Six Nations 2014: Jonathan Davies's Team of the Week
A superb round of Six Nations action meant it was tough to pick a team of the week after some outstanding performances in certain positions.
For instance, Luther Burrell's fine display in England's win over Wales may have guaranteed him a spot on another occasion.
But this was Brian O'Driscoll's week as the Ireland legend bade farewell to Dublin with a man-of-the-match performance against Italy.
And there were a few stand-out displays in Scotland's agonising loss to France in Edinburgh as well.
FULL-BACK - MIKE BROWN (England)
Brown was exceptional. He is playing with a lot of confidence, carries the ball well and is the stand-out full-back in the tournament. No-one is challenging him. Stuart Hogg played quite well for Scotland and scored a try but Brown is the man.
Did you know? Mike Brown had 18 carries against Wales, gaining 156 metres. Only one other player on the pitch - Jack Nowell with 102 - made more than 100 metres. The full-back has now gained a total of 421 metres in this year's Six Nations, the most of any player.
RIGHT WING - ANDREW TRIMBLE (Ireland)
He is not a flashy player but he does everything well. He popped up on the left wing to grab Brian O'Driscoll's pass and took his try well, dragging two Italians over with him.
Did you know? Trimble has made more clean breaks (four) than any other Irish player in this year's championship.
OUTSIDE CENTRE - BRIAN O'DRISCOLL (Ireland)
It is a tight call with Luther Burrell but you have to say O'Driscoll was brilliant - he set up three tries and won the man-of-the-match award.
His work ethic over the years has been amazing. He has adapted very well, he has got a good kicking game, defensively he is good, attacking-wise he is brilliant. He has been an absolute legend and to have won 140 caps is an incredible achievement.
Did you know? Only one of O'Driscoll's record 140 international caps has come as a substitute. He came off the bench and kicked a drop-goal in Ireland's 44-14 win over Romania in the 1999 World Cup.
INSIDE CENTRE - BILLY TWELVETREES (England)
Twelvetrees' all-around game was very solid. He has got good hands, he can kick - his little grubber for Burrell's try was brilliant - and he balances very well with Burrell outside him. He was also good defensively, ending the match with 13 tackles - quite a shift when you've got Jamie Roberts thundering at you.
Did you know? The England centre is studying to become a chartered accountant.
LEFT WING - YOANN HUGET (France)
France should never have won in Edinburgh and it was largely down to his interception that they did. He took the opportunity well, showed good pace to get to the line and was always looking for work. He also made a powerful break down the right when France counter-attacked in the first half before going into their shells.
Did you know? Made 118 metres for his team against Scotland and has scored more tries (three) and made more clean breaks (six) than any other French player this year.
FLY-HALF - JOHNNY SEXTON (Ireland)
Owen Farrell played very well for England and his kicking was exceptional, but Sexton's overall play was better. He is more of a threat with ball in hand than the Englishman and he showed that with his elusive running and try double. He linked beautifully with O'Driscoll - their understanding was almost telepathic - and turned in a quality performance.
Did you know? Only full-back Rob Kearney made more metres than the Ireland fly-half's 75, as he scored two tries in a 17-point haul against Italy.
SCRUM-HALF - DANNY CARE (England)
The England scrum-half was very good in the first half and scored a really good opportunistic try that caught Wales napping. I wouldn't mind a bit more zip off the set piece but no-one else is really challenging him at the moment.
Did you know? The scrum-half has made England's most kicks from hand - 39 - and, less surprisingly, the most passes with 247.
LOOSE-HEAD PROP - RYAN GRANT (Scotland)
France were hoping to demolish the Scottish scrum but Grant did a decent impression of a rock and held firm. He carried the ball really well - joint top of the Scottish carriers alongside Stuart Hogg and David Denton - and put in some crucial tackles to boot.
Did you know? A former soldier and is also an adventure diver in his spare time, Grant had 12 carries against France, the joint highest total for his side.
HOOKER - RORY BEST (Ireland)
His line-out work was exceptional considering it was this area of the game that cost him a Lions spot. He hit his jumpers, was his usual powerful self in the scrum and made an impression with ball in hand. Sean Cronin made a decent impact when he came on and scored his first international try, while Dylan Hartley's work rate was good for England but he gave away so many penalties which could have cost his side dear.
Did you know? Best, 31, has not missed a Six Nations match since 2006.
TIGHT-HEAD PROP - MIKE ROSS (Ireland)
Gave Ireland a solid platform in the scrum and did his bit once the game opened up. Often hard to single out front rowers but against an Italy pack admittedly shorn of Castrogiovanni (who went off early on) and Parisse he gets my vote.
Did you know? The tight-head did not make his international debut until the age of 29 but has now won 38 caps.
LOCK - JOE LAUNCHBURY (England)
He has grown as a player and against Wales he was immense. Not only has he got the basic skills but he is good around the park, puts in lots of tackles and carries well. For me, Launchbury or Ben Morgan could have been man of the match instead of Courtney Lawes.
Did you know? The 22-year-old Wasps lock has not missed an England international since making his debut in the 54-12 win over Fiji in November 2012.
LOCK - COURTNEY LAWES (England)
Lawes was absolutely brilliant for England alongside Launchbury. Brutal in defence, brought his full athleticism to bear and ran the line-out impeccably to win the man-of-the-match award. Nearing world-class status?
Did you know? The Northampton man won three line-outs and also had 12 carries in the win over Wales. He has stolen more line-outs than any other England player with four.
BLIND-SIDE FLANKER - TOM WOOD (England)
Always in the thick of the action and willing to put his body on the line. A more than useful option at the tail of the line-out and led England's tackle count with 14.
Did you know? The Northampton flanker had a spell with North Otago in New Zealand as a 20-year-old before joining Worcester in 2007.
OPEN-SIDE FLANKER - CHRIS ROBSHAW (England)
He's a tireless workhorse and led very well from the front. He linked up brilliantly with his outside backs and shows true commitment in all areas of his game. After being outplayed by Warburton last year and losing out on the Lions trip he gained some measure of revenge.
Did you know? England's captain is his team's top tackler in this season's championship with 54.
NUMBER EIGHT - BEN MORGAN (England)
He was sensational against Wales. He carried the ball well, made quite a few turnovers and kept his head when his scrum was under pressure.
Did you know? The Gloucester number eight excelled for England against Wales, making 13 tackles.
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Comment number 318.RichardT
11th March 2014 - 23:08
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