Six Nations team of the week: England and France lead the way in round three XV

Find out who makes it into our Six Nations XV this week as the best from round three combine…

15. Anthony Bouthier (France)

Bouthier set France on their way to an impressive victory in Cardiff when he Leigh Halfpenny failed to gather a high ball under pressure, the full-back reacting quickest and sprinting clear for the opening try.

The 27-year-old strikes fear in defenders with his footwork, pace and running lines.

Mention also to Stuart Hogg, whose stunning individual try was the one moment of real quality during a dreadful match at Stadio Olimpico.

14. Cyrielle Banet (France)

Banet helped herself to two tries in France’s 50-0 crushing win away to Wales, including a brilliant solo effort where she broke from inside her own 10-metre line and beat four defenders along the way.

That scything run was one of three line breaks by the 25-year-old, who made 154 metres from 11 carries.

Jonny May also deserves mention for his fine all-round display against Ireland.

13. Nick Tompkins (Wales)

Tompkins was unfortunate to concede an interception try but it was a much-improved attacking display from the Saracen, who made three line breaks and beat nine defenders as he clocked up 105 metres from 21 carries.

Manu Tuilagi also impressed for England, who are a much different proposition when the powerful centre is fit and firing.

12. Owen Farrell (England)

The England skipper emerged with bragging rights from his duel with father Andy. He kicked intelligently throughout, slotting all four kicks from the tee, and pressurised Johnny Sexton into the fumble that led to George Ford’s try.

Farrell also chipped in with 16 tackles, the most of any England back, although he did concede a needless penalty, along with a flurry of slaps, for refusing to let go of CJ Stander’s leg.

11. Gael Fickou (France)

The battle for the left-wing spot was between two players normally stationed in midfield, and it is Fickou who gets the nod ahead of Jonathan Joseph.

He looked to have scored the try of the tournament, only for it to be ruled out for a forward pass, but Fickou was a live-wire throughout, even packing down at No 8 while France were reduced to 14.

10. Romain Ntamack (France)

The fly-half produced a match-winning performance in Cardiff that belies his years. Ntamack’s kicking was excellent, both from the hand and tee, and his 14-point gamble paid off on 52 minutes when he intercepted Nick Tompkins’ pass and sauntered downfield to score his second try in as many matches.

9. Ben Youngs (England)

Restored to the starting line-up against Ireland, Youngs justified his selection with an assured display. His intelligent kick led to the opening try and he kept England playing at a high tempo as their forwards dominated the Irish pack.

1. Rory Sutherland (Scotland)

Sutherland made mincemeat of Italy tighthead Giosue Zilocchi, winning three scrum penalties before Zilocchi was hooked on the half-hour.

Scotland’s scrum is one of few positives from a disappointing Six Nations and Sutherland has been key.

2. Jamie George (England)

George looks to be thriving in the competition with Luke Cowan-Dickie for the England No 2 shirt.

The hooker’s darts were on the money as seven of his eight throws found a team-mate and he formed part of a dominant scrum, while also contributing in the loose with six tackles and six carries.

3. Dillon Lewis (Wales)

Plenty of focus was on the scrum battle after the pre-match war of words and Lewis helped Wales come out on top.

The Welsh scrum forced three penalties, which culminated in the sin-binning of France tighthead Mohammed Haouas late on.

Prior to that Lewis showed his ability in the loose, the French defence buying his dummy as he dived over beside the posts for his first Test try.

4. Thomas Ahern (Ireland U20s)

Maro Itoje was a menace at Twickenham on Sunday, while Poppy Cleall also impressed earlier that afternoon for England Women, but they are ousted by Ireland underage star Ahern after his two-try display in their magnificent win over England.

The Munster lock made 15 tackles, 15 carries and won seven lineouts, and touched down from two pick-and-drives in either half.

5. Paul Willemse (France)

The powerful lock tossed Johnny McNicholl out of his way and held off another two defenders to bag his first Test try from a slick lineout move.

Willemse made a team-leading 19 tackles and also chipped in with 10 carries as France won in Cardiff for the first time in a decade.

He faced a nervous wait while watching numerous replays of his late knock-on on the big screen, but escaped sanction as Les Bleus held on.

6. Courtney Lawes (England)

Lawes’ celebrated his 31st birthday with a man-of-the-match display against Ireland. England’s enforcer, the Northampton Saint made 10 tackles and seven carries in a destructive performance. He also shone at the lineout, winning seven throws.

Lawes edges out Jake Polledri, who shone in yet another dispiriting defeat for Italy. The Gloucester flanker made 17 tackles and won four defensive turnovers. He was also one of Italy’s best performers with ball in hand, beaten seven defenders.

7. Hamish Watson (Scotland)

Vicky Fleetwood and Sam Underhill are unfortunate to miss out but the No 7 shirt goes to Scotland’s breakdown king.

Watson was outstanding in his side’s much-needed win in Rome, making 15 tackles and winning two defensive turnovers. He also made 14 carries in an all-action 80-minute display.

8. Sarah Hunter (England)

England moved one step closer to back-to-back Women’s Six Nations Grand Slams with a 27-0 victory over Ireland, with skipper Hunter scoring her 29th Test try.

The 34-year-old showed great control at the base of a dominant scrum to open the scoring after three minutes.

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