With only two matches worth mentioning this week, it made the job a little easier but only just. The competition at lock, in particular, was fierce.
2 – Ross Ford (Scotland) A workmanlike effort that kept his side in the game, his lineout throwing was spot-on. Not a vintage performance but not much to complain about either.
3 – Dan Cole (England) Rock solid in the scrum and noticably present at the breakdown. Getting close to being back to his best.
4 – Luke Charteris (Wales) Surely his finest hour in the Welsh jersey. Reportedly a tournament record number of tackles and a razor-like thorn in the side of the Irish lineout.
5 – Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) Difficult choice with O’Connell, Gray, and Lawes all in the running, but Jones was a colossus at the contact area. His one-man ruck effort paved the way for the match winning try.
6 – Peter O’Mahony (Ireland) Didn’t get much change with ball in hand but a constant source of energy in the tight-loose. Made his tackles and a primary target in the lineout.
7 – Sam Warburton (Wales) Like O’Mahony, he had it tough with ball in hand, but his defense was extraordinary. Tremendous effort from the record-winning captain.
8 – Billy Vunipola (England) Bashed away at the Scottish defensive line and got his side moving forwards. Contributed heavily in defense with a couple big tackles.
9 – Ben Youngs (England) Enjoyed his battle against Greig Laidlaw and combined well with Ford to keep the tempo high. Pretty solid effort all around.
10 – George Ford (England) A slight off-week from Jonny Sexton opens the door for the Bath maestro. Scored 15 points himself and had a hand in the rest.
11 – Jack Nowell (England) How many metres did he make in the end? Caused havoc in the wide spaces, seemed to beat defenders at will and got a late try for his efforts.
12 – Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) Hard to leave out Jamie Roberts, but the Connacht star had a greater impact going forward and was almost as good in defense. His stock continues to rise.
13 – Jonathan Joseph (England) Another week, another try, another thrilling display of attacking rugby. With front foot ball there are few who match his ability to beat defenders.
14 – Tommy Bowe (Ireland) Didn’t get any scores but put in a huge effort with ball in hand. Made himself available as an option for Sexton all day.
15 – Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) Do you side with audacity or opt for perfection? The Welsh talisman gets the nod over Stuart Hogg for a near flawless exhibition in Cardiff.