Jacob Whitehead selects his best composite team from this weekend’s two matches
Six Nations Team of Round Three
There may have been only two Six Nations games this weekend, but there was plenty of controversy to make up for it.
What players stood out across the two matches, contributing to one of the highest-scoring days in Six Nations rugby?
Six Nations Team of Round Three
15. Liam Williams (Wales)
He’s nicknamed the ‘bomb defuser’ and he lived up to it this weekend not only from his ability under the high ball but from dismantling dangerous England attacks.
His positioning stopped Maro Itoje profiting from a chargedown and he pluckily hoovered up a couple of turnovers.
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
Another excellent outing, despite not getting that many carrying opportunities.
He saved one try by tackling Elliot Daly man and ball when the England full-back had Jonny May screaming up on his outside and should have scored himself after Callum Sheedy’s intercept.
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
Probably now the frontrunner for the Lions outside-centre jersey. Made 100 metres with ball in hand, second most in the Ireland team, and picked a weak shoulder for his side’s first try.
Even more impressive was his offload for Hugo Keenan’s try, the two Leinster men combining with aplomb.
12. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
It was his 50th cap this weekend and one of the most unsung players in European rugby deserves some recognition.
Flourishing from starting a run of games at 12, Henshaw made the most tackles of any back this weekend, shutting down an Italy attack which looked far less potent than in recent weeks.
11. James Lowe (Ireland)
Made the most metres of any player in the third week.
He’s been given grief for not transferring his club form onto the international stage, but Lowe forced Luca Sperandio to be hauled off at half-time and gave replacement Mattia Bellini a torrid time too. Unlucky to have a try ruled out.
10. Callum Sheedy (Wales)
No, he didn’t start, and yes, Dan Biggar’s ingenuity set Wales on their way. But Sheedy looked so calm when he came on, with him at the helm Wales comfortably sailed through a minor English storm at 24-24.
His clean break showed the running game that Wales have been missing since Gareth Anscombe’s injury and he kicked his goals superbly.
9. Kieran Hardy (Wales)
Jamison Gibson-Park, Ben Youngs, and Kieran Hardy all had impressive games, but Hardy, in the biggest match of his career, was the star nine.
His try was impishly brilliant, but most crucially his box-kicking was the match of Youngs’s efforts, putting the English back three in trouble throughout.
1. Dave Kilcoyne (Ireland)
Won a key scrum penalty for Ireland when they were encamped on their own line and made himself a constant nuisance in the loose.
Doesn’t get that many opportunities with Cian Healy and Ed Byrne about, but Andy Farrell will hope the injury which forced him off after 50 minutes isn’t serious.
2. Ronan Kelleher (Ireland)
Had a few issues in the lineout, but omnipresent in the loose.
Plays with the dynamism of a young Jamie George and could be beginning to nose ahead in his battle with Rob Herring for the starting jersey.
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
At his bullish best in Cardiff. Made double-digits in carries and tackles, and had his fingers all over Anthony Watson’s first-half score.
Also managed to avoid being wound up by Alun Wyn Jones.
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Speaking of the man, Jones had his best game of the championship so far.
Wales won 16 of 17 lineouts, with their captain at the heart of it. He made a stack of carries, but most impressively seemed to be the first player to every other breakdown. Could probably clear out the Hulk.
5. Iain Henderson (Ireland)
Scorer of the try that wasn’t, ruining fantasy teams everywhere. That said, Henderson was even more impressive in defence.
Ireland’s choke tackles were key to slowing Italy’s ball, and it’s difficult to think of another player in world rugby as good at this singular skill.
6. Tom Curry (England)
I’ve been a bit cheeky here, shifting Curry to blindside, but the Sale flanker was a permanent menace.
Made 18 tackles, the most of anyone in the game, and seemingly warped space and time in the first half to catch his own chargedown on the full. Unbelievably durable.
7. Will Connors (Ireland)
Tadhg Beirne won Man of the Match but that feels very harsh on Connors – maybe the Italian commentators confused the two rampaging blue scrum caps!
Two tries for the openside, who can’t stop scoring against Italy, but the highlight as ever were his trademark chop tackles. A human bear-trap.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
An obscenely busy day. Nobody made more ground for Wales in Cardiff than Faletau, and make no mistake – these were attritional metres.
Billy Vunipola was also brilliant – their battle, the highlight of Saturday afternoon’s game, will continue until the moment the first Lions Test kicks off.
Who would make your Six Nations Team of Round Two? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
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