Tuesday 30 May 2017

Ireland and Scotland account for all but three of our Six Nations team of the week

Tom Rooney

By all accounts it was a lively Six Nations weekend as Ireland found some form, Scotland finally won at home and Eddie Jones' charges in white secured the Championship at the first time of asking.

But which individuals stood out most in the penultimate round?

Stuart Hogg

One of the familiar faces in our weekly selections over the last month. However, against France yesterday at Murrayfield, the Scottish full back outdid himself.

He wonderfully stepped out of harm's way to score his well-taken try, but the piece of improvisational brilliance to create Tim Visser’s pivotal touch down was a thing of beauty. Hogg is now arguably the best 15 in this hemisphere and a likely candidate for player of the tournament.

RUGBYU Scot_40.jpg
Scotland's Stuart Hogg celebrates their victory over France after the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 13, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Scotland. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

Andrew Trimble

The Ulster wing gave the type of tour de force we regularly saw from him in the 2014 campaign and showed serious thrust to power over for his try.

p14ireland.jpg
Andrew Trimble powers his way over to score the first of Ireland’s nine tries against Italy on Saturday. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Duncan Taylor

Taylor was impressive with and without the ball as Scotland secured a first home win since 2013. Excellent awareness to tap and go for his lung-busting try, even if it was aided by a little bit of brinkmanship from Craig Laidlaw.

RUGBYU Scot_22.png
Scotland's Duncan Taylor scores his side's second try during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 13, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Scotland. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

Owen Farrell

2016-03-1_2741.png
Rugby Union - England v Wales - RBS Six Nations Championship 2016 - Twickenham Stadium, London, England - 12/3/16 England's Owen Farrell kicks Action Images via Reuters / Henry Browne

The centre that’s not really a centre, or a second five-eighth playmaker for that matter, but a fine performer in Eddie Jones’ Championship winning tilt.

Tim Visser

Between Visser, Hogg and Tommy Seymour, the Scots have put together a potent and dynamic back three. Visser, of course, perfectly timed his run onto Hogg’s ridiculous pass to touch down for that memorable try.

2016-03-1_3907.png
Rugby Union - Scotland v France - RBS Six Nations Championship 2016 - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland - 13/3/16 Scotlands Tim Visser celebrates scoring a try Reuters / Russell Cheyne Livepi EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Johnny Sexton

Sexton could easily have been forgiven for not being fully invested in Ireland’s rather meaningless clash with Azzurri on Saturday, given the maelstrom that’s surrounded him of late. Yet, like all world class operators, he shelved those distractions and engineered the nine try onslaught. Back to his best.

PANews_P-35b78e71-b693-46a0-bbef-097ab0effafe_I1.jpg
Johnny Sexton

Conor Murray

i17.jpg
Ireland's Conor Murray and Italy's Gonzalo Garcia in action during the 2016 RBS 6 Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.

There is no question that Craig Laidlaw could rightly feel aggrieved for his omission but, in tandem with Sexton, Murray is pivotal in almost everything Ireland do well offensively.

Jack McGrath

Again a Scot, this time Alasdair Dickinson, certainly warranted selection here, but McGrath's overall endeavour is quite incredible. Not only has he clearly surpassed Cian Healy as Ireland's first choice loose head but the Leinster prop has developed into one of the best in the business.

i18.jpg
Italy's Quintin Geldenhuys and Ireland's Jack McGrath, during the 2016 RBS 6 Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 12, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.

Guilhem Guirado

France have been a mixed bag under Guy Noves thus far but their skipper has rarely wavered. Guirado is super around the park, accurate out of touch and finished off a sumptuous French attack in the first half in Edinburgh.

2016-03-1_3914.jpg
Rugby Union - Scotland v France - RBS Six Nations Championship 2016 - Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland - 13/3/16 France's Guilhem Guirado slips the tackle of Scotlands Stuart Hogg Reuters / Russell Cheyne

WP Nel

Nel has been the bedrock of a vastly improved Scottish scrum that simply pulverised their French counterparts on Sunday.

515382460.png
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - MARCH 13: WP Nel of Scotland is challenged by Yacouba Camara of France during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and France at Murrayfield Stadium on March 13, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Donnacha Ryan

Ryan gave a visceral display of grit in the trenches against Italy and, for the second week running, was Ireland’s top tackler. He was clearly emotional before the game and it bled into his performance. The Munster stalwart was correctly awarded the man of the match.

d1.jpg
Donnacha Ryan, Ireland, is tackled by Andrea Lovotti, left, and Sergio Parisse, Italy. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Ireland v Italy. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Maro Itoje

The new-look England who, incidentally, have rediscovered some very familiar obnoxiousness under Eddie Jones are now Champions. They can secure the Grand Slam against France next week without ever having done anything particularly well in this tournament. However, Maro Itoje, the Saracens prodigy, is a mesmerising talent.

515126730.png
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 12: Maro Itoje of England drives on during the RBS Six Nations match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on March 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

John Barclay

RUGBYU Scot_18.png
Scotland's John Barclay during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 13, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Scotland. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

As France came out the traps at a rate of knots,  it seemed as if Scotland would be swallowed up by the Gallic slipstream. But they didn’t, and it was down to the likes of Barclay putting the shoulder to the wheel and stemming the tide.

John Hardie

AFP_8P95L.png
Scotland's flanker John Hardie (L) tackles France's scrum-half Maxime Machenaud during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and France at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 13, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Hardie gave the quintessential number seven performance in his adopted homeland and subsequently vexed France with great regularity. He affected four turnovers, made 13 tackles and on a couple of occasions smashed French scrum half Maxime Machenaud out of his socks.

Jamie Heaslip

The number eight scored a brace of tries, the second of which might well go down as the team moment of the campaign. Not only that, but  after a fairly sterile showing in Twickenham, he asserted himself from the off at the Aviva Stadium.

AFP_8O99G.jpg
Ireland's number 8 Jamie Heaslip (C) scores their fourth try

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport