Team of the Week - Six Nations
February 6, 2011
England's Chris Ashton dives over to score England's first try against Wales in Cardiff © Getty Images
Chris Ashton Julien Bonnaire Martin Castrogiovanni Jonathan Davies Thomas Domingo Richie Gray Imanol Harinordoquy Dylan Hartley Luke McLean Maxime Medard Brian O'Driscoll Tom Palmer Morgan Parra Keith Wood
The opening round of fixtures in this year's Six Nations delivered a heady mix of power, pace and passion and even bordered on the sublime at times.
There was a fair amount of ring rust evident across all three games but there were still plenty of stand-out performances. The question is who did enough to earn selection in our Team of the Week?
15. Luke McLean (Italy)
The Aussie-born fullback's try brought the Stadio Flamnio crowd to its feet and put the hosts on course for a famous victory over Ireland. They failed to hold on for the win but the score and McLean's industrious display should serve them well in the coming weeks.
14. Chris Ashton (England)
The England speedster underlined his class with two tries against Wales at the Millennium Stadium. His exemplary vision and support running is set to propel England to great things although he should probably tone down the over-elaborate swan dives.
13. Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
With Ireland struggling to dominate a fired-up Italy side it was O'Driscoll - who else? - who forced his way over to swing the game in his side's favour. The job was far from done and it was O'Driscoll's leadership, rather than the odd wayward pass, that helped rally a side taken to the brink by their hosts.
12. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
The 22-year-old's performance against England at the Millennium Stadium was one of the few positives for a Wales side otherwise short of ideas. He pounced on a rare lapse in the England defence to set up team-mate Morgan Stoddart for a try but his memory may yet be soured by a possible citing for a trip on Ashton.
11. Maxime Medard (France)
The fleet-footed Frenchman tormented Scotland with a dazzling display at the Stade de France littered with clean breaks, beaten defenders and tone-setting try in the second minute of the game.
10. Francois Trinh-Duc (France)
Trinh-Duc returned to the France No.10 shirt against Scotland and made it a night many will never forget with an eye-catching display and a sublime piece of skill - a pass between his legs - to help set up a try for team-mate Imanol Harinordoquy.
9. Morgan Parra (France)
A more than able cohort for Trinh-Duc, Parra helped set a lung-busting tempo at the Stade de France with a lively display with ball in hand. Like his half back partner, he benefited from a powerful pack but knew how to exploit that dominance.
1. Thomas Domingo (France)
The power-packed loose-head made veteran Scotland tight-head Euan Murray look like a novice at times at the Stade de France and can lay claim to playing a large part in securing a first half penalty try.
2. Dylan Hartley (England)
Wales tried to rattle Hartley with a verbal grenade or two in the build up to their clash but it was to no avail. The England hooker responded in the best way possible with an impeccable and controlled display.
3. Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)
The grizzled tight-head was a thorn in Ireland's side in Rome where his contribution with ball in hand was only bettered by backs McLean and Andrea Masi and the super-human Sergio Parisse. As ever, he was a formidable force at scrum time whilst cutting down more than his fair share of Irish attackers.
4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
The 21-year-old was making only his fourth start for Scotland in Paris but looked very much at home in the heat of the Stade de France battle. His youthful exuberance and wide-ranging skill set laid the foundation for a lung-busting effort in defence and attack.
5. Tom Palmer (England)
A towering presence in the England lineout, the athletic Palmer also weighed in with his fair share of tackles during a bruising encounter in Cardiff. Set to be a conrerstone of England's World Cup campaign at this rate.
6. Tom Wood (England)
The England debutant thrived in the cauldron-like atmosphere of the Millennium Stadium where he left an impressive six defenders in his wake. His stats also boast a significant 48m with ball in hand, 13 tackles and the odd lineout win.
7. Julien Bonnaire (France)
A pivotal link-man in an all-action display from France against the Scots, Bonnaire made his presence felt throughout with a bone-crunching tackle count, three lineout claims and several charges into the heart of the Scotland defence.
8. Imanol Harinordoquy (France)
Back in the starting XV, the ever-influential Harinordoquy was a commanding presence in the loose, the scrum and the lineout while also grabbing a try that helped him edge out the likes of Italy's Sergio Parisse, Scotland's Kelly Brown, England's Nick Easter and Ireland's Sean O'Brien in an ultra-competitive battle for our No.8 berth.
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