Team of the Week: Two-horse race

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:15
Large teddy thomas france v scotland 800

SIX NATIONS ROUND TWO: It was a weekend of high drama, controversy and - most of all - entertaining rugby.

Scotland, who beat France in equally dramatic fashion, have five players in the starting XV - one more than England in our famous weekly selection.

England edged Wales in a typical Anglo-Welsh arm-wrestle.

France, Ireland (who blew Italy away) and Wales have two players each in our first-choice selection.

There is plenty of reward for Ireland in our back-up squad - with seven Irish players bubbling under.

England also got more reward in our back-up squad, with five Englishmen bubbling under.

Wales, Scotland and Italy (one each) make up the numbers.

Six players return from last week - wing Teddy Thomas (France), centre Owen Farrell (England), flyhalf Johnny Sexton (Ireland), flank Aaron Shingler (Wales), hooker Guilhem Guirado (France) and prop Mako Vunipola (England).

Team of the Week - Round Two:

15 - Mike Brown (England):
Often unfairly criticised, he certainly answered his critics the best way he could - on the playing field.
Bubbling under: Gareth Anscombe (Wales)

14 - Teddy Thomas (France):
He is a special player when he is in top form - as he currently is.
Bubbling under: Keith Earls (Ireland)

13 - Huw Jones (Scotland):
Maybe not the most consistent player, but still quality when he is on song.
Bubbling under: Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)

12 - Owen Farrell (England):
 He was the playmaker that kept England on the front foot and drove Wales back at crucial times.
Bubbling under: Bundee Aki (Ireland)

11 - Jonny May (England):
We'll forgive him the odd missed tackle. It is with ball in hand that he did some serious damage.
Bubbling under: Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)

10 - Jonathan Sexton (Ireland):
His team may not have required his late drop-goal heroics of the previous week, but he once again produced a flyhalf masterclass.
Bubbling under: George Ford (England)

9 - Conor Murray (Ireland):
A strong argument can be made for him being the best scrumhalf in the world. Certainly the most consistent.
Bubbling under: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

8 - Ross Moriarty (Wales):
 His performance was one of the main reasons why Wales were able to work their way back into the game after the half-time break.
Bubbling under: Sergio Parisse (Italy)

7 - Hamish Watson (Scotland):
Not that they have a shortage of quality, but England must rue the fact they let him get into Scottish hands.
Bubbling under: Chris Robshaw (England)

6 - Aaron Shingler (Wales):
Ran like a midfield maestro with the ball and tackled like a demon.
Bubbling under: Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)

5 - Jonny Gray (Scotland):
His workrate was simply phenomenal.
Bubbling under: Maro Itoje (England)

4 - Grant Gilchrist (Scotland):
 Locks work in pairs and Scotland have the perfect combination for their hard-nosed approach.
Bubbling under: Joe Launchbury (England)

3 - Simon Berghan (Scotland):
Perhaps his defence needs some work, but his set-piece play and ball-in-hand performances won him our nomination.
Bubbling under: Dan Cole (England)

2 - Guilhem Guirado (France):
Consistently the best French player, and this week also the best hooker.
Bubbling under: Rory Best (Ireland)

1 - Mako Vunipola (England):
He is seen as the monster, ball-carrying prop. However, it is on defence where he does most of his damage.
Bubbling under: Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Our individual selections:

Nathaniel Cope XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Rory Best, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Paul Dobson XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Jack McGrath.

Warren Fortune XV: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jonny May, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath.

Ian Cameron XV: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 George Ford, 9 Conor Murray, 8  Sergio Parisse, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4  Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Jan de Koning XV: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Our previous selections:

Team of the Week - Round One: 15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), 14 Teddy Thomas (France), 13 Scott Williams (Wales), 12 Owen Farrell (England), 11 Byron McGuigan (Scotland), 10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland), 9 Gareth Davies (Wales), 8 Sam Simmonds (England), 7 Josh Navidi (Wales), 6 Aaron Shingler (Wales), 5 Maro Itoje (England), 4 Iain Henderson (Ireland), 3 Dan Cole (England), 2 Guilhem Guirado (France), 1 Mako Vunipola (England).

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