Storm Ciara had a big say in the Six Nations this week, and is sure to have blown a few Fantasy Rugby squads off course. All three senior men's matches were blustery affairs both on the ground and in the heavens.
Ireland and Wales kicked off proceedings in Dublin as Ciara made her intentions for the weekend clear. The hosts, ferocious in attack and defence from one to 15 were a very different animal to the one that limped to victory against Scotland on opening weekend.
Speaking of Scotland, the weather was the best mitigation for a performance against an England side that had brought three opensides to a breakdown fight. Ludlum, Curry and Underhill were more effective than Ritchie, Watson and Bradbury. None of those six make ESPN's Fantasy Rugby team of the week -- breakdown battles don't score heavily, otherwise Peter O'Mahony would be in just about every week -- but it's telling that Scotland is the only nation without representation here.
And then there was France, who had put on one of the great defensive performances against England last week, and who were typically, frustratingly French against an Italy side that couldn't muster up a single point against Wales. They were brilliant at times during their bonus-point 35-22 win. At others, they were a side less than ordinary.
Without further ado, then, here is ESPN's Fantasy Rugby team of the week.
13.1 points, 6.3% owned
Introducing, if you haven't already met, the player destined to wear the 15 of Ireland for years to come. Scored his seventh international try, and was always dangerous on the counter -- both of which do wonders for Fantasy Rugby totals.
12.2 points, 0.2% owned
Yes, a second fullback in ESPN's Fantasy Rugby team of the week, but Hayward did plenty right and very, very little wrong in Paris on a day when the Azzurri could hold their heads high. Deserves a place here for a fine all-round performance.
9.86 points, 1.7% owned
Goodness, but winger Conway was special in tough conditions against a Wales side looking for their ninth Six Nations win in a row. His defensive reading was so good it was as if he had a copy of the Welsh playbook in his locker. He chased everything fired into a glowering sky, and scored the bonus-point try five minutes from time.
3.98 points, 25.3% owned
On the whole, Wales' backs did not have the greatest day out in Dublin on Saturday. Parkes was the best of them, by some margin. Was correctly denied a try by the TMO, but at least tried to muster some get-up-and-go into the Welsh backline.
3.54 points, 10.6% owned
The second of three Italians in the Fantasy Rugby team of the week. Morisi scored no points, didn't make that huge an amount of metres in heavy midfield traffic, didn't supply a final, telling pass. What he did, crucially on a miserable day when flashy centre play was a fever dream, was stay busy in defence, and do just the right thing in attack.
14.04 points, 18% owned
Kicking was far from easy in a windy Paris on Sunday. Ntamack missed a few that he would normally slot, and was unlucky to see his best effort, from out wide, bounce back off the crossbar. But his brilliant solo-effort try midway through the second half would have had your parents reminiscing fondly about his dad, while his kick-through for Teddy Thomas' opener was pure Freddie Michalak insouciance.
7.82 points, 43.5% owned
Young Dupont's dabs are a sign of the good things that France are starting to do at Test level. Currently the one nine to rule them all -- despite Baptiste Serin's one-man try at the end -- and at 23 he'll be around for a long time, too.
19.66 points, 32.1% owned
A try and a second player-of-the-match performance in as many weeks was the twin reward for a player who is clearly determined to sew himself into Les Bleus' eight shirt for a while and at least make Jordan Joseph work to take it off his back when the 19-year-old, currently captain of the under-20 side, comes knocking in the next 18 months or so.
12.48 points, 46.3% owned
Another big shift for the Welsh openside, duly rewarded with the real-life consolation touchdown that scored him a goodly number of his Fantasy Rugby points this week. Remember, tries from forwards are worth more than those from flash-boy backs.
11.24 points, 21.1% owned
Three tries in his first two games as France captain is about as unshabby as it gets. His short-range score against Italy was not quite as glamorous as his brace against England, but they all get the same number of Fantasy Rugby points. Perhaps needed to take a few of his players by the scruffs of their necks in the closing half-hour...
5.52 points, 44.7% owned
France, very effectively, nullified Itoje on the opening weekend. This week, the scrum cap was back in place and so was the nuisance, as the Saracens lock got through a frankly monstrous amount of work -- and even helped shove Ellis Genge over the line for the only try of the game in Edinburgh.
Alun Wyn Jones
4.28 points, 26.3% owned
The Wales captain did everything he could -- and more -- to bend the game to his will. He made one score, tackled himself into the ground, was as solid as ever in lineouts and mauls. It was a typically epic performance that deserved more support from those around him.
9.3 points, 0.6% owned
Scoring a try is always a big points scorer for those who are about to scrum, which explains why Genge, who didn't come on until the 56th minute, takes his place in this week's Fantasy Rugby front-row. Otherwise, we might have seen the player he replaced -- a certain Mako Vunipola -- who did no small amount of work in the tight, and in the loose.
8.72 points, 0.1% owned
Another replacement. Another try-scorer for the front-row club, and some useful points for the 0.1% of you who have him in your XV this week. His touchdown at the base of the posts is the important factor that has done the bulk of the points damage here and put these three players well above their rivals for ESPN's Fantasy Rugby 1-2-3 of the week.
10.18 points, 56.7% owned
It was a good week for the front-row club. Storm Ciara meant those glory boys with the high numbers on their backs had less chance to shine, and three front rowers got their names on the scoreboard, thus scoring heavily for any Fantasy Rugby manager who had any combination of them in their XVs. This was Furlong's fourth touchdown for Ireland since the start of 2019. No other prop can keep up.