Monday 23 October 2017

Independent.ie Six Nations Team of the Week: Just one Irishman makes the XV

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

It was difficult opening weekend to the 2017 RBS Six Nations for Ireland and that is reflected in selection for best XV from round one of the tournament.

Tighthead Tadhg Furlong is the only Irishman to make the XV following the 27-22 defeat to the Scots who have four players in the side.

England, thanks to Ben Te'o's late try, got the better of France in Twickenham and both sides have three representatives.

Three Welshman make the grade after their 33-7 victory in Rome while Sergio Parisse's heroics in defeat earn him a spot at number 8.

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Blitzed Ireland in the opening 20 minutes at Murrayfield. Was solid in defence when Vern Cotter's men were under the cosh.

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Keith Earls misses a tackle on Stuart Hogg in the build-up to Scotland's opening try at Murrayfield Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

14. George North (Wales)

Showed his blistering pace to tear the Italian defence asunder with his solo effort yesterday. It was just reward for what has been a tough season so far for the winger.

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Wales' George North in action during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 5, 2017. See PA story RUGBYU Italy. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission.

13. Rémi Lamerat (France)

Lamerat doesn't just bring brute force. He was involved in several half-breaks and full breaks as France showed major improvement under Guy Noves.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 Elliot Daly of England in action with Remi Lamerat of France Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

12. Owen Farrell (England)

His huge hit on Louis Picamoles was a crucial moment in Saturday's game. His goalkicking was also very crucial.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 England's Owen Farrell celebrates after the game Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

11. Elliot Daly (England)

He landed a monster penalty and was a threat all afternoon. Has definitely put himself in the Lions shake-up after that display.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 England's Elliot Daly kicks a penalty Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

10. Sam Davies (Wales)

The young Ospreys fly-half showed some lovely touches after replacing Dan Biggar at the break, Contributed to Wale's much more potent offensive display in the second half.

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Wales' Sam Davies in action during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 5, 2017. See PA story RUGBYU Italy. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission.

9. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

Laidlaw's game management and kicking skills were crucial in Scotland's triumph over Ireland. He did a lot of talking in the build-up to the game and backed it up.

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Scotland's Greig Laidlaw kicks a penalty at full time to leave the final score 27-22 to Scotland. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

1. Rabah Slimani  (France)

Slimani came on early in the second half and showed brilliant opportunism to go over for France's try.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 France's Rabah Slimani scores their first try Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

2. Guilhem Guirado (France)

On a weekend where Lions hopefuls failed to sparkle, the French skipper was the best hooker on show. Helped the French gain dominance in the scrum.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 France's Guilhem Guirado in action with England's Nathan Hughes Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

The Wexford native must be close to Warren Gatland's starting team for the summer. Powerful in the scrum and abrasive in the loose.

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4 February 2017; Tadhg Furlong of Ireland is tackled by Josh Strauss, left, and Gordon Reid of Scotland during the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

4. Richie Gray (Scotland)

Both Gray brothers tormented the usually unflappable Irish lineout and was very influential in defence.

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Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Zander Fagerson, left, and Richie Gray of Scotland

5. Jonny Gray (Scotland)

Was central to Scotland's success in frustrating Ireland at the breakdown and frustrating them in the lineout.

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4 February 2017; Jonny Gray of Scotland arrives ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Scotland and Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

6. Maro Itoje (England)

He bolstered his growing reputation with a strong display. He was England's top tackler and their go to man in the lineout.

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Britain Rugby Union - England v France - Six Nations Championship - Twickenham Stadium, London - 4/2/17 England's Joe Launchbury and Maro Itoje in action Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

7. Sam Warburton (Wales)

Warburton looked liberated by the fact that his armband is gone. Spearheaded a strong second half showing from Wales.

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Wales' Sam Warburton after the RBS 6 Nations match at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 5, 2017. See PA story RUGBYU Italy. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission.

8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)

Italy's Roman gladiator was at his majestic best. Whether he was ball carrying, winning line-out possession or controlling matters at the back of the scrum, Parisse was rarely out of the action.

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Rugby Union - Italy v Wales - Six Nations Championship - Stadio Olimpico, Rome - 5/2/17 Italy's Sergio Parisse in action with Wales' Leigh Halfpenny Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi Livepic

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