Mike Tindall’s team for Round 1 of the Guinness Six Nations

Doris Van der Flier Ireland
A try-scorer in Round 1 of the Championship 23 years ago, Mike Tindall has picked his team of the week for the first round of this year’s Guinness Six Nations.

A try-scorer in Round 1 of the Championship 23 years ago, Mike Tindall has picked his team of the week for the first round of this year’s Guinness Six Nations.

Centre Tindall scored on his international debut on the opening day of the 2000 Championship, and he would go on to lift four titles during an illustrious, 75-cap career.

With an enthralling first weekend of action behind us, the 2003 World Cup winner has picked his team of the round, which includes five Scots after their dramatic win at Twickenham.

And one player who will surely feature prominently in team of the weeks across the continent is wing Duhan van der Merwe.

The Scottish flyer lit up Twickenham on Saturday evening, scoring one of the great Championship tries in yet another Calcutta Cup classic.

The 27-year-old was at his brutal best against England, knocking over a remarkable 10 defenders from his eight carries on his way to the Player of the Match award.

On any other day, Max Malins could well have laid claim to that accolade, with two excellent tries on his return to the international stage after an 11-month absence.

Completing the back three is France’s Thomas Ramos, who contributed 14 points in France’s 29-24 success over Italy, including an opportunistic finish for Les Bleus’ second score in Rome.

Sione Tuipulotu makes the side at inside centre after an industrious display against England, the highlight of which was a deft grubber to send midfield partner Huw Jones over the line.

And in Tindall’s preferred outside centre position is Joe Hawkins, who enjoyed a fine first Championship start in Wales’ defeat to Ireland, with a lovely pass in the build-up to Liam Williams’ score an indication of his potential.

It’s an all-Scottish half-back pairing, with Ben White and Finn Russell masterminding a third consecutive win over the auld enemy, the former a try-scorer against England for the second year running.

The only Scot to make Tindall’s forward pack is Matt Fagerson, who topped the tackle count in his side’s 29-23 success and claimed a try assist as his stock continues to grow.

The first Ireland stars to be included are back row forwards Caelan Doris and Josh van der Flier, both try-scorers in Cardiff who could be in contention for the Player of the Championship award in a few weeks’ time.

Both of Tindall’s second-row selections shone on Sunday in Rome. Thibaud Flament scored his second Test try via an interception, while opposite number Federico Ruzza was hugely unlucky to finish on the losing side, causing problems for France on both sides of the ball.

Finlay Bealham was only called up to start for Ireland after a late injury to Tadhg Furlong. Tindall feels the tighthead seized the opportunity with both hands with a neat assist for Tadhg Beirne while he was also involved in holding Jac Morgan up at the other end of the field.

Dan Sheehan continues to excel in the middle of the Irish front row and showed the quick feet of a winger in their 34-10 victory.

And completing Tindall’s XV is Ellis Genge, who capped a solid all-round showing with a try, though unlike 2020, when he scored against the same opposition, it was not quite enough for a win.

Mike Tindall’s team of Round 1:

15. Thomas Ramos 14. Duhan Van der Merwe 13. Joe Hawkins 12. Sione Tuipulotu 11. Max Malins 10. Finn Russell 9. Ben White 8. Caelan Doris 7. Josh Van Der Flier 6. Matt Fagerson 5. Thibaud Flament 4. Federico Ruzza 3. Finlay Bealham 2. Dan Sheehan 1. Ellis Genge

And you can have your say by voting for your team of Round 1 below.