It was another enthralling round of Six Nations action with two matches going down to the wire while the first try scoring bonus point was awarded in the competition.
There were several stand-out performances across the weekend that caught our eye, but who did enough to impress Warrren Gatland and put themselves in contention for a spot in the touring party to New Zealand in June?
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Perhaps not as impressive as he was against Ireland, but Hogg still made his presence felt in Paris. Was light on his feet to step his way to a third try of the Championship, and attacked with intent on the counter with 81 metres from nine runs.
14. Craig Gilroy (Ireland)
As impact substitutions go, Gilroy’s takes some beating. Scored a hat-trick off the bench and stated his claim to start in their round three match.
13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
A solid outing where one piece of brilliance had social media comparing the young Ireland centre to the great Brian O’Driscoll once more. Ran a beautiful reverse line and showed a turn of pace to scoot away and score. Plenty of promise.
12. Owen Farrell (England)
A calm head on young shoulders, Farrell continues to deliver whether at inside centre or fly-half. His ace boot kept Eddie Jones’ side in the game against Wales before the crispest of passes to Elliot Daly saw the wing scoot off to secure England’s 16th straight win. Alex Dunbar deserves praise for an almighty effort in defence against France.
11. Elliot Daly (England)
The utility back produced two of the match-winning moments in an enthralling contest in Cardiff. Any questions of his pace were buried when he tracked down Dan Biggar who was running clear from an intercept was crucial, while he pinned his ears back in the 75th minute to score England’s all important try.
Dan Biggar impressed at fly-half for Wales against England. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
10. Dan Biggar (Wales)
Seems to step up for the big occasion, and almost guided Walkes home to a famous win. Biggar’s play with ball in hand was impressive, and his defensive reads to quell England’s attack — particularly the play to come off his try line to intercept a Ben Youngs pass from the ruck — was superb.
9 Rhys Webb (Wales)
Had the better of Ben Youngs as he sniped around the ruck and came close to a try. Lovely slide of hand to release Liam Williams from a text book set piece move off the scrum. Will rue firing a bullet pass to Alun Wyn Jones however when there were men to burn outside him.
1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
An impressive showing from the experienced Ireland loosehead upon return to Joe Schmidt’s starting XV. Had Italy’s scrum going backwards right from the off, and did his core roles well around the field.
2. Jamie George (England)
Quite rare that a replacement would make the Lions XV but there was quite a momentum shift when the Saracens hooker replaced Dylan Hartley early in the second half. Was mobile around the field, accurate at set piece and didn’t miss a tackle. Just what Eddie Jones wants from his ‘finishers’.
3. Dan Cole (England)
Had the better of Rob Evans at scrum time. Stayed on the park for 70 minutes which is quite the shift for a prop these days especially given the ferocity of the contest.
4. Joe Launchbury (England)
Did so much of the unseen work to keep England’s engine rumbling. Rightly deserved his man of the match award after a superb defensive display with 23 tackles and none missed.
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
Another monstrous display as the Wales second-row continues to put his hand up for Lions captaincy. Didn’t miss a tackle in a gutsy 80 minute performance.
CJ Stander is the first forward in Six Nations history to score a hat-trick. Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images
6. CJ Stander (Ireland)
After a quiet outing by his standards at Murrayfield Stander was firing on all cylinders in Rome as he become the first forward in Six Nations history to score a hat-trick. So dangerous with ball in hand as his 22 runs for 73 metres attests to. Wasn’t much defence to be done, but didn’t miss a tackle either.
7. Hamish Watson (Scotland)
As the Scotland back-row lost its shape with John Barclay and John Hardie suffering head injuries in Paris, Watson was a pest at the breakdown winning some cruical penalties for his side. Notable mention to Justin Tipuric too who led the tackle count for Wales in Cardiff.
8. Ross Moriarty (Wales)
Arguably Wales’ best player who was questionably replaced by Taulupe Faletau early in the second half. Tackled like a demon. Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell will still be hurting after the No. 8′s big hits. Rob Howley will find it difficult to leave out one of Warburton, Tipuric, Moriarty and Faletau in future games.
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