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Six Nations: Team of the Week

10th February 2014 11:21

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Six nations team of the week 2 2014

Bruisers: Picamoles and O'Mahony

Now that the dust has settled across Europe, it's time to pick out the players who stood out from the crowd in Round 2 of the Six Nations.

Ireland produced the performance of the weekend with their 26-3 win over Wales, and as a result are well represented below.

France rediscovered their attacking flair with three tries against Italy, while England completed a professional job by nilling a terrible Scottish outfit at Murrayfield.

So without further ado, here comes our offering - feel free to select your XV in the comments section below.

Six Nations 2014, Team of Round 2

15 Brice Dulin (France): 101m gained with ball in hand, beating six defenders along the way; that's what you want from a counter-attacking full-back! A big shout out for England's Mike Brown, who made three clean breaks.

14 Andrew Trimble (Ireland): Edging out Yoann Huget is the man from Ulster. A try scorer against Scotland, Trimble backed up that performance with another strong showing against Wales. He made 57 metres from nine carries, good going considering Ireland kicked the leather off the ball, and also beat four defenders. The 29-year-old is enjoying a mini resurgence.

13 Luther Burrell (England): Burrell is quickly maturing at international level under the tutelage of Mike Catt and Andy Farrel in the English camp, and though possession, territory and poor Scottish defence meant he was given a fairly easy time of it at Murrayfield, there are reasons to be hopeful his partnership with Billy Twelvetrees can bear more fruit. With ball in hand, Burrell - still a rookie at Test level - consistently made ground, bagging his second try in as many games, and made more clean breaks than any other player.

12 Wesley Fofana (France): The best 12 in Europe by a long way, Fofana showed his class once again, scoring one excellent try and creating another that was even better. A mention too for Jamie Roberts.

11 Jonny May (England): The conditions and the state of the Murrayfield turf meant this should not have been a day for the wingers, but May was a constant threat whenever the ball came his way. His dancing feet and slalom-style running oft bamboozled a fragmented Scottish defence, and he was second only to Man of the Match Brown in metres gained, with 80 to his name, and a pair of clean breaks. He had almost nothing to do in defence, but, like Burrell, did not miss any tackles.

10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland): The Racing Métro number ten produced a kicking masterclass in Dublin, repeatedly turning Wales back on themselves as they chased Sexton's accurate strikes into the corners. He also went well off the tee, kicking 14 points including the conversion for Chris Henry's important try before half-time. Has sparkled in the two Six Nations matches so far.

9 Conor Murray (Ireland): Danny Care couldn't quite hit the heights of Round One in the Murrayfield bog, so Murray takes the spot this week. Part of Ireland's excellent kicking game that suffocated Wales, Murray also carried industriously - he's not easy to put down at 6ft 3 - and won his battle at the base of the scrum with Mike Phillips.

8 Louis Picamoles (France): When you need to go forward, give it to Louis! The Toulouse monster's try set France on their way to a comfortable win with a typically powerful charge. A mention too for Billy Vunipola, who made a whopping 16 carries for England.

7 Chris Henry (Ireland): Scorer of the crucial try before half-time that converted Ireland's dominance into a 13-0 advantage, Henry has more than ably filled the boots of the absent Sean O'Brien. What Ireland lose with O'Brien's ball-carrying they gain through the phenomenal work-rate of Henry, who made 11 tackles and combined well with Peter O'Mahony and Jamie Heaslip. Henry has had to wait some time for an opportunity but is seizing it with both hands.

6 Peter O'Mahony (Ireland): One of the players of the tournament so far. O'Mahony's work at the breakdown against Wales was outstanding, persistently turning over ball and winning Ireland penalties to kick to touch. The 24-year-old Munster captain is clearly benefiting from his side's excellent domestic form - top of the PRO12 and at home in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals - and he made plenty of tackles, carried well and was a solid receiver at the lineout. Seriously impressive. A mention for Yannick Nyanga for another fine performance.

5 Courtney Lawes (England): Lawes is one of several in this England squad whose Test stock continues to rise. He picked up where he left off in Paris with another bruising defensive effort, making nine tackles, and was a disruptive aerial presence too: he pinched two of the Scots' throws on top of taking 11 of his own. The real barometer to gauge which rung he currently occupies on the international ladder comes in a fortnight's time, when he rekindles his duel with Paul O'Connell and the Irish pack.

4 Pascal Papé (France): The French skipper is a machine. His work in the trenches is phenomenal. The Stade Français lock's contribution in Paris was best illustrated when he muscled through the middle of a dangerous Italian maul and ripped the ball away just before half-time. A mention for Ireland's Devin Toner, who ruled the skies in Dublin.

3 Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy): There were some concerns about the loosehead side of the Azzurri scrum but tighthead Castro made sure the visitors' set piece was rock solid, dominating Thomas Domingo and winning two penalties.

2 Rory Best (Ireland): His broken arm seems very much healed based on Saturday's performance. Best made nine tackles and a handful of carries but it was his lineout work that counted most, with Ireland finishing with a lineout success rate of 94%, winning 16 and losing just one. On such solid foundations are championships won. A mention for England's Dylan Hartley, who similarly operated with a 100% record before he departed against Scotland.

1 Alberto De Marchi (Italy): Selected more for his individual performance rather than a reflection of how Italy fared on the scoreboard, De Marchi caught the eye with his first-half break through the French defence. The Treviso prop, filling the space left by Andrea Lo Cicero, also contributed eight tackles and ended with 46 metres to his name.

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