Who makes Jacob Whitehead’s composite team from the opening weekend of championship fixtures?
Six Nations Team of Round One
We had Rome in the sun, Twickenham in the rain and Cardiff in the cold – three intriguing games to open the 2021 Six Nations. Far more entertaining than last autumn’s offerings (well, unless you’re English), the tournament already seems wide open.
These next few weeks will decide more than a winning nation – players from four of the teams are competing for places in the British & Irish Lions squad (wherever that tour may be!).
So, if we were cobbling together a dream team from this weekend’s matches, who’d make the cut?
Six Nations Team of Round One
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Has a game ever been run from full-back before? Playing like prime Percy Montgomery, this was Hogg’s best performance as Scotland captain, showcasing his kicking, leadership and tactical nous.
Hugo Keenan was also very impressive for Ireland.
14. Teddy Thomas (France)
Thomas just loves scoring right now. Beautiful interplay with Antoine Dupont throughout, and now adding a poacher’s instinct to his transcendent athleticism.
Luca Sperandio’s try is also worth mentioning in dispatches.
13. George North (Wales)
If North and the Welsh 13 jersey were on Facebook their relationship status would be ‘it’s complicated’. On Sunday they shared a beautiful day, with North powerfully finishing Wales’ first try and firing a bullet pass for their second.
12. Cameron Redpath (Scotland)
Made Owen Farrell look like the panicked rookie. Full of good decisions in the face of aggressive defence, and showed he was physically ready with a few brave carries off the lineout. What a playmaking axis Gregor Townsend has at his disposal now.
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Scotland should have triumphed by a greater margin, but van der Merwe’s try ended up being the match-winner. Could have had a double, but the one he managed to finish was special, burrowing his way through five bodies like a wriggling lamprey.
10. Matthieu Jalibert (France)
It would be an easy call to select Finn Russell, but a yellow card and a few missed kicks could have cost Scotland dear.
Jalibert’s the pick here, a consummate performance from the out-half ensuring that Romain Ntamack was not missed. Indeed, he may even be the more imaginative option.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
The crown prince of French rugby with another regal display. Provided assists for four tries and finished another himself, with his pinpoint poke-through for Teddy Thomas the pick of them all.
1. Wyn Jones (Wales)
Good skills from Jones, who often found himself at the head of Wales’ attacking pods, where he executed several slick pullbacks throughout the game.
Scrummaged well against the awkward Andrew Porter and surely now in the Lions frame.
2. George Turner (Scotland)
The biggest game of his young career and Turner comfortably outshone opposite number Jamie George in both the loose and the lineout.
Handled nicely for his side’s try. Is he a glimpse of what Harry Thacker could look like playing international rugby?
3. Zander Fagerson (Scotland)
Scrums went on so long during the Calcutta Cup clash that it felt as if time stood still. The battle between Ellis Genge and Fagerson was a match-defining clash; Fagerson won.
4. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
The in-form member of Ireland’s best second-row combination since the O’Connell-O’Callaghan axis. His try was harder to score than it looked, and he was an irritant at the breakdown throughout.
5. Jonny Gray (Scotland)
An absolute menace in the lineout, stopping England in their tracks on their rare forays to the adventurous side of halfway.
The cupboard the Lions keep their second-rows in is groaning at the hinges, with Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones also excellent.
6. Josh Navidi (Wales)
Not a vintage weekend for blindsides, but Navidi’s international return from concussion issues will be welcomed from Cardiff to Caernarfon.
Coming on for the stricken Dan Lydiate after 12 minutes, he provided a performance full of vibrancy – and a touch of jouissance to set up George North’s try.
7. Hamish Watson (Scotland)
Hamish Watson never stops spinning, flicking out limbs like the Tasmanian Devil, a rabble-rousing masterclass from the coalface.
He’s probably still going now, the human bucking-bronco providing the outstanding back-row performance of the weekend.
8. Matt Fagerson (Scotland)
Set the tone with a thunderous first carry. Constantly offered an option and was impressive in kick return. Could he be Scotland’s first settled No 8 option in what feels like decades?
Who would make your Six Nations Team of Round One? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
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