Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Six Nations Team of Round Three by Mark Jackson

Joe Schmidt reveals who decided Conor Murray would kick Ireland's final penalty

Breakdown is king. The dominance on the floor influenced the two big games in Dublin and Edinburgh. This weeks selection features players only from the victorious sides. 

15. Hugo Bonneval (FRA) Probably only in the side due to squad mates indescretions in Edinburgh but he took advantage with a strong attacking game in Marseille.

14. Keith Earls (IRE) Huge relief his injury is not too serious, consistency now taking his game to new heights as he enters his 30s.

13. Huw Jones (SCO) Cracking game from the Scottish 13..defended well but his timing and angle of runs was world class. Basteraud had a strong outing in the south of France too.

12. Chris Farrell (IRE) Shifts to 12 jersey for this selection , a deserved MOTM award at the Aviva  , rock solid in defence and made yards consistently ball in hand.

11. Jacob Stockdale (IRE) Just edges Steff Evans and Sean Maitland, still needs a fair bit of work on the defensive side of the ball but his try scroing record hard to ignore.

10. Finn Russell (SCO) Sexton had a great game (apart from goal kicking) but Russell's control and manipulation of the England midfield was sublime at times.

9. Conor Murray (IRE) You could hear the groans from the stadium (and further afield )when he went down seemingly injured and the relief was just as deafening when he arose. The best there is at the moment so crucial to Ireland's slam ambitions.

8. CJ Stander (IRE) Does the dirty hard yards that get Ireland's possession game on front foot..limited but effective.

7. Hamish Watson (SCO) Carried hard..great support but his turnovers and breakdown work see him take the openside slot. Dan Leavy just misses out.

6. John Barclay (SCO) A different player to the one we saw in the Cardiff debacle. Alongsode Watson controlled the game at ruck time frustrating England  and winning crucial turnovers. Negri for Italy also impressed in defeat on the blindside.

5. Jonny Gray (SCO) This is what should be expected from this talented player week in week out. Great out of touch and carried effectively all game alongside great tackling.

4. James Ryan (IRE) The skies the limit with the Leinsterman. POC Version 2.0 .Belying his youth and callowness with a controlled aggressive performance. Scary when he fills his frame a bit more.

3. Andrew Porter (IRE) Carries well tackles hards but not to the determent of his scrummagging...hard to believe he has started so few games at the most technical position on the pitch. As targeted at times and stood up well.

2. Stuart McInally (SCO) His tight play keeps improving , much better throwing at lineout time , he edges Rory Best for his excellent ball carrying.

1. Cian Healy (IRE) All around much better player in the past 12 months discipline much improved and explosiveness is back to top class levels.

Mark Jackson (@markusjacksonus) An Irishman in London....lover of rugby, NFL and family n friends not always in that order..consumer of meat, best friend to Wayne Barnes . All views my own and always open for a lively debate . Ireland, Leinster and the New York Giants fanatic.


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Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019