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12th Feb 2024

Six Ireland stars make our Six Nations Team of the Week

Patrick McCarry

Six Nations

Agreement on four players, in three separate selections.

The second round of the 2024 Six Nations is in the bag and only two teams are still on for a potential Grand Slam. France survived a late TMO call against Scotland, England had a comeback win over Wales and Ireland beat Italy 36-0.

“Once they went 19-0 up,” Italy coach Gonzalo Quesada observed, “it was like the All Blacks of old – they just went through the basics.” For Andy Farrell, he felt his side left a couple of tries behind him but was, on the whole, satisfied.

“We were pretty clinical, but a bit clunky and patchy in parts,” said Farrell. “The set-piece was the best part of our game by a mile, our scrum was tremendous tonight and our lineout was right up there with next week.”

Doubling down on that set-piece claim, and not taking anything away from the excellent James Lowe, Farrell said the Irish front row, which dominated at scrum-time, would be his choice foe Man of the Match. With that in mind, and looking across the weekend’s three Six Nations games, we have an entire Ireland front row in our RugbyJOE Team of the Week.

RUGBYJOE’S TEAM OF THE WEEK

15. Harry Paterson (Scotland)
14. Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France)
13. Gaël Fickou (France)
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ireland)
11. James Lowe (Ireland)
10. Jack Crowley (Ireland)
9. Ben White (Scotland)

1. Andrew Porter (Ireland)
2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
3. Finlay Bealham (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Grant Gilchrist (Scotland)
6. Rory Darge (Scotland)
7. Tommy Reffell (Wales)
8. Ben Earl (England)

Over in The Independent, their writing team has agreed with us on Crowley, McCloskey, Sheehan and McCloskey. They have no Porter, but Joe McCarthy and Ryan Baird are both included in their XV.

That pair also made the cut in a weekly ‘Best Of’ selection made by former England and Lions legend Will Greenwood.

Jack Crowley of Ireland on his way to scoring his side’s first try against Italy, at Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile)

Will Greenwood selects seven Ireland stars

In his weekly look back on the Six Nations action, 2003 World Cup winner, Will Greenwood has seven Ireland stars in his ‘Best XV’.

Greenwood has France loosehead Cyril Baille in his pack, and he is a solid selection having performed well in the win over Scotland. Greenwood has the same four players from Ireland that RugbyJOE and The Independent had. Porter also misses out but Greenwood has opted for Joe McCarthy and Ryan Baird in his selection.

WILL GREENWOOD’S TEAM OF THE WEEK

15. Freddie Steward (England)
14. Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France)
13. Gaël Fickou (France)
12. Stuart McCloskey (Ireland)
11. James Lowe (Ireland)
10. Jack Crowley (Ireland)
9. Ben White (Scotland )

1. Cryill Baille (France)
2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
3. Finlay Bealham (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Joe McCarthy (Ireland)
6. Ryan Baird (Ireland)
7. Tommy Reffell (Wales)
8. Ben Earl (England)

As if that was not enough, Wales Online has 10 Ireland players in their (very early) Team of the Tournament So Far, after those opening two rounds. Calvin Nash, Tadhg Beirne, Hugo Keenan, Caelan Doris and Jamison Gibson-Park all make the cut, as well as many of the players mentioned above.

HOUSE OF RUGBY, WITH JAMES DOWNEY & LINDSAY PEAT

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