Six Nations Team of the Week: France dominate after dismantling Scotland

Colin Newboult
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Now that the dust has settled on the third round of the Six Nations, it is time to announce the Planet Rugby Six Nations Team of the Week.

Team of the Week on Planet Rugby is sponsored by, the Official Travel Agent for Rugby World Cup 2023. Join them in France for an unforgettable tournament with England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales fixtures available, as well as knockout fixtures including the Rugby World Cup Final itself. Packages include an official match ticket and a minimum two nights hotel accommodation at a handpicked hotel.

Six Nations Team of the Week

15 Michael Lowry (Ireland): It wasn’t actually the greatest Irish performance, given that they were against 13 men for most of the match, but Lowry showed up very well. On his international debut, the Ulsterman looked right at home, scoring two tries and unselfishly providing the assist for James Lowe’s second when Lowry could have touched down for a hat-trick. Elsewhere, England’s Freddie Steward was utterly commanding under the high ball and continues to provide solidity at the back for the Red Rose.

14 Damian Penaud (France): The wing had struggled a bit for form in 2021 but he is very much back to his best and enjoyed his time at Murrayfield on Saturday. He set up Jonathan Danty’s important try with an excellent run and kick down the right, a score which gave Les Bleus some breathing space early in the second half, and then completed their win by crossing the whitewash twice.

13 Gael Fickou (France): To a degree the Racing 92 centre goes a bit under the radar, especially when you consider the consistently excellent performances he brings week in week out. Fickou is France’s linchpin in defence but he also offers so much more than that. We loved the way he stepped into scrum-half to maintain their quick ball for Les Bleus’ first try and then he showed his pace and balance for the decisive try on the stroke of half-time. He links things well and is probably the team’s second most important player in the backline, behind Antoine Dupont.

12 Jonathan Danty (France): One of the skills of Fabien Galthie and the current French set-up is to get the best out of previously unfulfilled talents. Danty has been earmarked as a star for a while now but it is only under the current regime that the gargantuan centre truly thrived. His size and pace is an obvious asset but, like Fickou, he has developed real rugby intelligence. Danty is exceptional at the breakdown and has a decent passing game, as evidenced by his assist for Penaud’s first try, which means he takes the slot from England’s Henry Slade.

11 Alex Cuthbert (Wales): With the performances of both the Welshman and Penaud, we had to include both, so Cuthbert shifts over to the left wing. His inclusion in the Wales team had been criticised, particularly with him taking the position of ‘boy wonder’ Louis Rees-Zammit, but he answered those questions emphatically. On the occasion of his 50th cap, the wing caused England all sorts of problems and ended with a staggering 188 metres from 17 carries. He easily beats out Yoram Moefana (France) and James Lowe (Ireland) to get in the XV.

10 Marcus Smith (England): Another impressive display from the talented 23-year-old, who kicked six penalties and controlled the game nicely for the most part. He also combined well with Harry Randall and looked dangerous on attack at times, almost breaching the Welsh defence on several occasions. To the visitors’ credit, they did well to stop the English from only scoring one try but it was a struggle to contain the talents of the Harlequins man.

9 Antoine Dupont (France): Back on form after a couple of, by his extremely high standards, slightly subpar displays. Dupont inspired his team early on, producing the run which led to Paul Willemse’s early try, and continued in that vein throughout his time on the field. His service was sharp, decision-making was typically excellent and the scrum-half was also strong in the tackle, as evidenced by his stunning hit on Stuart McInally.

8 Alex Dombrandt (England): This was perhaps the hardest position to choose from with strong outings from Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Gregory Alldritt (France) and Caelen Doris (Ireland). Dombrandt’s opportunistic try from a Welsh overthrow combined with his relentless defence won the spot however. The Harlequins forward also excelled as a ball carrier, taking it up the most on the team and coming just four metres short of 100 on the day.

7 Rory Darge (Scotland): If you ignore the crushing defeat, which is very hard to do, Darge had the debut of dreams for Scotland. He carried often and well, picking great lines which resulted in 76 metres from his 14 opportunities. His work rate at the breakdown and when pursuing a ball carrier was also commendable and surely this performance spells the end of Darge’s bench days for Gregor Townsend. Mentions go to Francois Cros (France) and Michele Lamaro (Italy).

6 Peter O’Mahony (Ireland): Sunday was the Munster man’s ninth outing as Ireland captain and saw him instrumental in the first try whilst scoring the bonus-point winning try himself in the corner. He put in a strong case to Andy Farrell for more regular starts after laying down a statement performance in every facet of the game in the lopsided affair. Anthony Jelonch (France) and England’s Courtney Lawes also went well.

5 Maro Itoje (England): Although Smith won man of the match, we believe that the real star of the day was Itoje, who was invaluable for England on multiple levels. From the set-piece he was deadly in the air (and somewhat lucky with the referee’s calls), proving how valuable lineouts are to a lock’s repertoire. Itoje also stole the ball three times from downed Welshmen to make sure they were seldom able to capitalise from a strong attacking performance.

4 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland): Beirne’s freakish athleticism was on show versus Italy through his surprising speed, which carried him through the Italian gain line time and time again. Alongside the try-scoring Ryan Baird, the Irish lock pairing were about as mobile as it gets. Throughout Beirne’s 62 minutes he played a characteristically strong game.

3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland): Sadly there will be none of the weekly praise for Furlong’s scrummaging due to the uncontested scrums, but there will be applause for his 100% tackle success from his nine and success rucking. Furlong also carried well as usual in a typically Tadhg performance.

2 Julien Marchand (France): France’s number two put down another performance to strengthen his claim to being world rugby’s greatest hooker versus Scotland. His flanker-esque ability at the breakdown made him a menace for Scottish forwards and his set-pieces were on point also. Marchand was also able to damage the bruised home defence with his powerful running.

1 Cyril Baille (France): Baille was nothing short of incredible for France in their annihilation of Scotland. His super soft hands paired with bulldozing carrying proved to be the stuff of nightmares for would-be-tacklers once more. Statistically, he carried for 30 metres all day and missed none of his nine tackles. Baille, take a bow, as he gets in over England’s Ellis Genge and Italy’s Danilo Fischetti. are delighted to be an Official Travel Agent for Rugby World Cup 2023. Join us in France for an unforgettable tournament with England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales fixtures available, as well as knockout fixtures including the Rugby World Cup Final itself. Packages include an official match ticket and a minimum two nights hotel accommodation at a handpicked hotel.


Planet Rugby's Team of Round Three

France dominate selection after they powered to an exciting win in Scotland.