Six Nations 2018: Round 1 Team of the Week

Anthony Watson

1 – Mako Vunipola (England)
Definitely stepped up at the Stadio Olympico on Sunday, a very complete performance with excellent work-rate by carrying hard, scrummaging well and making his tackles.

2 – Guilhem Guirado (France)
You have got to feel for the French captain who was at the very heart of a spirited and determined French defence as he made an astonishing 28 tackles, the 2nd highest individual tackle count in the history of the current format.

3 – Dan Cole (England)
It was very good week for the tightheads with Samson Lee and Tadhg Furlong both putting in solid shifts, but for me Cole has added to his impressive club form and I think he’s at his peak at the moment, he was both good in the loose and really dominant in the set-piece.

4 – James Ryan (Ireland)
The Leinster-man was impressive on his Six Nations debut for Ireland, expressing his workrate by making a high number of carries and tackling well.

5 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Certainly had his best international game for a long while, a true Captain’s innings from the Welsh stalwart where he made two huge clean line breaks and didn’t put a foot wrong.

6 – Aaron Shingler (Wales)
Shingler has carried on his impressive domestic form for the Scarlets in a man-of-the-match performance at the Principality with some hard grafty defending and abrasive ball-carrying.

7 – Dan Leavy (Ireland)
Made a huge impact after coming on for van der Flier at halftime carrying forcefully, working really hard for every metre and constantly testing the French defence.

8 – Sam Simmonds (England)
Simmonds really impressed on his Six Nations debut, emphasising good workrate in defence and attack and showcasing his turn of speed by scoring two tries from 22 metres relatively untouched. Also provided a nice no-look wrap around for Exeter teammate Jack Nowell to score.

9 – Gareth Davies (Wales)
Read the Scottish attack impeccably to pick off a loose Ali Price pass to score a 50 metre intercept try and was very fluid off the base of the scrums and the rucks throughout his tenure in the match.

10 – Jonny Sexton (Ireland)
Sexton vs future star Matheu Jalibert was certainly a very interesting contest which unfortunately ended prematurely to an injury suffered by Jalibert in the 30th. However, Sexton was undeniably 1st-rate on Saturday, his organisation in attack was sublime and THAT drop-goal was simply outstanding and world-class.

11 – Steff Evans (Wales)
Forward pass or not, that was some sensational finish from the Scarlets high flyer on Saturday and was also prominent in other areas of the Welsh attack coming off his wing to receive the ball and threaten the line.

12 – Owen Farrell (England)
A few missed difficult conversions can be forgiven in what was one of the best Ford/Farrell combo performances we have seen in an England shirt, the distribution and organisation of attack was amazing, was involved in several of England’s beautifully conducted tries and scored a good individual try in the process.

13 – Scott Williams (Wales)
The Scarlet worked tremendously hard to prevent the Scots getting a foothold in the game with some great defending and was a nuisance with some strong bulldozing carrying in midfield. An honourable mention goes to Azzuri’s Tommaso Boni who was a menace in attack for England to defend against.

14 – Anthony Watson (England)
Finished off two really good team tries in the corner in a man-of-the-match performance from the Bath winger/fullback. In both he outpaced the defenders and dotted down very accurately to be at the forefront of England’s attacking masterclass.

15 – Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)
A very good all-round performance from the full back who rounded off two very good team tries and his place-kicking was absolutely world-class.

By Jacob Bassford

16 thoughts on “Six Nations 2018: Round 1 Team of the Week

  1. Sexton over Ford? Looking at the stats on ESPN, the attacking stats, some of which has to be attributable to the fly-half were much in England’s favour (Ireland back line: 0 clean breaks, 9 defenders beaten, 200 odd metres made; England back line: 8 clean breaks, 15 defenders beaten, 270 metres made)?

    1. Agreed. Your attacking organisation is hardly sublime if you failed to unpick the lock once. That drop goal was fantastic, but it definitely put the blinders on a few people’s interpretations of his performance…

    2. I’m pretty sure the fact Sexton was playing against France and Ford was playing against Italy might have played a big part here…

  2. Sexton blindness. 1 good action and he is exalted. In terms of total performance Rhys Patchell was more complete and I have a huge blind spot for Ford who I would normally elevate to god like status so….

  3. The match stat of Guirado’s match tackles has recently been updated to 31 tackles made so now the highest. Big effort from the Toulon hooker and must be the highest from a Frenchman since Thierry Dusatoir’s 37 tackle count vs the ABs in 2007?

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