Antoine Dupont dazzles as Ireland moves closer to Grand Slam

Antoine Dupont – – Getty Images/Harry Murphy

England suffered their biggest home defeat in history as France sauntered to a 10-53 win at Twickenham, scoring seven tries to earn a bonus point win.

While Andy Farrell’s side of Ireland ended their Grand Slam with an impressive 7-22 win over Scotland at Murrayfield, they only needed a win against England next week to clinch the title.

In Rome, Wales held off a late Italy comeback to earn their first win of 2023 after Warren Gatland swung the ax with six changes.

But who did enough to be Telegraph Sports Team of the Weekend?

15. Thomas Ramos (France)

Fabien Galthié sat down with Ramos against Melvyn Jaminet at full-back and was rewarded with a commanding performance at Twickenham, where the 27-year-old scored an early try and posed a constant threat while scoring 18 points from the tee.

14. Mack Hansen (Ireland)

Damian Penaud sacked two tries to beat England before Hansen’s all-around display at Murrayfield, with a breakdown stoppage and typically clean Link play and a try, kept Ireland on course for a Grand Slam.

Mack Hansen - - Getty Images/Harry Murphy

Mack Hansen – – Getty Images/Harry Murphy

13. Gaël Fickou (France)

Huw Jones’ superb championship continued with a tight finish and some strong runs against Ireland. Despite a shot over the line, Juan Ignacio Brex impressed for Italy. Fickou is just incredibly consistent in all areas. He completed 13 clean-shooting tackles to rule out England.

12. Jonathan Danty (France)

Speaking of England’s exclusion, the collapse of Danty proved hugely influential. Steve Borthwick expected the busy, vigorous center to be available. Killing him was another matter.

11. James Lowe (Ireland)

An enthusiastic Duhan van der Merwe started brilliantly at Murrayfield but Ireland seemed to thrive in the chaos of a fractured and dramatic second half. Not surprisingly, Lowe was among her most prominent figures. With the ball in his hands, he covered 96 meters.

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

Sexton led Ireland past Scotland, scoring a couple of crucial kicks in the process that saw him rise to the top of Six Nations points-scorers alongside Ronan O’Gara. Romain Ntamack almost ousted him. He was confident and composed as France ended an 18-year wait to defeat England at Twickenham.

9.Antoine Dupont (France)

Rhys Webb couldn’t have done much more to claim that spot. He was outstanding on a difficult afternoon for Wales. Then Dupont produced one of his superhuman games. Despite some mistakes forced by England’s defensive pressure, the scrum half was just superb.

Antoine Dupont-Getty Images/Adrian Dennis

Antoine Dupont-Getty Images/Adrian Dennis

1. Andrew Porter (Ireland)

Injuries to Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher required Porter to last the full 80 minutes in Edinburgh and he did it admirably, with Ireland’s crush looking to grow even stronger when Cian Healy was introduced as the emergency hooker. Cyril Baille is also an excellent player.

2. Ken Owens (Wales)

Julien Marchand was one of France’s bullying glitch scrapers but Owens is known for guiding Wales to an important win in challenging times. The line out was generally decent and the hooker was busy in the loose, picking up 12 tackles.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Dorian Aldegheri helped end the English scrum just before half-time, which depended on Charles Ollivon’s first try. Zander Fagerson being substituted in the 54th minute came as a surprise given Scotland’s set piece went well. Furlong lasted 65 years on his return. While the attacking porters must wait, he would have given Andy Farrell enormous encouragement.

4. Thibaud Flament (France)

Towering Adam Beard made some positive contributions for Wales in Rome. However, Flament capitalized on his chance with France, adding two tries at Twickenham. The first was a close-range shot to cap a powerful phasing game, while the second saw him clinging to Romain Ntamack’s tapback for the power over.

5. James Ryan (Ireland)

Only Jack Conan recorded more carries than Ryan, who has been among Ireland’s best throughout the campaign. Too bad his offload to James Lowe didn’t quite stick. Ryan and Peter O’Mahony should be commended for navigating the line-outs as Ireland lost both hookers.

James Ryan - - Reuters/Russell Cheyne

James Ryan – – Reuters/Russell Cheyne

6. Charles Ollivon (France)

It took a special effort for O’Mahony to get knocked out of that back row. Ollivon, another French forward who scored two tries, was outstanding. Rugged and athletic, he is both a popular line-out jumper and outdoor game breaker.

7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

François Cros was a significant part of a dynamic and tenacious French pack, but Van der Flier just keeps producing. He led Ireland’s tackle count at 18 and took charge of throwing the line out when his side suddenly found himself short-handed. Van der Flier also pounced on a critical turnover when Duhan van der Merwe stormed through.

8. Gregory Alldritt (France)

What a time for France’s renowned number eight to regain his best form. At its peak, all-third marries effective carry with relentless jackalling. Both were seen at Twickenham. Jack Conan and Taulupe Faletau also shone.

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