Team of the Week: Dragons everywhere you look
It is thus not surprising that the Welsh dominate our first weekly selection of the season.
Both Wales and England have five players in our starting XV, but another six Welshman made it into our back-up squad.
There are only three Englishmen are bubbling under.
With Wales and England dominating the starting XV, there is not much room left – four of those places going to Ireland and France (two each), with Scotland getting the final spot.
With Wales and England also dominating the back-up squad, Ireland is left with three players bubbling under – followed by Italy (two) and again Scotland just one.
Team of the Week – Round One:
15 – Leigh Halfpenny (Wales):
It is not just the 24 points (including two tries) that he scored, but the masterful performance at fullback that won us over.
Bubbling under: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
14 – Teddy Thomas (France):
For 70 minutes it was a kicking contest. Then he produced the moment of the match – which resulted in one of the most dramatic finishes yet.
Bubbling under: Anthony Watson (England)
13 – Scott Williams (Wales):
He gave the Scots plenty of food for thought with a midfield masterclass.
Bubbling under: Tommaso Boni (Italy)
12 – Owen Farrell (England):
As the second playmaker, he takes a lot of pressure off his flyhalf.
Bubbling under: Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11 – Byron McGuigan (Scotland):
One of the few Scottish players whose reputation is not in tatters.
Bubbling under: Steff Evans (Wales)
10 – Johnny Sexton (Ireland):
Long before that magical drop-goal, he was already a strong contender. That just sealed the deal.
Bubbling under: Rhys Patchell (Wales)
9 – Gareth Davies (Wales):
We can forgive him a couple of missed tackles, because he was such a key player in the Welsh victory.
Bubbling under: Conor Murray (Ireland)
8 – Sam Simmonds (England):
The numbers don't lie – two tries, 14 carries, for 80 metres, 23 tackles (with a 100 percent completion rate) and not single penalty conceded.
Bubbling under: Ross Moriarty (Wales)
7 – Josh Navidi (Wales):
Another player that produced an impressive workrate and played a key role in his team's v victory.
Bubbling under: Chris Robshaw (England)
6 – Aaron Shingler (Wales):
Tough call this one, but the Welshman got one extra vote from the panel.
Bubbling under: Sebastian Negri (Italy)
5 – Maro Itoje (England):
There will those who will point to his penalty count and suggest it is too high. We feel he still did more than enough in the other aspects of his game.
Bubbling under: Cory Hill (Wales)
4 – Iain Henderson (Ireland):
Made life decidedly unpleasant for the French pack.
Bubbling under: Joe Launchbury (England)
3 – Dan Cole (England):
The veteran is still good value and a key member of the England tight forwards.
Bubbling under: Samson Lee (Wales)
2 – Guilhem Guirado (France):
The captain, at times, looked like a one-man show and certainly kept the Irish busy – also making a weekend high 30 tackles.
Bubbling under: Ken Owens (Wales)
1 – Mako Vunipola (England):
Slim pickings it the loosehead pool, but Vunipola did enough to get our selection.
Bubbling under: Cian Healy (Ireland)
Our individual selections:
Fred Culazzo XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Paul Dobson XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Ian Cameron XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Jan de Koning XV: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Mako Vunipola.
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