Six Nations: Ten top performers from the opening weekend

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Wales romped to victory against Scotland in the Six Nations earlier this year.

The first weekend of the Six Nations is complete with convincing wins for Wales and England, and a last-gasp piece of magic helping Ireland to a win in Paris.

Here we take a look at who the stand-out performers were from the opening round of matches.

Leigh Halfpenny

Much maligned outside Wales for an apparent bluntness in attack, Wales’ new-found expansive game suited the Scarlets full back as he crossed for a brace – his first international tries in five years. Perfection with the boot helped him to a personal haul of 24 points.

Anthony Watson

Dynamic and incisive his finishing prowess is there for all to see. An early score put England at ease and helped them to a convincing win. Always looks dangerous with ball in hand and will provide problems for the best defences in the competition.

Aaron Shingler
May not be the biggest of names in the Wales squad but his work-rate against Scotland was second to none. Part of an imperious back-row performance from the Welsh, the 30-year-old Scarlets man carried well, competed at the breakdown and disrupted Scottish line-out ball.

Jonny Sexton
Was not as influential as he would have liked for the majority of the game against the French but showed his class in the dying seconds. First the audacity to kick cross field to Keith Earls in the final play, then the nerve to slot his drop goal from 45m to break French hearts.

Sam Simmonds
Had the near-impossible task of filling the boots of not only Billy Vunipola but also Nathan Hughes at No.8 for England – but more than rose to the occasion. Dynamic and explosive around the park, his two tries were just reward for a brilliant all round display.

Steff Evans
A highlight reel try capped off an industrious day for the Scarlets wing. Starting to look more assured on the international stage, making metres with ball-in-hand and always looking to offload. Will have more difficult days defensively.

Owen Farrell
An absolute rock at inside centre for England. His partnership with George Ford continues to blossom as does the creativity in the back-line. Had plenty of time on the front foot this weekend and converted much of that into points including a try of his own.

George Ford
The second part of the England 10-12 axis. In a season where his club form has left something to be desired, his ability on the international stage is no longer in question. Some lovely interchange with Farrell kept England in the box-seat throughout.

Teddy Thomas
A relatively dour affair in Paris meant not many from either the French or Irish sides really shone – but Thomas single handedly lit things up with a scintillating second half break leading to a superb individual score. One to watch for the rest of the tournament.

Gareth Davies
Recovered from a dreadful first few minutes to settle Welsh nerves with a well-taken intercept try. Delivered well in open play, and kept the tempo high and Wales on the front foot in attack. The loss of Rhys Webb is not looking such an issue for Wales.

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