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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Back in business: It's The42's Six Nations Team of the Week

Here’s who shone brightest on the penultimate weekend of the Six Nations.

FOUR DOWN, ONE round to go. 

Here’s who stood out most for us after big or crucial wins for Ireland, England and Wales over the weekend.

Let us know who you would have picked in the comment section below.

15. Jordan Larmour (Ireland)

Brought more than a touch of flair while Ireland suffocated the French. His ability to jink and weave out of trouble delivered the most edge-of-the-seat moments amid Ireland’s four-try attacking display.

14. Joe Cokanasiga (England)

Another 21-year-old game-breaker. The Bath man ran riot against Italy, clocking up over 100 metres of gain and with a handling style that tormented the Azzurri.

Joe Cokanasiga Cokanasiga in flight. Source: Andrew Fosker/INPHO

13. Manu Tuilagi (England)

Thoroughly enjoying his return to peak fitness and Conor O’Shea’s men were unfortunate enough to meet him in great form on Saturday.

12. Hadleigh Parkes (Wales)

Wales are still trundling along towards a Grand Slam thanks to a brilliant second-half defensive effort. The imposing centre was at the heart of that shift, putting in 17 solid tackles.

Hadleigh Parkes War wounds: Hadleigh Parkes with his man of the match medal. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

11. Josh Adams (Wales)

His try-scoring has been a key point of difference for Wales in this campaign and his score against Scotland came after a superb side-step of Blair Kinghorn.

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

He certainly enjoyed his try, not only because it ended a run of 30 Tests without one, but because he could finish a precision move and fling the ball away with his critics in mind. Expertly controlled the game, ensuring France were never given a sniff until the contest was well beyond them.

Jonathan Sexton celebrates scoring their second try with Conor Murray and Garry Ringrose Murray celebrates Ireland's second try with Sexton. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

9.  Conor Murray (Ireland)

Not flawless, but a better all-round pack effort allowed his performance to take an upward curve back to what we expect of him.

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1. Cian Healy (Ireland)

Very unfortunate not to sneak a try (a la Conor Murray v Toulon) when France were attempting to exit from behind their own line. The basic totems of his game were in full force, rocking tacklers back with carries while playing his part in a solid scrum effort.

2. Rory Best (Ireland)

A try and a very, very good day at the line-out was the perfect way to mark his last competitive Test at the Aviva.

Tomas Francis Tighthead Tomas Francis makes a break in Edinburgh, Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

3. Tomas Francis (Wales)

A cornerstone of Warren Gatland’s powerful side. Played his part in a tough defensive shift with 13 tackles and even got to show some of his subtlety with skills in midfield while Wales still had attacking to do.

4. George Kruis (England)

Used his big frame to maximum effect with dispiriting chargedowns of Italian kicks and worked relentlessly to lay the platform for England’s eight-try win.

5. James Ryan (Ireland)

He was sorely missed by Ireland in Rome and came back into the fold with bang after bang. Clocked up 19 carries in heavy traffic and was second only to Jack Conan in Ireland’s tackling charts (13 for Ryan, 16 for Conan) on his way to earning man of the match.

6. Brad Shields (England)

Another man on the score-sheet for Eddie Jones’ title-chasers. His Super Rugby experience shone through in how he shone in open play, but he tackled relentlessly and notched 20 before he was done.

7. CJ Stander (Ireland)

CJ Stander with Romain Ntamack and Guilhem Guirado CJ doing what he does. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Moved to openside early after Josh van der Flier’s injury, but that didn’t stop him horsing through 17 carries like his face hadn’t been broken just a few weeks before.  Clinically put Keith Earls away for Ireland’s bonus point try.

8. Billy Vunipola (England)

Italy were always likely to be overmatched by England, but having an in-form Billy V just made sure there would be no scares for Twickenham. Barged through 17 carries and was second only to Shields in the tackle counts.

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