RUCK’s Team of the Week: Jamie Heaslip, Stuart Hogg, Maro Itoje…
The RUCK Team of the Week (TOTW) is released by us each Sunday and represent players that have played best in our opinion the previous week.
Fullback: STUART HOGG (Scotland)
Man of the match Stuart Hogg was delighted after Scotland ended a decade of failure with a 29-18 RBS 6 Nations victory over France that handed the title to England. The fullback danced past Gael Fickou for the Scots’ opening score before sinking a penalty from inside his own half after the restart.
Wing: BRYCE HEEM (Worcester)
Bryce Heem touched down twice as Worcester took a giant stride towards avoiding relegation from the Aviva Premiership with a 28-20 victory over Gloucester at Sixways. The New Zealand winger crossed for a brace of first-half tries before continuing to threaten throughout.
Centre: DUNCAN TAYLOR (Scotland)
The centre spotted a gap and surged 40 yards down the touchline to score a spectacular try in the corner. Duncan Taylor is definitely first choice for Vern Cotter now.
Centre: OWEN FARRELL (England)
Farrell put in another fantastic display with a number of clever passes and clean breaks, leaving many to question why he is not playing at 10 instead of the disappointing George Ford. The Saracens man was also perfect off the tee, kicking seven from seven.
Wing: TIM VISSER (Scotland)
Fly-half: DAN CARTER (Racing 92)
He may have picked up an injury but Dan Carter still managed to a play a leading role in Racing 92’s victory over Paris rivals Stade Francais in the latest round of the Top 14. Playing in his first Parisian derby, the All Blacks great finished off a stunning team try and kicked two penalties and a conversion to help Racing to a 34-16 victory over the defending champions and maintain their place at the top of the standings.
Scrum-half: GREIG LAIDLAW (Scotland)
Prop: JACK MCGRATH (Ireland)
A stunning performance, based on a huge volume of work, carrying, tackling, clearing out and he was excellent in the scrum too. He gave his team front-foot gain-lines while also dotted down his second Test try.
Hooker: GUILHEM GUIRADO (France)
Prop: PAUL HILL (Northampton)
Lock: MARO ITOJE (England)
Itoje, who Eddie Jones compared to a Vauxhall Viva a few weeks ago, – put in a Rolls-Royce of a display as the men in white completed their Triple Crown triumph with a 25-21 win against Wales. This was only the lock’s second start, but he messed up the Welsh line-out, won turnovers and smashed through tackles to set up his side’s opening try.
Lock: DONNACHA RYAN (Ireland)
He won the match of the match award for a high-calibre performance exemplified by his willing to take Ireland over the gain-line and massive tackle count in defence (12).
Flanker: DAN LYDIATE (Wales)
The back-rower topped the tackling charts with 16 and was largely successful at containing Billy Vunipola. He and Liam Williams were the only Welshman to perform consistently for 80 minutes.
Flanker: JOSH VAN DER FLIER (Ireland)
The smallest player in the Ireland pack showed the value of great technique and appreciation of weak points in carrying possession. He attacked inside shoulders between defenders, always making yardage, while also managing to link intelligently and tackle authoritatively.
Number 8: JAMIE HEASLIP (Ireland)
Back-rower Heaslip bagged a brace as Ireland piled up nine tries against sorry Italy in Dublin, romping home 58-15 to set up a mid-table RBS Six Nations finish. The vice-captain was simply terrific.