Who saw that weekend coming, eh? Wales returned, France and Ireland played out a Six Nations classic and certain English rugby pundits believed that the Messiah had truly arrived.
So, who made our list for Round Two?
Ireland: Mack Hansen
How many times has someone burst onto the international scene with a brilliant debut, only to immediately disappear into obscurity?
Not Mack Hansen.
His try from the restart was both opportunistic and skilful; a perfect example of the Irish winger’s work rate in what was easily the game of the weekend. If given another opportunity against Italy in two weeks time, he may just add a few more tries to his name.
Scotland: Pierre Schoeman
Bomb squad or bam squad: whatever you called Scotland’s front row replacement tactic, there was a sense of expectation that they would blow Wales out the park. In reality, not much changed.
In fact, with Sutherland soon lost to injury, The Greatest Schoeman returned for an encore, putting in a powerful shift as the game reached its final act.
Victory may have been out of reach, but his performance may have been enough to ensure a key roll against France in two weeks.
England: Harry Randall
For all the talk about Marcus Smith – and yes ITV, it was excruciatingly painful to listen to – England’s attacking tempo in the first half stemmed from Randall’s speedy service.
In a game that didn’t require the tactical control of Murrayfield the weekend before, Randall was able to focus on unleashing England’s backline, helping to rack up a few early tries.
Will Eddie Jones give the livewire scrum half another opportunity from the starting berth this spring?
Wales: Dan Biggar
10 minutes into the game and Biggar looked to be struggling. A few big hits from Scotland’s defence left the man making his 100th test rugby appearance sore and limping. Rarely was there a break in play during the 70 or so minutes he spent on the field where he wasn’t receiving treatment.
And yet he controlled the game marvellously.
A strong territorial battle kept Wales in the perfect position to continue converting opportunities. With a drop goal chucked in for good measure, it was a strong all-round performance from Wales’ captain – one he said was their best yet.
France: Melvyn Jaminet
Offering the creative spark of Brice Dulin, but with added control, Jaminet looked strong against Ireland on Saturday night.
As part of a glittering backline, his assured boot kept France in a good position throughout – the six successful penalty kicks making a crucial impact on the score board. You certainly feel like there is more to come from this young full back.
Italy: Michele Lamaro
On a difficult day for the Italians, Lamaro did what he could to lead his young team from the front. His 41 tackles over two games emphasises the defensive effort they’ve been forced to make, although some heavy carries highlighted the captain’s attacking qualities too.
Sunday may not have been Italy’s day, but while playing poor they were no where near the level of 2021 where shipping 50+ points was the norm. Progress, albeit slow, is being made.
So France lead the way, but four teams all sit ready to pounce at the first mistake from their opponents. With three rounds left, there is still so much to play for.
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