Two Cents Rugby selects its top five players from the first round

Dan Sheehan for Ireland Credit: Alamy

Dan Sheehan for Ireland Credit: Alamy

With the first week of the Six Nations in the bag, Two Cents Rugby pick five of the round’s standout players and it’s a healthy mix of forwards and backs.

In no particular order, the YouTube star joins us throughout the championship and begins his selection for the first round. Give your opinion in the comments.

Two Cents Rugby’s top five players from Six Nations, Round One

Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)

Matches between England and Scotland are often exciting affairs with a magical moment as the difference. In this year’s game, much of that magic came from Van der Merwe. His first try in the 29th minute is one that will grace Six Nations highlights for years to come. Beating five defenders in one go, with more grace than his usual power play, will be one to give English defensive coaches nightmares.

But it wasn’t just his miracle attempt that stood out. He recorded a total of 11 defenders defeated, including a pair with his second try of the game. For context, the second best player for breaking tackles in that game was Marcus Smith with four. He also looked comfortable under the high ball as he was called up to do his part in countering England’s kicking game. A big game from the big man.

Caelan Doris (Ireland)

Doris remains Mr Everywhere in this Irish back row. It was no real surprise that he was Johnny on the spot for Ireland’s first try, a team effort well executed. That carry was one of 11 for Doris, the most of any Irish forward. He also passed the ball more than any other Irish striker, winning three lineouts, highlighting the man’s ball control to match his physical play.

Perhaps most impressive, however, was his defensive shift. Ireland’s defense was solid as a team, but Doris’ 18 tackles from 18 tries were his side’s highest. He even gets a turnover to his name. Tries, tackles, passes and more, Doris does it all.

Gael Fickou (France)

Not France’s best day at the office, but Fickou continues to show both his class and experience. He may not have gotten his name on the scoreboard, but he is often the man who gets the ball over the front line. His six defenders were defeated for most of the game and twice his strong attack happened one stage before a French attempt.

One area of ​​his game where he consistently excels and is less flashy is his defense. In this game France had to defend a lot and Fickou led the way for the French full backs. Credited with 15 tackles and none missed, that gives him more tackles than any other this weekend.

Ollie Chessum (England)

Taking Jonny Hill’s place put some extra pressure on Chessum, but he comfortably stepped into the starting roll. If you had told me prior to this weekend that Chessum would carry nearly 50 yards I wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s what he did. A few defeated defenders contributed to what was an impressive carrying shift.

He also showed his ability to handle the ball with seven passes, including his part with the fast hands that Max Malins crossed for his second try. Chessum was also the best lineoutman of the week with nine takes. He conceded a few penalties, but overall a very positive performance for the second rower.

Dan Sheehan (Ireland)

After a fantastic 2022, Sheehan continued his rich form in the opener against Wales. Sheehan’s ball-carrying was dynamic, as we are used to. His six defenders beat the most of any Irish player and he even led the Irish on their way to clean breaks with two. You know he plays with confidence when he props himself up to put ball to ball, not something many whores will attempt, and he discharges with skill too.

For the less flashy stuff, Sheehan continued to impress. Ireland’s lineout worked at 100% and Sheehan took no penalties. He continues to push himself forward as Ireland’s leading hooker, albeit with Ronan Kelleher returning to challenge him for that role soon.

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