1. Cian Healy
Held his own in the Irish scrum, which was a real concern prior to the game. Carried well in the loose and just edges out debutant Alex Corbisiero.
2. Dylan Hartley
England’s lineout was almost immaculate again, and Hartley deserves a lot of credit for his throwing. He’s becoming an authoritative member of England’s pack.
3. Dan Cole
One of his better games for England against a strong Italian pack. Was conspicuous in the loose as well, which is no mean feat for a tighthead in a fast game.
4. Donncha O’Callaghan
Provided good ball for Ireland at the lineout, and he must have been pushing hard in those scrums to hold the French. Always plays with passion and power which is great to watch.
5. Julian Pierre
O’Callaghan’s opposite man was the most impressive member of the French pack, securing plenty of lineout ball and carrying well in the loose as well. Edges out Tom Palmer who had another strong game for England.
6. Sean O’Brien
After a relatively quiet game in Rome, O’Brien showed why there has been so much talk about his efforts for Leinster this season. He was slowing down French ball at every breakdown, and looked dangerous with ball in hand.
7. Sam Warburton
Warburton’s performance was one of the best of the weekend for me, even though he didn’t score four tries. His work at the breakdown was reminiscent of David Pocock, getting low but staying on his feet to rip the ball away in the tackle.
8. Sergio Parisse
Jamie Heaslip deserves a mention for his efforts on return from injury, but as the only Italian that could claim to have played well, Parisse gets the nod. How good would it be to see him play for one of the top teams in the world?
9. Morgan Parra
The ‘irritating generale’ kept France in the game, and ensured they could still win the game, despite scoring one try to Ireland’s three. Quick ball was in short supply thanks to the Irish back row, but he did little wrong.
10. Toby Flood
James Hook clearly made a difference to Wales, but Flood was the standout fly-half once again. Line breaks seem to be his new specialty, as well as pinpoint goalkicking and much-improved kicking from hand.
11. Fergus McFadden
Shane Williams scored another two tries, but McFadden’s all-round performance was more impressive for me. Hugely physical defensive efforts to help shackle the French backline and took his opportunity well when it came.
12. Jamie Roberts
We know he was playing 13, but what an opportunity to reunite the outstanding Lions centre combination! Killed any spark of creativity from the Scottish backline, and was back to his usual marauding self with ball in hand.
13. Brian O’Driscoll
The talisman for Ireland again, and the determination was etched on his face throughout the game, marshalling the defensive line and always looking to give his side a lift. Did not deserve to be on the losing side.
14. Chris Ashton
Four tries in a Six Nations match from a player that seems to be getting better and better. I don’t expect too many arguments here.
15. Sean Lamont
Probably the first sub to ever make a Team of the Weekend, Lamont was arguably Scotland’s best player after coming on for Hugo Southwell. He seemed to be the only one taking the game to Wales and trying to inject some forward momentum.
Supersub: Leo Cullen
What an 8-second cameo from the Leinster lock!