Six Nations Team Of The Weekend
Who were the most impressive players of the opening weekend of Six Nations action.
15. Stuart Hogg
Stuart Hogg represents a new era of Scottish backlines. He was the first and is the headline act in this new exciting Scotland, and seemed to be the heartbeat of all that was good about Scotland in Paris. He was dangerous with ball in hand, kicked very well and cut through the French defense really well. Mention for Mike Brown who looked good against Wales on Friday night.
14. Anthony Watson
The 20 year old played with the confidence of a veteran. The skill and patience displayed when picking up Brown's kick through for England's second try. He is a really promising player.
13. Mark Bennett
This was the hardest call. Jonathan Joseph took his impressive Bath form to the international stage. Was solid in defense when called upon, and took his try very well with some nifty footwork and strength to shed three would-be tacklers. But Bennett lived up to the hype, with a crucial try saving intervention, while he was outstanding in attack and caused trouble for the French defense all night.
12. Mathieu Bastareaud
Yes I'm cheating, but can you really say that Bastareaud wouldn't do well as a boshtastic 12? His breakdown skills are fantastic taking over the mantle from O'Driscoll for the best
11. Simon Zebo
It wasn't a vintage weekend for wingers. Zebo was at the heart of the uptake in Irish fortunes during that second half and he brought out the best in the Irish centres when he came in searching for work.
10. Camille Lopez
This was another tough call with a few good performances and no standouts. George Ford looked very composed on his Six Nations debut guiding England to victory, while Finn Russell was very good for Scotland too. But Camille Lopez, as the first good French outhalf since Christophe Lamaison takes the crown in the manner he directed the French through the game and to victory.
9. Conor Murray
Man of the match in the Ireland match, Murray controlled the game allowing his Munster team mate Keatley to ease into the game on his Six Nations debut. His try set Ireland on their way and gave them a comfortable last 20 minutes.
1. Joe Marler
England's scrum was utterly dominant against Wales, and Joe Marler was at the forefront of that. He had the highly rated Samson Lee in his pocket all night showing that he isn't just keeping Alex Corbisiero's spot warm.
2. Guilhem Guirado
This weekend didn't have any shining beckons for hookers. France's Guirado takes the spot for his workload that had eight tackles in the first half without missing one.
3. Dan Cole
Dan Cole was part of a dominant scrum, and with all of the other scrums maintaining parity, it's an easy choice. Cole also contributed a lot at the breakdown in England's win.
4. Devin Toner
Toner dominated the Italian lineout and gave Ireland a big platform to launch attacks from. The maul was a big weapon for Ireland, and his defensive work with the choke tackle was very impressive.
5. Paul O'Connell
Paul O'Connell rolled back the years with his display this weekend. The Irish second rows had their way at lineout time, stealing three Italian lineouts. Mention for the invisible lock.
6. James Haskell
When Haskell wasn't running into posts, he was everywhere else. 13 carries and nine tackles lead England coach Stuart Lancaster to remark that it was the best performance he'd seen of Haskell in Lancaster's tenure.
7. Chris Robshaw
26 tackles, none missed with a turnover at the breakdown. Robshaw lead by example and was a calming influence for England when things weren't going their way. A colossial performance.
8. Toby Faletau
I'm giving this to Faletau solely for that delightful pickup, drive and offload in the lead up to Rhys Webb's try.