Who has Stuart Barnes picked in his dream XV after the latest championship matches?
2022 Six Nations Team of Round Three
From Ireland thumping 13-man Italy in Dublin to England holding off Wales in a frantic second half at Twickenham, there was plenty of drama in round three of this year’s Six Nations.
Of course, France remain on track for a Grand Slam after beating Scotland at BT Murrayfield – and playing some quite brilliant rugby – in the opening match too.
But who were the standout performers? Here former England and Lions fly-half Stuart Barnes selects his dream team from the weekend’s three championship matches. Have a look at who he has picked and let us know what you think.
2022 Six Nations Team of Round Three
15. Freddie Steward (England)
The England full-back dominated the air against a Welsh side who kick well. He was an imposing figure of authority on a day of English indecision.
When he had to make his one-on-one tackle, with Alex Cuthbert striding through the rest of the back-line, he made no mistake.
14. Damian Penaud (France)
As well as Cuthbert played for Wales, there was only one contender for the right wing: Penaud.
If he is not scoring tries for France he is making them with his brilliant running lines and offloading game. A superb centre has matured into a truly rounded, world-class winger.
13. Gael Fickou (France)
When he wasn’t playing parts in French tries with his potent mix of straight running lines and mesmerising hands, he was arcing around the Scottish defence with utter contempt for concepts like organised defences.
The drop shoulder to knock Ali Price out of his way for a try was the ultimate men against boys moment.
12. Jonathan Danty (France)
Eddie Jones must dream of such players. He smashes his way over the gain-line but has a sweet set of hands and one of the best pull-back passes in the world.
He isn’t half-bad without the ball either. A wrecking ball for France in attack and defence.
11. Yoram Moefana (France)
The 21-year-old centre slipped onto the left wing with ease. Positionally he settled quickly into the game while his work-rate in attack was outstanding.
He wears 11 but crops up all over the field as his deserved try on the weekend illustrated.
10. Marcus Smith (England)
England are generating nothing like quick enough possession to unleash their fly-half but even so he was a constant threat on the gain-line and his goalkicking proved decisive when the pressure came on with the Welsh fightback. There is no doubting his temperament.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
The counter-attack from his own 22 just isn’t something scrum-halves are supposed to do – at any level. It led to the first try and gave France confidence.
Who couldn’t play with self-belief when this genius is guiding the team from scrum-half? A league of his own.
1. Cyril Baille (France)
I felt guilty leaving him out of the round two team but with another barnstorming performance in the loose, there was only one possible pick for loosehead this weekend.
Eye-catching in open play, he does all the dirty work and more in the scrums and lineouts. He is world class.
2. Julien Marchand (France)
Baille’s Toulouse team-mate has to play well because of the sheer quality and impact of Peato Mauvaka off the French bench. And how he rises to the challenge and dips, like another flanker over the breakdown.
Then there’s the love of another scrum only a French front-row forward would understand.
3. Uini Atonio (France)
There was a close-up TV shot of some excess flab as he pushed in the scrum. Not the most flattering maybe but imagine being a loosehead trying to shift all that weight.
Played a part in setting solid French foundations, even if he was not as prominent on the charge as usual.
4. Will Rowlands (Wales)
The Wasp stole an English lineout, made a mess of another and carried with commitment all afternoon.
Watch the final desperate Welsh attack with the clock in red as the second-row crops up at least three times as a carrier. He merits inclusion in this week’s team for endurance alone.
5. Paul Willemse (France)
The way he powered over at pace from close range for that epic first French try sums up the extra dynamism the French management has brought to the South African’s game.
He was a presence in the lineout and you just know what he brings to a scrum.
6. Peter O’Mahony (Ireland)
It’s tough to assess the Irish effort against 13 men for the majority of the match, but in the loose the Munster blindside has added an edge to his game to go with his renowned bite in defence and unquestioned excellence at the lineout. In Ireland’s green, he is playing with a real spring to his game.
7. Michele Lamaro (Italy)
The Italy captain played and tackled his heart out in the greatest adversity. He is fast becoming the new Sergio Parisse; the man the media mention when there is nothing else to be said about Italy.
What I am about to write doesn’t fit but what the hell: a mention for prop forward Danilo Fischetti. He was heroic, especially at the breakdown.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
The toughest selection decision. Alex Dombrandt had his best game for England and Gregory Alldritt was his usual excellent self for France, but the Wales No 8 simply got better and better as the game wore on against England.
After so little rugby in so long a time, the performance bordered on the miraculous.
What do you think of Stuart Barnes’s 2022 Six Nations Team of Round Three? Who would you pick? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your views.
Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.