Team of the Week: Six Nations standouts combine

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Key performers in round two of the Six Nations Championship combine to form our team of the week.

After victories for England, Ireland and Scotland, there’s a plethora of players from all three sides in our team of the week as well as those who were notable in defeat.

Check out our full XV below and have your say on the player that you think make the greatest contribution to the weekend’s international rugby…

15. Mike Brown (England)

In conditions that were less than ideal for full-backs, Mike Brown shone for England.

Not only was the 32-year-old as safe as houses under the high ball – the aerial game was a key area for England – but he made more metres than any other player on the park [118].

The Harlequin also put in a solid defensive shift and finished the 80 minutes as England’s top ball carrier with 16.

14. Keith Earls (Ireland)

Both wingers in our team of the week are bang in form and scoring tries at will.

Keith Earls’ running lines are first class and that was shown by his 35th-minute try.

Bundee Aki’s break made the hard yards and the Munster man timed his tracking line perfectly to fly in. It was not the most difficult try that he will ever score but they all count.

Not only did Earls deliver in attack but he shifted into the centre after Robbie Henshaw went off injured, and late on he still had the energy to prevent what would have been Italy’s bonus-point score.

The try-saving tackle on Mattia Bellini brought the Aviva Stadium to its feet alongside Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, who were watching on from the bench. Outstanding from Earls.

13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)

A nasty-looking injury to the centre marred Ireland’s victory, and cut short his match, but Henshaw’s output still secures him a place in our XV.

His pace and powerful running was plain for all to see and he will be greatly missed as the Championship progresses.

12. Owen Farrell (England)

From his vision to put away Jonny May for the first try to his leadership in the latter stages, Farrell was at the heart of England’s hard-fought victory.

The inside centre’s rugby brain, along with George Ford’s, was working faster than all others on the pitch and their combined vision and skill-sets gave the home side a clear advantage.

Defensively colossal, his vocal presence fired up those around him, and as always his kicking game was noteworthy.

11. Teddy Thomas (France)

Three tries in two Tests indicates Teddy Thomas’ form right now. At Murrayfield, two chips through delivered the goods and with ball in hand he’s looking dangerous.

As the competition progresses French fans will want to see him roaming about the field a little more – 48 metres off eight carries was his return on Sunday – but imagine what he could do with greater ball.

A word for Benetton’s Monty Ioane too, who scored a hat-trick during their 22-12 victory over Scarlets.

It was the Italian outfit’s fourth domestic victory in a row and that equals their best record in the competition, set back in 2011.

10. George Ford (England)

From the middle of the park, England’s fly-half orchestrated proceedings expertly and saw things half a second before anyone else.

The 24-year-old’s accurate kicking out of hand was vital for England. From kicking to contest with perfectly-weighted high balls to delivering lengthy touch-finders, Ford did it all.

Defensively, he withstood the considerable traffic arriving down his channel too in another impressive performance from the fly-half.

9. Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

When you are making your first start for your country since February last year, notching up a 22-point tally is how you make a statement.

After a tricky Six Nations opener, the 32-year-old’s experience anchored his side, and his seamless switch from scrum-half to fly-half highlighted his handy versatility.

1. Jack McGrath (Ireland)

The prop delivered everything that you could have wanted from him at the Aviva Stadium and helped to secure a solid Irish set piece. Eight scrums won and zero lost and after his 67 minutes on the park.

He also finished the afternoon with eight tackles made and zero missed, a collection bettered only by Devin Toner and the hard-working Bundee Aki.

2. Stuart McInally (Scotland)

At Murrayfield Scotland’s hooker was a busy man, and alongside with his front-row colleagues, provided the solid platform required to navigate past France.

McInally’s lineouts were on point with just one of his nine not finding the mark. He delivered 12 carries, and like the other members of our front row, anchored the scrum with proficiency.

3. Sarah Bern (England Women)

At the Twickenham Stoop, England’s women continued the defence of their Six Nations title with a comprehensive 52-0 victory over Wales.

The home side overpowered their opponents and tighthead prop Bern combined neat forward breaks with soft hands. She was ever-present, and dominant, at the breakdown, in addition to being part of a front-three which blew away Wales at scrum time.

England now turn their attentions to facing Scotland at Scotstoun on February 23.

4. Joe Launchbury (England)

Launchbury was England’s top tackler on Saturday – he put in 19 hits over the course of the 67 minutes he was on the park – and then there was also the skill that he displayed to set up one of his team’s two tries.

On the 19-minute mark, his offload out of contact to Jonny May was spectacular.

Launchbury had both Rhys Patchell and Steff Evans hanging off him and doing their level-best to bundle him into touch. The lock was totally unfazed, however, and instead found May like it was the easiest thing in the world.

5. Cory Hill (Wales)

It was a close call between Cory Hill and his second-row partner Alun Wyn Jones for this spot, as both turned heads, but this time out Hill just pips his captain.

The lock took half of all Wales’ lineouts at Twickenham – seven in total – and finished his 73-minute outing with 17 tackles to his name. Indeed Hill’s tackle count was topped only by Rob Evans [18] and Josh Navidi [21].

6. Aaron Shingler (Wales)

Wales’ resilience at Twickenham was vast and it was epitomised by their flanker’s output.

Shingler’s stats showcase his considerable contribution: 16 carries, topped only by Gareth Anscombe, the most metres made by a forward on the field [64], five lineout takes, a steal and no less than 15 tackles.

It was his break that highlighted Wales’ second-half intent and that could have come to much more had it not been for Farrell.

7. Sam Underhill (England)

After time out due to concussion, the Bath flanker looked back to full Test sharpness against Wales, and his 40-minute outing was a wholly productive one.

A turnover and no less than 13 tackles were the statistical fruits of his labour with one tackle, in particular, creating the headlines.

After George North’s break, it looked as if Williams was home and dry, but the strength and power of Underhill shifted him off course. It’s one that will certainly make the flanker’s highlights reel!

8. Ryan Wilson (Scotland)

The final spot in our team of the week is reserved for Scotland’s Ryan Wilson.

From the back-row, he provided key go-forward ball and alongside other members of their pack, punched through France’s defensive line.

He finished the afternoon’s work with eight tackles, eight carries and was a valuable option at the lineout.

Sourse: skysports.com

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