Six Nations: Team of the Tournament

After watching my young, beloved England team get literally smashed apart by fifteen ferocious Welsh dragons, it’s hard to just think about the tournament let alone write about it but here is my team of the tournament (and no I won’t be putting many English players in). Honorable mentions will be given if I thought it was a close decision.

Fullback – Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

The Welshman had a fine Six Nations and has definitely secured his place on the Lions’ Tour. His defending was second to none whilst his attacking play was a joy to behold at times.

Honorable Mention: Alex Goode (England)

Right Wing – Alex Cuthbert (Wales)

Scoring four tries is no mean feat but when no one comes close to you in the scoring charts, as a winger I think you know you’ve done you’re job well.

Outside Centre – Manu Tuilagi (England)

England have, in my opinion, the best outside centre in international rugby right now. Whilst he lacks the pace to finish off moves, his agility and strength are utterly mind-blowing. He made Bastareaud quake in his boots.

Inside Centre – Brad Barritt (England)

Easily the best defensive back of the tournament, he rarely missed a tackle and delivered some heavy blows. Had Wesley Fofana not been incumberlantly placed on the wing for the first two games he may have been chosen here.

Honorable Mention: Wesley Fofana (France)

Left Wing – George North (Wales)

Just a phenomenal rugby player. North is my favourite player to watch in the Northern Hemisphere and it’s because he can do it all. There are minimal weaknesses for someone so young and he will simply get better with time.

Honorable Mention: Tim Vissier (Scotland)

Fly Half – Owen Farrell (England)

The next superstar of rugby, Farrell lost his composure in Cardiff but that game aside, he was by far the best no.10 over the past few weeks. The future looks good for England with this one at the helm.

Scrum Half – Mike Phillips (Wales)

As always, having a scrum half of the size of Phillips is always going to cause problems for the opposition. This year his passing was good as it has been known to be a little wayward at times.

Honorable Mention: Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)

Loosehead Prop – Gethin Jenkins (Wales)

The Welsh frontrow were magnificent, especially against England so it’s tough to pick against any of them. I had never heard of Ryan Grant before this year’s Six Nations, but he was fantastic too.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Grant (Scotland)

Hooker – Richard Hibbard (Wales)

Similar reasons to Jenkins above except that Hibbard was phenomenal in the lineout, especially when compared to the others over these 18 matches.

Honorable Mention: Tom Youngs (England)

Tighthead Prop – Adam Jones (Wales)

A great tournament for the experienced prop, who used all his nous during the match against England, though it mustn’t be forgotten how well he played against Scotland and a rampant Ryan Grant.

Second Row – Donnacha Ryan (Ireland) and Ian Evans (Wales)

Both Evans and Ryan were secure options at the lineout but they both played well outside of the set pieces. I was tempted to drop Ryan due to the Italy game but decided his performances in the previous games should out weigh that. Both England locks played well as did Alun Wyn Jones but the Welshman didn’t play enough games to warrant a place in this side.

Honorable Mentions: Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury (Both England)

Blindside Flanker – Alessandro Zanni (Italy)

Zanni outshone Parisse for the first on the international stage. The experienced flanker produced sublime moments with the ball, offloading in tackles at every opportunity. Italy are not just a one star team anymore.

Openside Flanker – Kelly Brown (Scotland)

Brown has shown why he is such an integral part of Saracen’s squad. His desire and workrate is second to none, and despite not having the same talents as Warburton, his play in defence earned him a place on my team of the tournament. Chris Robshaw led England well but I think he lacks certain qualities required of a truly great no.7

Honorable Mentions: Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric (Both Wales)

Number 8 – Louis Picamoles (France)

This was probably the hardest decision I had to make. Louis Picamoles has been the best ball carrier in this tournament, filling Imanol Harinordoquy’s shoes brilliantly. However both Sergio Parisse and Toby Faletau have been excellent. I was extremely close to picking Parisse but despite being weak defensively, Picamoles was my choice.

Honorable Mentions: Sergio Parisse (Italy) and Toby Faletau (Wales)

 

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