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Six Nations: Team of the Week

24th February 2014 12:38

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mike brown duncan weir sam warburton england wales scotland

Key scores: Weir and Warburton

Now that the dust has settled across Europe, it's time to pick out the players who stood out from the crowd in Round 3 of the Six Nations.

Wales rebounded from their thrashing in Dublin to inflict a similar manner of victory over France on Friday in Cardiff.

Scotland scored their first tries of this year's Six Nations and also grabbed a first win thanks to Duncan Weir's last-minute heroics.

Finally, England edged a brilliant contest against Ireland at Twickenham to end their visitors' Grand Slam ambitions.

Six Nations 2014, Team of Round 3

15 Mike Brown (England): That man again. Brown has been England's standout performer and made 82 metres against Ireland, beating five defenders. His clean break in the second half ended with Danny Care's match-winning try and he was a constant threat from full-back, even producing an impressive bit of goalkeeping with a crucial low catch. Outstanding.

14 Jack Nowell (England): Not as effective a runner as Jonny May but Nowell has all the skills. Brilliant under the high ball, fleet-footed and with pace to burn, Nowell beat three defenders and was industrious making 11 carries. For a 20-year-old on his first start at Twickenham, he went very well.

13 Alex Dunbar (Scotland): Two tries for the Glasgow outside centre secured his spot in the team, with two fine finishes putting Scotland on the path to their first win of the Championship. Add in 91 metres and five defenders beaten, his spot was guaranteed.

12 Jamie Roberts (Wales): An exception in Wales' unconvincing performances over the first two rounds, Roberts again carried well in the win over France. Four defenders beaten and 32 metres from eight carries is a very good return.

11 Dave Kearney (Ireland): Had Jonny May managed to dot down for England in the opening ten minutes then this spot would have been his, but Dave Kearney impressed for Ireland in the number 11 jersey. His brother Rob may have scored the try but Dave made 66 metres and beat a couple of defenders along the way as he continues his adaptation to Test rugby.

10 Duncan Weir (Scotland): Facing competition from Tommaso Allan, who scored his first try for Italy, Weir landed that all-important drop goal in Rome to provide Scotland with some much-needed relief following their dismal showing against England. Perfectly executed under great pressure, Scott Johnson may have doubted him but he couldn't ask for more from the 22-year-old.

9 Rhys Webb (Wales): A 50/50 call between the Wales number nine and England's Danny Care, but Webb did extremely well on his first start for his country against France. His tempo was excellent, working the ball quickly away from the breakdown and also putting in his fair share of tackles with nine. Mike Phillips wasn't missed.

8 Sergio Parisse (Italy): Laid the foundation for Allan's try and weighed in with 11 tackles, along with 38 metres from ten carries and beat a couple of defenders. All class, and he deserved better with a result. Ben Morgan did well for England coming off the bench so early for Billy Vunipola and Scotland's Johnnie Beattie was a surprise selection ahead of David Denton, but he caught the eye with ten tackles and 18 carries.

7 Sam Warburton (Wales): Two captains fighting it out for this spot with Chris Robshaw making 16 tackles and providing the key inside ball in the build-up to the Care try, but Captain Sam takes this one. A powerful pump of the legs for his try, 11 tackles and a constant target at the line-out, Warburton brushed his inconsistent form this season to one side as Wales blew France away.

6 Dan Lydiate (Wales): Lydiate took massive criticism following his performance in Dublin after conceding far too many penalties, but he bounced back in Cardiff. 15 tackles made, Lydiate helped quell the French back-row effectively and deserves his place.

5 Joshua Furno (Italy): The long-haired Azzurri lock was everywhere against Scotland, scoring a try and adding an assist with a fine pass for Allan's try. Add that to his 15 tackles and 23 metres from 12 carries, Furno is becoming an integral part of the Italian pack. Locks do not often make three clean breaks in a game. A word for England's Courtney Lawes who again impressed, and also Jake Ball of Wales.

4 Joe Launchbury (England): Perhaps the best performance of the tournament so far. Launchbury is only 22 but he plays like a veteran. His exhaustion at the end was clear to see and rightly so, for the London Wasp made 15 tackles and hit ruck after ruck in a stunning showing. His combination with Courtney Lawes has worked brilliantly. Ireland's Devin Toner also deserves credit for his 14 tackles and five line-outs won.

3 Mike Ross (Ireland): Ireland's scrum won the battle upfront as expected at Twickenham with Dan Cole absent, and Ross was a key part in that. The Leinster tighthead has Martin Moore waiting in the wings but he made 11 tackles here and carried effectively too on a busy afternoon.

2 Rory Best (Ireland): Best missed a handful of tackles but Ireland's line-out ran at 100 percent, winning 16 throws out of 16. The Ulsterman seems to have rediscovered his accuracy. He also make his customary turnovers at the breakdown, working well as an extra back-row forward. Credit to Italy's Leonardo Ghiraldini who weighed in with 15 tackles.

1 Alberto de Marchi (Italy): Had Scotland's Moray Low on toast at the scrum and made 13 tackles, part of an eye-catching 70 made by Italy's tight five. Another good week for the loosehead, who has been linked with Toulon.

by Ben Coles
@bencoles

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