Round Three of the Guinness Six Nations is in the books, with wins for France, Wales and Ireland in three thrilling encounters.
Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies was in the BBC commentary box for his old side’s victory over England in Cardiff.
The Welsh great, who won 32 caps for his country over a 12-year international career, has picked out his team of the weekend, with Wales and France dominating his selection with six players apiece.
I thought Jayden Hayward played well for Italy and Thomas Ramos for France but Liam Williams was outstanding in everything he did. I picked him for the Guinness Six Nations man of the match on the day, so he gets into this team.
I thought Keith Earls had a very good game for Ireland – in a disjointed performance, he stood out. He made a couple of breaks and scored a lovely try, and that try ended up being a very important one as they were trailing until then.
I don’t think that many centres stood out in midfield but Jonathan Davies did. He organised the defence and the kick and chase was good. It wasn’t really a game for centre play but for his defensive effort and mastering the defence and linespeed, he deserves to be in there.
Gaël Fickou had some lovely runs and it just shows what a difference it makes playing in your natural position. You could see his instincts playing in the centres and he’s got some pace in him as well to get back and make that tackle on Sean Maitland.
Josh Adams scored that try but it was more than just a score late on. His work-rate, his ability under the high ball, in defence as well as for his try, was exceptional. Yoann Huget wasn’t far off. He played well this weekend. He made some bad mistakes over the last two weeks but it’s worth pointing out that he did well.
Ten was a very difficult decision but because he played nearly the full 80 minutes I’m going with Romain Ntamack. He just organised things with Dupont and I’d just take him over Dan Biggar. Dan was on for 20 minutes and what he did for that time was exceptional. So he was very close, but Ntamack gets it for playing a bit longer.
At scrum-half, I think it was between Gareth Davies and Antoine Dupont. I thought Dupont was excellent in his kicking game, in his running, of course, and just brought a bit of authority to the French side. It was good to see that partnership with Ntamack, and it was especially impressive as it’s the first time they have played together at international level.
I think Rob Evans had a very good game. There probably wasn’t a standout loosehead but his ball-carrying and his battle with Kyle Sinckler was good. I thought Sinckler had a very good game and was very close to getting in my side as well.
Ken Owens isn’t far off but part of the lineout didn’t go perfectly, although I’m sure that wasn’t all his fault. But the two French boys were very good. Guilhem Guirado helped France get total control.
Demba Bamba was the Guinness Six Nations man of the match and I was very impressed with him. The French pack was very powerful and really took control. You look at the French youngsters and they were very impressive, so there is talent there – it just needs to be harnessed.
There were lots of contenders in the second row. I thought that Quinn Roux played well and was really impressed by the Italy second row, Federico Ruzza. There was also Félix Lambey for France, who did well, but I’ve got to go with the Welsh locks. It was a big call to see who was going to play alongside Alun Wyn Jones with Jake Ball and Adam Beard, but I thought Cory Hill was immense. His work-rate is incredible.
The Welsh locks were brilliant and they just kept carrying and slowly but surely they seemed to drain the energy out of the England pack. Alun Wyn was absolutely brilliant on Saturday.
A special mention for Josh Navidi at six, who was very close but Peter O’Mahony did what he always does. You might not see it all, but at the end, he’s the Guinness Six Nations man of the match and he seems to be there or thereabouts in every game.
Tom Curry was exceptional at seven. I thought he played very, very well. He maybe tailed off a little towards the end when the Welsh pack got the better of them but he was outstanding and got a try too.
I thought Ross Moriarty and Billy Vunipola both played well in Cardiff but Louis Picamoles was instrumental in the French pack going forward, and when they broke. He was maybe the standout forward, so he gets the nod.