Six Nations XV

Skysports.com's Tony Curtis names his team of the weekend from the opening round of matches in the RBS Six Nations

Last updated: 9th February 2011  

Keith Earls

Earls: Attacking threat in Rome

Alastair Kellock Scotland v France Six Nations Stade de France Paris Feb 2011

Kellock: Led from the front

Sergio Parisse italy ireland 6N 2011

Parisse: World-class player

Thomas Domingo

Domingo: Part of an impressive pack

James Hook wales v england 6N 2011

Hook: Impressed

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A fantastic weekend in the RBS Six Nations saw the opening salvos fired - with England, Ireland and France able to look back on winning starts.

With the World Cup approaching fast, a good run of form now is crucial - as England found out in 2003.

Having won the tournament in Australia eight years ago on the back of their Grand Slam success, the class of 2011 got off to a positive start as they toppled Wales in Cardiff.

Ironically it was England's first win in the Welsh capital since 2003 - and although there is plenty to work on, boss Martin Johnson will have been pleased with his side's positive approach.

France began the defence of their title with an impressive 34-21 win over Scotland, with the front row, in particular, looking fearsome in Paris.

Scotland will take heart from their display, though, as they scored three tries at the Stade de France.

Ireland escaped with victory in Italy but only after they were given a scare by the Azzurri. Ronan O'Gara's late drop goal snatched victory away from the hosts.

And following all the action, Skysports.com rugby union expert Tony Curtis names his team of the weekend - so feel free to let us know your views via the form below...

15 James Hook (Wales)

One of the few Wales players who can be pleased with his shift at the Millennium Stadium but why wasn't he starting at fly-half? When Hook was eventually moved to 10, the Wales backline looked far more dangerous.

14 Chris Ashton (England)

Ashton might be gaining a reputation as being a clinical finisher, but it is worth noting that his work-rate as a winger is second to none and allows him to be in the right positions at the right times.

13 Aurelien Rougerie (France)

The centre had a hand in one try - courtesy of his delightful grubber kick - and was unlucky not to score one himself.

12 Alberto Sgarbi (Italy)

So often the whipping boys of the competition, it is rare to see an Italian make it into the XV. However Sgarbi deserves his spot after giving Ireland a torrid time in Rome. Was a threat throughout with some powerful runs, while he made some telling tackles.

11 Keith Earls (Ireland)

One of the few Irishmen to leave Rome with his reputation enhanced. Looked dangerous with the ball in hand and was consistently looking for work.

10 Toby Flood (England)

A faultless performance from the Leicester man, who is really growing into the fly-half shirt for England. Kicked brilliantly all night in Cardiff, while he spotted the gap to set Ashton up for the first try.

9 Morgan Parra (France)

Everything that was good about France's back play in Paris came from Parra. He set the pace for the game and kept Scotland on the back foot.

1, 2 & 3 Thomas Domingo, William Servat and Nicolas Mas (France)

So impressive was France's destruction of Scotland upfront in Paris it is impossible to split up Domingo, Servat and Mas. As a unit, there is possibly not a better front row in world rugby. Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and the once-untouchable Euan Murray will not enjoy watching the repeats of the match.

4 Alastair Kellock (Scotland)

Rose to the occasion as skipper and put in an impressive shift for his side. Scored a try, worked tirelessly throughout and was constantly rallying his troops.

5 Tom Palmer (England)

Quickly becoming the heartbeat of the England pack and argued a good case to be the man of the match in Cardiff. Made plenty of yards with the ball in hand, was the banker option in the lineout and produced some telling hits in defence.

6 Tom Wood (England)

Watch out Croft there is another Tom with his eyes on the England No.6 jersey ahead of the World Cup. In the absence of Lions international Croft, Wood took his chance at the Millennium Stadium with an impressive debut.

7 John Barclay (Scotland)

The pick of the Scotland back-row in Paris as he stood toe-to-toe with the French pack. Seemed to cover every blade of grass in attack and defence and was a constant menace at the breakdown.

8 Sergio Parisse (Italy)

One of the best players in the world and he showed his talent as he upstaged the Irish pack with a stunning display. Unlucky to walk off a loser as his display deserved so much more.

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Comments (11)

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Geoffrey Hill says...

The southern hemisphere teams say they are not worried by the performance so far of the home teams in the six nations, well so what? Australia and South Africa often blow their own horns when it comes to internationals but we shall see in the world cup. I'm sure our home sides will put up a fair defence of themselves and they might even shut the loud mouths of our southern hemisphere friends too. Never write off any of our home teams, it may just come back and bite you

Posted 03:50 9th February 2011

Chris A says...

pity wales never have their full side out .Would be great to see what they could do.Too many injuries to key players.

Posted 16:21 8th February 2011

Konrad Knoesen says...

Average start to the opening weekend of the six nations,although France did stand out from the rest,as usual.Lets hope it gets better by next weekend...The three southern hemisphere giants wont be quaking in their boots,trust me...more like frowning as to say: 'Is that it?'....I'm pretty sure Mark Meadows didn't convey actually challenging NZ themselves,just challenging over all...besides,they are grouped with the mighty Boks...watch out Wales....they'll need more than just luck....

Posted 15:19 7th February 2011

Toby Mccarthy says...

The young Scottish lock Richie Gray was immense. Would have been my first pick at 4 or 5 from the weekend.

Posted 14:50 7th February 2011

Howard King says...

Mark Meadows, you should be more concerned about Wales challenging Italy, never mind New Zealand. Ha Ha!

Posted 12:47 7th February 2011

Ashley Howkins says...

A very good squad, with few faults, although I think Foden the other Scottish 2nd row and Hartley will feel unluck not be included. I'm not denying that Hook didn't have a good game, but I think at full-bcak Foden had a better game, Hook was much better when moved to 10. The other Scottish 2nd row (I can't remember his name) was worth a mention. He cause France lots of problems and carried well. Finally I think Hartley deserved a shout for beating down the critisism he recieved prior to the game.

Posted 12:31 7th February 2011

Steve A says...

Hook looked lost at 10. Dithered, took the wrong options and looked like a rabbit in headlights. He was no better. How you think Hook deserved a spot in this XV is beyond me and an insult to the proper fullbacks this weekend.

Posted 11:54 7th February 2011

Andy C says...

Toby Flood was good, but surely Trinh-Duc should have got the nod, he was fantastic.

Posted 11:42 7th February 2011

Martin Poulter says...

mark wales have a lot of work to do to challenge italy never mind newzealand and as for hook thought he had very average game

Posted 11:41 7th February 2011

Richard Davies says...

There is no way Hook deserves to be in there, Foden and MacClean clearly had better games. Also no place in there for Medard, even though he was Man of the Match in the best game of the weekend? Bradley Davies is unlucky not to be in ahead of Kellock.

Posted 11:29 7th February 2011

Mark Meadows says...

Good shout on Hook. Looked far more dangerous than Stephen Jones when moved to fly-half. Wales have a lot of work to do though to challenge in New Zealand.

Posted 10:57 7th February 2011

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