Six Nations 2014: Jonathan Davies's Team of the Week

 

The second round of Six Nations matches helped to sort out the contenders from the also-rans, with Ireland and France maintaining 100% starts while Scotland and Italy suffered second defeats.

Ireland followed up their opening win over Scotland by brushing aside defending champions Wales with surprising ease in Dublin.

England recovered from their first-day defeat in Paris with an equally comfortable victory over Scotland to boost their own title hopes.

But France remain the only other side apart from Ireland who can win a Grand Slam after dispatching Italy in Paris.

The poverty of Wales and Scotland's performances see neither country provide any players for Jonathan Davies's Team of the Week, which features seven who are in it for the second week running.

FULL-BACK - MIKE BROWN (England)

England full-back Mike Brown

Rob Kearney had an excellent game for Ireland, but Brown played superbly well again in difficult conditions at Murrayfield. He has carried on where he left off in the autumn: very solid in the air, a threat when he runs the ball back and scored a try for the second week in a row.

Did you know? Brown made more metres (114 from 11 carries) than any other player across the three matches this weekend.

RIGHT WING - ANDREW TRIMBLE (Ireland)

Andrew Trimble

Trimble didn't have too many opportunities but showed what he could do with one side-stepping run off his wing past several Wales players which almost brought a try, and chased every kick, which was important in keeping the pressure on, given Ireland's tactics.

Did you know? Trimble was left out of Joe Schmidt's initial 34-man squad when the new coach took over for last autumn's Tests. He made 63m with ball in hand against Wales, second only to Rob Kearney (79m).

OUTSIDE CENTRE - LUTHER BURRELL (England)

England centre Luther Burrell

Burrell may be new to Test rugby but he ran some great lines and was rewarded with another try from a well-timed run on the angle. He nearly scored again, and seems to be learning quickly at this level.

Did you know? Burrell had his first taste of international rugby playing Sevens for the West Indies (his father Geoff is Jamaican) while he was out on loan at Championship side Rotherham.

INSIDE CENTRE - WESLEY FOFANA (France)

France centre Wesley Fofana dives over to score against Italy

Stamped his class on the game in Paris with a superbly taken try. He also claimed the interception that led to France's third try, and defended well when the Italians threatened.

Did you know? Fofana has now scored seven tries in 12 Six Nations games since his debut in 2012. He made more metres (95) than any other French player against Italy, from just eight touches of the ball.

LEFT WING - JONNY MAY (England)

England wing Jonny May

May carried the ball well and looked a danger every time he cut back in off his left wing. An elusive runner, it will be interesting to see him on a dry day at Twickenham, as he clearly has the pace to trouble sides.

Did you know? May was playing against Scotland just a week after breaking his nose against France. He was second only to Mike Brown in terms of metres made (80) at Murrayfield.

FLY-HALF - JONNY SEXTON (Ireland)

Jonny Sexton

Owen Farrell did well for England again but Sexton put on a tactical master-class against Wales, particularly in the first half. Against Scotland we saw how his running game can be the difference but the accuracy of his kicking kept Wales pinned back on their heels.

Did you know? Sexton has nailed 10 of his 12 kicks at goal in this Six Nations (83%). His 333 Test points put him third on Ireland's all-time list, behind Ronan O'Gara (1,083) and David Humphreys (560).

SCRUM-HALF - DANNY CARE (England)

Danny Care

He just carried on from where he left off against France the previous week. Knocked over a smart early drop-goal, created Burrell's try after the forwards had put him in position, and set the tempo for England. Also made his fair share of tackles (nine).

Did you know? Care was part of Sheffield Wednesday's academy before turning his back on football as a 14-year-old. He ended up at Leeds, when current England coach Stuart Lancaster was in charge.

LOOSE-HEAD PROP - CIAN HEALY (Ireland)

Cian Healy

Angela De Marchi had a strong game for Italy but the Leinster loose-head was solid in the scrum, part of a great Irish mauling unit that brought two tries and was great around the park with several strong charges.

Did you know? Healy has missed only one of Ireland's 22 Six Nations matches since his debut at the start of the 2010 campaign - last year's game against Scotland, after he was banned for stamping.

HOOKER - DYLAN HARTLEY (England)

England hooker Dylan Hartley

Hartley had another strong all-round game. He was immaculate at the set-pieces, carried the ball well and was part of an impressive England pack which strangled the life out of Scotland.

Did you know? England had a 100% success rate from 20 line-outs in the 70 minutes Hartley was on the field against Scotland. They lost two out of four after he went off.

TIGHT-HEAD PROP - MARTIN CASTROGIOVANNI (Italy)

Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni

'Castro' made his presence felt in the first half against France, popping his opposite number Thomas Domingo out of the scrum as Italy won a couple of penalties at scrum-time. His work-rate around the field was good too [he was Italy's joint-top tackler with 10].

Did you know? Castrogiovanni and Sergio Parisse joined Andrea Lo Cicero as Italy's most capped player, playing in their 103rd Tests against France. They are among five Italians to have won more than 100 caps.

LOCK - PAUL O'CONNELL (Ireland)

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell takes a line-out

He made a huge difference to the Irish performance after missing the win over Scotland. Instrumental in the two catch-and-drive line-outs that led to Ireland's tries, he helped lift the intensity of those around him.

Did you know? Despite leaving the field after 54 minutes, O'Connell was Ireland's third highest tackler with 10, behind Jamie Heaslip (12) and Chris Henry (11).

LOCK - COURTNEY LAWES (England)

Courtney Lawes

Another dominant display from the Northampton lock, who put himself about to great effect. He was immaculate at the line-out and played a big part in messing up Scotland's ball as well. Also carried the ball well and is starting to look like the player everyone thought he would be.

Did you know? Lawes has won more line-outs (14) than any other player to date in this year's Six Nations. He took 11 at Murrayfield, and also carried the ball 11 times.

BLIND-SIDE FLANKER - PETER O'MAHONY (Ireland)

Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony

Man of the match against Wales, he was a dominant figure at the tackle area, where he got over the ball and forced several turnovers and penalties. Was clearly pumped up for it and did all the nitty-gritty stuff that allowed Ireland to win so comfortably in the end.

Did you know? O'Mahony, still only 24, led Ireland on their North American tour last summer while senior players were away with the British and Irish Lions and also took over the captaincy of Munster this season.

OPEN-SIDE FLANKER - CHRIS ROBSHAW (England)

England flanker Chris Robshaw

The England captain was part of a very positive performance in tricky conditions at Murrayfield and put in another big 80-minute shift, making his tackles, linking up play and marshalling the troops well.

Did you know? Robshaw has lifted the Calcutta Cup after each of his three Tests against Scotland. He made 13 tackles at Murrayfield, second only to fly-half Owen Farrell (14) for England.

NUMBER EIGHT - BILLY VUNIPOLA (England)

Billy Vunipola

Louise Picamoles put in a decent shift for France but this guy is just an awesome ball-carrier. He makes yardage through the heaviest traffic, and has plenty of skill to go with it too. One offload round the back of a Scottish player was high class.

Did you know? Vunipola carried the ball more times (16) than any player during this weekend's matches. Only Sergio Parisse (34, to Vunipola's 33) has made more carries across the first two rounds of fixtures.