Mike Tindall has picked his Team of the Week after a thrilling Round 2 in the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.
Ireland defeated France 32-19 to cement their position as the number one ranked team in the world, while Scotland remained unbeaten in their campaign with a 35-7 success against Wales and England picked up their first win of the Steve Borthwick era on Sunday, beating Italy 31-14.
It is no surprise to see Scotland and Ireland dominating the team, with four and five players respectively.
Duhan van der Merwe makes his second successive appearance in Tindall’s side after backing up his match-winning performance against England with another impressive display in the win over Wales.
He caused trouble for the visitors every time he had the ball and set up Blair Kinghorn’s superb try which propelled Scotland to victory.
Hugo Keenan’s world class display, typified by his stunning ninth-minute try, hands him a place and the back row is completed by Damian Penaud, who scored France’s first try after a comparably exciting run.
Garry Ringrose scored the crucial try to take the game away from France and move Ireland into Grand Slam contention and he’s joined in the midfield by Ollie Lawrence, who shone on his first Guinness Six Nations start for England.
Tindall said: ‘’Special mention to a man of the match performance – a lot of pressure coming in from the start, well done to him.”
Tindall was similarly lavish in his praise of Finn Russell’s talismanic performance for Scotland, who makes his side for the second consecutive time as fly-half.
He said: “For every young player, the way he holds the ball, the way he throws his faints and offloads is impressive.
“He was just out of this world in that second half.”
French scrum-half Antoine Dupont arguably did not deserve to be on the losing side, with his try-saving tackle on Mack Hansen one of the defining features of the match.
He also made 14 carries, more than anyone else in his team, and showed his quality with his passing and kicking.
Caelan Doris is the number eight after a Player of the Match display which saw him top the tackling charts and bravely taking the fight to the French, especially in the first half.
Jack Willis was outstanding on his return to the side from injury, with Tindall delighted by the fact he was ‘everywhere’ for England on Sunday.
Joining Willis as the second flanker is Scotland’s Matt Fagerson, who capped a wonderful performance with the final try, having topped the tackle charts on Saturday with 19.
France’s Thibault Flament was energetic as ever and makes Tindall’s XV.
Joining him in the second row is James Ryan, who proved crucial for Ireland, as he negated the French forwards and showed tremendous work rate on both sides of the ball.
Finlay Bealham deputised impressively for regular Tadhg Furlong with his reverse pass setting up Keenan’s try, and he is part of the front row.
He is joined by Welsh captain Ken Owens who scored the sole Welsh try at Muirfield.
Completing Tindall’s side is Danilo Fischetti, who put in a solid display in a losing cause at Twickenham.
Mike Tindall’s Team of Round 2 15. Hugo Keenan 14. Duhan van der Merwe 13. Ollie Lawrence 12. Garry Ringrose 11. Damian Penaud 10. Finn Russell 9. Antoine Dupont 8. Caelan Doris 7. Jack Willis 6. Matt Fagerson 5. Thibaud Flament 4. James Ryan 3. Finlay Bealham 2. Ken Owens 1. Danilo Fischetti