Chris Foy reveals his Six Nations team of the week

Magnificent Antoine Dupont and Johnny Sexton combine, while Scotland’s giant wing and two-try hero Duhan van der Merwe also makes the cut… but do any England players make CHRIS FOY’S Six Nations team of the week?

  • Antoine Dupont and Johnny Sexton impressed in wins for France and Ireland 
  • Italian Ange Capuozzo produced a stunning try as they pushed France close  
  • England’s Six Nations campaign got off to a defeat to Scotland at Twickenham 

This line-up changed several times on Sunday afternoon as Italy threatened to pull off a massive shock by beating France. They didn’t quite manage it, but several of their players stood out.

Ordinarily, a composite team largely features players from winning sides, but the Azzurri were so impressive in pushing the champions to the brink that recognition was fully deserved. 

There was no way I could omit their new sensation and world breakthrough Player of the Year, Ange Capuozzo, who produced a stunning finish for his try. Poor Gregory Alldritt didn’t stand a chance of stopping him. As they said on the ITV commentary: ‘It’s like trying to tackle a racing snake.’

Of the other Italians, London Irish prop Danilo Fischetti was a strong contender at loosehead, as were lock Federico Ruzza and blindside flanker Sebastian Negri. 

There wasn’t room for all of these worthy candidates, but Benetton centre Ignacio Brex was included after a powerful performance in midfield, along with Lorenzo Cannone – a rising star at No 8

Ange Capuozzo of Italy produced a stunning try as Italy pushed the champions to the brink

Luke Crosbie (left) made 20 tackles and missed none during Scotland’s win at Twickenham

Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler made the team despite their opening loss at the Six Nations

The latter was a close call in a competitive area. So many back-rowers were superb on the opening weekend, but Ireland’s Caelan Doris was a shoo-in on the strength of his tour de force in Cardiff, so he has been accommodated at blindside. 

The entire Scotland trio were immense against England and Luke Crosbie takes the openside slot after making 20 tackles and missing none. Richard Cockerill called him a ‘tough bugger’ and that’s a fair verdict.

England are represented by their starting props, Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler, who gradually gained the ascendancy in the scrum against Scotland. 

Genge touched down and carried with relentless intensity, while Sinckler’s passing was shrewd and slick. 

Ireland’s Finaly Bealham narrowly missed out but he emphatically stood up to the task of deputising for the great Tadhg Furlong.

Completing the composite pack are Richie Gray – who hit hard and handled expertly at Twickenham – and Ireland’s James Ryan, who was back in vintage form as the visiting pack pounded Wales into submission. 

Along with Ruzza, Ollie Chessum of England was another leading contender.

Half-back was one of the easier selection areas, as the magnificent France captain, Antoine Dupont, was Man of the Match in Rome and Johnny Sexton orchestrated the Irish onslaught in Cardiff with typical authority, despite a shortage of recent game-time. 

Antoine Dupont was Man of the Match in Rome after producing a stunning performance

Johnny Sexton (right) orchestrated the Irish onslaught as they smashed Wales 34-10

There should be an honourable mention for Scotland scrum-half Ben White, who touched down against England – and his partner Finn Russell, who kept playing with his usual daring streak despite some early lapses.

Joining Brex in midfield is Sione Tuipulotu, who showed great awareness and technique in creating Huw Jones’ try for Scotland with a deft grubber kick behind the advancing Red Rose defence. And with Capuozzo in the back three are Hugo Keenan – who was imperious, again, as Ireland’s last line of defence – and Duhan van der Merwe; Scotland’s giant wing who scored two tries.

There can’t be any complaints about that last selection, at least. And for those who would protest about any of the other choices – put aside national allegiance for a minute and try assembling your own XV on merit. It is not an easy task!

 Six Nations team of the week: Hugo Keenan (Ire); Ange Capuozzo (Ita), Ignacio Brex (Ita), Sione Tuipulotu (Sco), Duhan Van der Merwe (Sco); Johnny Sexton (Ire), Antione Dupont (Fra); Ellis Genge (Eng), Dan Sheehan (Ire), Kyle Sinckler (Eng); Richie Gray (Sco), James Ryan (Ire); Caelan Doris (Ire), Lorenzo Cannone (Ita), Luke Crosbie (Sco).

Duhan van der Merwe had to make the team following his stunning try against England

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