Team of the week: Ireland and Wales lead the way after Six Nations draw
By Tony Tighe and Keith Moore
Last Updated: 08/02/16 4:42pm
Ireland and Wales each have four players included in a Six Nations-dominated team of the week, but Luther Burrell has forced his way in following a fine showing for Saints.
15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Hogg counter-attacked effectively and his speed and change of direction caused England problems.
The Glasgow full-back was lively throughout, making 101 metres from his 18 carries and beating five defenders.
14. Jack Nowell (England)
The Exeter wing provided the finishing touch to England's well-worked second try, the headline act of a strong performance.
Nowell gained 44 metres from nine carries, beating three defenders, and it was his kick and chase that led to the five-metre scrum which resulted in George Kruis' try.
13. Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Burrell was an ever-present for England during last year's Six Nations and showed signs of returning to his best form by scoring one try and creating another as Northampton stunned Harlequins late on.
The 28-year-old broke past Nick Evans and Marland Yarde before producing a sublime offload to Ken Pisi in the build-up to Christian Day's try, and he then ran a good support line off Harry Mallinder's break on the half-hour to score his first try since December 5.
Burrell was superb throughout with ball in hand, gaining 73 metres from his 14 carries, which included three breaks, three offloads and five defenders beaten.
Michele Campagnaro also deserves a mention for a superb attacking display in Italy's narrow loss to France.
12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)
Defences dominated in Dublin on Sunday and Roberts was the standout performer. The Harlequin man was outstanding, often charging out of the line as he made a team-high 20 tackles in what was a fantastic tussle with opposite number Robbie Henshaw.
Roberts also worked his socks off in attack, gaining 25 yards from his 11 carries and beating two defenders.
11. Virimi Vakatawa (France)
All eyes were on the Sevens star as he made his international bow in the 15-man game and the 23-year-old didn't disappoint. Vakatawa touched down after just 13 minutes, darting over in the left corner after sustained French pressure.
The Fiji-born wing looked unsure under the high ball and can expect an aerial assault from Ireland next weekend, but he was impressive with ball in hand, making two breaks and beating five defenders as he gained 63 metres from 11 carries.
10. Rhys Priestland (Wales)
Wales fans would have feared the worst when Dan Biggar departed and Priestland endured a nervy start, although he was not helped by a poor pass from Gareth Davies.
However, the Bath fly-half then settled into proceedings, pulling the strings and moving Wales around the pitch as he scored 11 of their 16 unanswered points.
Priestland made nine tackles and kicked excellently, nailing all four from the tee, but was unable to pot a late drop goal which would have snatched victory.
Johnny Sexton also impressed for Ireland, making one scything break through the Welsh midfield, while Carlo Canna would have gotten the nod had he remembered to bring his shooting boots to Paris.
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
Murray controlled the game well and showed great awareness to score Ireland's try. With Justin Tipuric expecting Murray to feed the onrushing CJ Stander, the scrum-half punished the Wales openside by nipping over for his fifth international try.
Murray box-kicked less than expected, instead keeping Ireland's big ball carriers heavily involved while also making 26 metres from eight carries.
1. Rob Evans (Wales)
Greg Feek had hinted Ireland would target Evans in the scrum but the Scarlets loosehead delivered the perfect response with a dominant display in the set piece.
Evans put Nathan White under immense pressure and it was Wales' scrum dominance that led to Taulupe Faletau's try.
The 23-year-old was also fantastic in the loose, putting in 13 tackles and making 10 carries. Gethin Jenkins may have to settle for a place on the bench once again against Scotland.
2. Rory Best (Ireland)
Best led well in what was a tough first outing for the new Ireland skipper. Wales put the Irish lineout under pressure but the Ulsterman stood up to the task, with eight of his nine throws finding its intended target.
The 33-year-old tackled with his usual ferocity and was a pest at the breakdown, while his clear-outs were also effective. The scrum will be an area of concern, however, as thoughts turn to Paris.
3. Samson Lee (Wales)
Wales muscled their way back into Sunday's game and their scrum instigated it, with Lee a star performer.
The solid platform provided by Lee resulted in Faletau's try and he also produced a try-saving tackle in defence.
4. George Kruis (England)
England's victory at Murrayfield came from their forwards and Kruis was in the thick of it. He was the go-to man at the lineout, claiming nine throws and also stealing one of the opposition's.
Kruis showed great strength to power over for England's first try and worked tirelessly in defence, making 16 tackles and missing just one.
5. Devin Toner (Ireland)
Toner was outstanding in the lineout as he began life in the Irish second row without Paul O'Connell. The Leinster lock claimed five of Rory Best's throws as he edged opposite number Alun Wyn Jones in set piece battle.
One of many Ireland players to hit double figures in tackles made, Toner made 18 metres from his four carries and blocked down Gareth Davies' clearing kick as the home side dominated the early exchanges.
6 CJ Stander (Ireland)
Stander's passionate rendition of the Irish anthem was a sign of things to come. Easily Ireland's best ball-carrier, the former Springboks U20 captain made 38 tough yards from a team-high 23 carries.
The TMO denied Stander a try but the way he accelerated onto the ball with each carry kept Welsh defenders on the back foot, and his presence resulted in Tipuric taking his eye off Murray for Ireland's try.
7. John Hardie (Scotland)
England's struggles at the breakdown was largely down to the Scottish openside, who produced a fantastic all-round display.
Hardie was energetic in defence, making 13 tackles, and showed good handling in attack on what was an error-strewn evening for the Scots.
8. Billy Vunipola (England)
Vunipola was a wrecking ball in attack, making 51 metres from 22 carries and beating five defenders. Scotland could not handle the Saracens No 8's raw power in an 80-minute performance.
There were a number of outstanding performances from No 8s across the weekend including Taulupe Faletau, Jamie Heaslip and Sergio Parisse, and we would probably have stumped for the Italy captain were it not for that crazy drop goal attempt at the death.