgow prop didn't disappoint though, playing a role in all of Scotland's points as he earned an early penalty at scrum-time, before delivering the final pass to Dougie Fife for their try. He will be missed against Wales. That Welsh pack arrives at Murrayfield after being given a torrid time by Dan Cole. Barely back from injury, the Leicester prop was outstanding in the set-piece and as much of a nuisance as ever at the breakdown.

2 Guilhem Guirado (France): A tireless effort from the Toulon hooker, who was all over the park and made a telling contribution in the rucks. 10 tackles is a solid effort for a front-rower.

1 Joe Marler (England): Arguably the most highly-anticipated battle of the weekend was between Marler and Wales tighthead Samson Lee. While Cole did more damage on the other side of the scrum, Marler had the edge on Lee in the set-piece, while also playing his part around the park. Jack McGrath also did well, filling in for Cian Healy, but the three penalties he gave away count against him.

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