RUCK’s Team of the Week: Jonathan Joseph, Maxime Medard, Jamie Roberts
The 2016 Six Nations continued this weekend while there were also Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro 12 games for us to cast our eyes over.
But who were the stand-out performers? After much debate here is our final selection – do you agree? Comment below.
Fullback: MAXIME MEDARD (France)
France’s inspiration. The fullback cut an amazing line to dot down what proved to be Les Bleus match-winning try after the break as they edged to a 10-9 win against Ireland in Paris on Saturday. Medard showed everyone that he can make the difference even when France aren’t at their best.
Wing: CRAIG GILROY (Ulster)
Craig Gilroy shined as Ulster made hard work of their 13-10 victory against Glasgow. The 24-year-old, who has won six Ireland caps, showed his international quality by using his extreme pace to make a series of threatening breaks, one of which led to Callum Black’s crucial match winning score.
Centre: JONATHAN JOSEPH (England)
Jonathan Joseph led the way as England turned on the style to overcome Italy 40-9 in Rome on Sunday. A hat-trick of tries from the centre, all finished superbly, summed up what was a fantastic overall display from the Bath man.
Centre: JAMIE ROBERTS (Wales)
The centre, who was outstanding last weekend in Dublin as well, was deservedly Man of the Match as Wales overcome Scotland 27-23 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Roberts succeeded in breaking down the Scottish resistance in the second half, scoring the crucial try that turned the match in the Reds favour.
Wing: TOMMY SEYMOUR (Scotland)
With Stuart Hogg limping off early on, it was up to wing-wizard Tommy Seymour to keep the Scots’ hopes of victory alive. His incredible first half performance on the ground and in the air made saw him score a superb try. The 27-year-old was one of the standout players in Cardiff on Saturday despite Scotland losing.
Fly-half: JIMMY GOPPERTH (Wasps)
Jimmy Gopperth, who scored 23 points in total, touched down a great try and ran the show as Wasps romped to an incredible 64-23 win against league leaders Saracens. Since joining from Leinster in the summer, he has proved to be an inspired addition from Dai Young.
Scrum-half: DAN ROBSON (Wasps)
Prop: ALBERTO DE MARCHI (Benetton Treviso)
The former Sale man helped Benetton Treviso to their first Pro12 win this season as the bottom club shocked Cardiff Blues. The props relentless scrummaging and work rate at the breakdown was outstanding for the Italians as they held out for the unexpected victory.
Hooker: MIKE HAYWOOD (Northampton)
The hooker showed some great awareness to get the ball away quickly, keeping Saints’ moves ticking over for as they thumped London Irish 35-7 at Franklins Gardens. Haywood’s work at the set-piece was also precise once again.
Prop: JOHN AFOA (Gloucester)
John Afoa was in no mood to bask in the glory of Gloucester’s West Country derby triumph last weekend, billing their match with Harlequins before kick off as a must-win encounter. His masterful work in the scrum and in defence kept the Cherry and Whites in control as they won back-to-back Aviva Premiership matches for the first time this season.
Lock: JAMES CRAIG (Northampton)
A robust, hard-hitting display from the towering lock saw the 27-year-old play an instrumental role as Saints dominated the Exiles from start to finish. Craig, who did good work all afternoon at the breakdown, also opened the scoring with a well taken try.
Lock: GEORGE KRUIS (England)
The Sarries lock was absolutely immense in open play once again as his lively performance and big tackles all over the pitch helped England keep a grip when the Italians threatened in the first half. Kruis was also was demanding the ball throughout, showing his willingness and confidence to carry the ball when the men in white were looking to drive forward and get over the gainline.
Flanker: CAMERON NEILD (Sale Sharks)
The 21-year-old back-rower proved he is yet another superb young English talent to come out of the North-West as he put in a performance of the highest standard on Saturday. Neild was a constant thorn in the side of the Chiefs with his relentless display helpinh Sale romp to a 23-13 win against the high-flyers in style.
Flanker: NILI LATU (Newcastle Falcons)
Nili Latu is no stranger to testing times on a rugby field and the Tonga captain showed his expertise and skill as he spearheaded the Falcons to an unexpected 26-14 win against Leicester Tigers on Friday night. The ageless flanker made an enormous impact for the hosts as he continually drove their attack forward with some clattering carries while also making crucial tackles in defence.
Number 8: NATHAN HUGHES (Wasps)
The back-rower, who qualifies for England later this year, muscled his way over for two tries in the first half as Wasps romped to a record away victory against Sarries. Choosing between Hughes and Billy Vunipola will definitely cause Eddie Jones a selection headache down the line.