Six Nations team of the week: Which players starred in round four?

Maro Itoje, Georges-Henri Colombe, James Lowe and Ange Capuozzo all make our Six Nations team of the week (Getty Images/Fotor)
Maro Itoje, Georges-Henri Colombe, James Lowe and Ange Capuozzo all make our Six Nations team of the week (Getty Images/Fotor)

A vintage Six Nations weekend has thrown the championship back open after shock wins for England and Italy in the penultimate round of fixtures.

Steve Borthwick’s side produced perhaps their best performance under the head coach to stun Ireland at Twickenham, with their power game to the fore as the visitors grand slam dreams were derailed.

In Rome, meanwhile, Scotland could not sustain a strong start as the Azzurri came roaring back in a performance of real confidence and composure to secure their first victory under Gonzalo Quesada.

There was plenty of action in Sunday’s clash between Wales and France, with the sheer size and skill of the travelling team eventually too much for Warren Gatland’s men, who remain winless in the competion.

Which players sparkled across the three games? Here,The Independent’s rugby writers pick our team of the weekend.

Loosehead prop: Ellis Genge (England)

A return to form for Ellis Genge, carrying with the spite and strength of old early on to set the tone for England’s physically dominant performance. Good at scrum-time, too, though one clearout on Tadhg Furlong may be looked at by the citing commisioner. Cyril Baillewas prominent for France, too.

Hooker: George Turner (Scotland)

Italy’s Giacomo Nicotera and England captain Jamie George weren’t far away but Turner gets the nod at hooker after continuing his rock solid tournament with a busy and effective outing in Rome.

Tighthead prop: Georges-Henri Colombe (France)

 (David Davies/PA Wire)
(David Davies/PA Wire)

It feels strange that there is not more French representation in our pack given how they took control of the contest up front, but Georges-Henri Colombe merits inclusion after an outstanding debut off the bench. Colombe turned the screw at the set piece and provided plenty of carrying theat around the fringes.

Lock: Maro Itoje (England)

A good weekend for lock play, with France’s trio all mightily impressive in Cardiff, Federico Ruzza a key cog in Italy’s win and Tadhg Beirne impressive in defeat for Ireland. But it was England’s ability to knock the grand slam chasers off their game that we will remember from round four, and Itoje deserves credit for his role within that, harrying around the breakdown, disrupting in the air and calling England’s own lineout ball superbly, including a crucial Theo Dan throw to Sam Underhill at the tail late on.

Lock: George Martin (England)


Itoje, though, was probably the lesser of the locks for England — which is testament to just how well Martin played. In his last two starts for his country, Martin has gone head-to-head with two of the best second row partnerships in the world and come out firmly in credit. His punch in the tackle is quite something, and marries with excellent technique.

Blindside flanker: Dafydd Jenkins (Wales)

A first start at six at senior level for Jenkins and a close to faultless fulfilling of the brief - 26/26 tackles and some good lineout work to provide what Warren Gatland wanted as Wales bravely stuck in it for 65 minutes in Cardiff.

Openside flanker: Michele Lamaro (Italy)


An inspiration. After a subdued World Cup, Lamaro has been on it each and every week for Italy in this campaign, a tireless tackler again topping the charts for his side in round four. But he is in as much for his leadership — Italy have not won many games of late but were comfortably the calmer side in the crunch.

Number eight: Ben Earl (England)

Earl began the year declaring that he hoped to thrust himself into the conversation as one of the best players in the world; if he keeps producing performance like Saturday’s, he’ll be in the mix. A sensational effort from a man who has embraced his role as England’s primary ball carrier but lost none of his trademark explosiveness.

Scrum half: Alex Mitchell (England)

The flashy touches and smart kicking of Nolann Le Garrec (France) put Mitchell’s place in this composite selection under threat but the tempo that the scrum half found was key to England’s win. There was a noticeable drop off when the Northampton man departed.

Fly half: Paolo Garbisi (Italy)

How lovely to see Garbisi with a smile on his face after that cruel ending in Lille in round three, the fly half good from the tee and excellent elsewhere to illustrate an Italian victory. Sam Costelow was very tidy before his perplexing early substitution against France.

Wing: James Lowe (Ireland)

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Two tries and a handful of cutting carries for Lowe, who on another day might have been the match-winner. England forced Ireland away from their long kicking strategy but Lowe’s big left boot still had an impact, forcing an error in the air from George Furbank and flipping the field several times early on. Rio Dyer (Wales) was close.

Inside centre: Tommaso Menoncello (Italy)

What a talent Menoncello is, a furious ball carrier who Scotland found too hot to handle on Saturday afternoon. The centre made 47 metres after contact and tickled the ribs of anyone who dared try his channel defensively to boot.

Outside centre: Gael Fickou (France)


France’s defensive captain will be frustrated with how soft some of his side’s efforts without the ball were but made up for it with a performance of attacking opulence. Closing in on a century of caps but no less of a threat than when he made his debut as an 18-year-old more than a decade ago.

Wing: Damian Penaud (France)

The best wing in the world? Several times on Sunday, Penaud seemed to apparate out of contact and beyond the Welsh edge defence, limbs whirring as he accelerated away. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso had a promising first England start.

Full-back: Ange Capuozzo (Italy)

It is a shame that people will remember Duhan van der Merwe’s carrying of Capuozzo back over his own line rather than all of the good stuff that the Italy full-back produced to help spark his side into action. Quick as a hiccup and with growing influence in phase play, Capuozzo also dealt well with the aerial contests despite being significantly out-sized by the Scottish back three.