Two Cents Rugby pick their top five first round players

Dan Sheehan for Ireland Credit: Alamy

With the first week of the Six Nations in the bag, Two Cents Rugby pick five of the standout players for the round and are a healthy combination of forwards and defenders.

In no particular order, the YouTube star will join us throughout the tournament, starting with his first round pick. Give us your opinion in the comments.

Two Cents Rugby top five players from the Six Nations, first round

Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)

Matches between England and Scotland tend to be close matches with one magical moment making all the difference. In this year’s game, much of that magic came from Van der Merwe. His first attempt in the 29th minute is one that will grace Six Nations highlight reels for years to come. Getting past five defenders in a single run, with more grace than his usual power play, will be one that will give England defense coaches nightmares.

But it wasn’t just his wonderful attempt that stood out. He managed to take down 11 total defenders, including some with his second try of the game. For context, the next best player in broken tackles in that game was Marcus Smith with four. He too was comfortable under the high ball when asked to do his part to counter England’s kicking play. A great game from the great man.

Caelan Doris (Ireland)

Doris continues to be Mr Everywhere in this second row from Ireland. It wasn’t a real surprise that he was Johnny in the right place for Ireland’s first try, a well worked out team effort. That carry was one of 11 for Doris, the most by any Irish forward. He also passed the ball more than any other Irish striker and won three lineouts, highlighting the man’s ball handling skills to go along with his physical play.

Perhaps most impressive, though, was his defensive turnaround. Ireland’s defense was solid as a team, but Doris’s 18 tackles in 18 tries was the highest of his team. He is even credited with some billing as well. Downs, tackles, passes and more, Doris does it all.

Gael Fickou (France)

Not France’s best day in the office by any means, but Fickou continues to show his class and experience. He may not have put his name on the scoreboard, but he’s often that guy who passes the ball over the GO line. The six defenses he defeated from him was the most of the match and twice the strong passes from him forward happened a step before a French try.

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 defenses. Credited with 15 tackles and none missed, that gives him more tackles than any other back this weekend.

Ollie Chessum (England)

Taking Jonny Hill’s place there was a bit of added pressure on Chessum, but he stepped into the starting role comfortably. If you had told me before this weekend that Chessum would charge almost 50 meters, I wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s what he did. A couple of beaten defenders added to what was an impressive carry change.

He also displayed his ball-handling ability with seven passes, including his part with quick hands that saw Max Malins miss on his second try. Chessum was also lineout player of the week with nine takes. He conceded a couple of penalties, but overall it was a very positive outing for the second row.

Dan Sheehan (Ireland)

After a fantastic 2022, Sheehan continued his great form in the opener against Wales. Sheehan’s ball handling was dynamic, as we expected. His defending six defeated most of the Irish players and he even led the Irish on clean breaks with two. You know he’s playing with confidence when he leans back to put his boot on the ball, something not many hookers will attempt, and he also offloads with skill.

For the less flashy stuff, Sheehan continued to impress. The Ireland lineout worked 100% and Sheehan did not concede penalties. He continues to push forward as Ireland’s leading man, albeit with Ronan Kelleher coming back to challenge him for that role soon.

READ MORE: Who’s hot and who’s not: Duhan van der Merwe and Ireland shine as it’s a bad week for Welsh rugby

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