Six Nations Team of the Tournament: Ireland rewarded for Grand Slam triumph but France run them close
Now that the dust has settled on another Six Nations Championship, we sat down to select our Team of the Tournament.
Ireland, after claiming their fourth Grand Slam, unsurprisingly lead the way with seven representatives, while France, who particularly impressed in the final two rounds, are the next best with six.
Six Nations Team of the Tournament
15 Thomas Ramos (France): A great series for full-backs and Ramos was in vintage form for France all season where he dominated almost every facet of the game, with an unerring right boot off the tee for the most points and finishing second in tries scored. He was a whisker ahead of the outstanding Hugo Keenan, who was absolutely brilliant for Ireland all tournament making the most metres, 562, 60 more than Ramos. Freddie Steward was England’s most consistent performer, despite seeing red in Dublin, and a special shout out must go to Blair Kinghorn, Scotland’s Swiss army knife off the bench who crossed for four tries.
14 Damian Penaud (France): Penaud again topped the try-scoring list with five and was forever dangerous, and he takes the shirt off the charismatic Irishman Mack Hansen, who was very unlucky to miss out after a brace against Italy. A mention too for Scotland’s Kyle Steyn, an asset for the men in dark blue
13 Huw Jones (Scotland): A tough choice at outside centre with France’s Gael Fickou and Italy’s Juan Ignacio Brex both in imperious form all season, but Jones made more metres than anyone else who wasn’t an outside back and also finished second in the try list. Garry Ringrose may well have been in the reckoning but for his injuries.
12 Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland): An absolute revelation for the Scots and part of a wonderful midfield alongside Jones and Finn Russell, a trio that gave every side problems. Ireland’s Bundee Aki and Stuart McCloskey both played their part in the 12 shirt, and Ollie Lawrence showed promise for England despite their dismal season.
11 James Lowe (Ireland): Another absolutely marvellous season as Lowe finished second in metres ran with 533 and boasted one of the most impressive exit boots in the tournament. Duhan van der Merwe and French starlet Ethan Dumortier both also impressed.
10 Johnny Sexton (Ireland): We could have tossed a coin between France’s Romain Ntamack and Sexton but becoming both the Six Nations top-scorer and a Grand Slam fly-half once again is a special accolade. Finn Russell’s passing into space needs to be seen to be believed at times, whilst Owen Farrell was a vital player in England’s better moments.
9 Antoine Dupont (France): Just incredible. His left footed 50/22 against England might feature in the Spring Collection in the Louvre this year and he continues to do things others can’t even think of doing. Scotland’sBen White’s consistency for the Scots couldn’t be ignored whilst Ireland’s Jamison Gibson-Park impressed every time he had the opportunity.
8 Caelan Doris (Ireland): Doris carried 54 times and topped the turnover list with five in a fantastic all-round season. Taulupe Falateu was also rolling back the years as he became a Test centurion whilst Ireland’s Jack Conan illustrated the depth of Irish back-row talent on the times he came on to replace Doris. France’s Gregory Alldritt started slowly but got better as the tournament went on.
7 Francois Cros (France): With Cros injured, France stuttered in their fluency. With Cros back, they fired again. He’s like a little janitor with a mop and bucket, tut-tutting and following rucks around, clearing up everyone’s mess and putting the breakdown into order. His impact put France back on track and was just a hair more than Italy’s Michele Lamaro or Ireland’s Josh van der Flier, who both starred for their teams, with Van der Flier putting in an impressive shift and becoming a key cog in Ireland’s breakout line out.
6 Charles Ollivon (France): Simply magnificent. 65 tackles, 13 line outs, three turnovers, five offloads, three tries and two try assists just illustrate the enormity of the player that Eddie Jones believes is second only to Dupont in terms of the world order. He completes an all-French flank pairing selection, numbered in the traditional way over the left and right of Les Bleus’ system. Peter O’Mahony was absolutely superb for Ireland and ran Ollivon to the wire whilst Italy’s Seb Negri vindicated his selection once more for Italy in several abrasive shifts, with a mention to Jamie Ritchie and Lewis Ludlam for their all-round excellence.
5 James Ryan (Ireland): A massive shift from a massive man as he lifted the Six Nations and Grand Slam as skipper. Hugely influential, especially around the jackal area where he won five turnovers. He is our player of the season. Federico Ruzza added to his growing reputation as he claimed 39 lineouts, whilst England’s Ollie Chessum also showed promise in his four appearances.
4 Thibaud Flament (France): Flament is nailing down a starting place in Cameron Woki’s absence and produced a sterling display in the lineout and a formidable defensive showing, but it was his try-scoring antics that really grabbed the eye this year. Tadhg Beirne still deserves a mention for his absolute brilliance in the first two matches and Ireland missed him greatly thereafter, whilst Scotland’s Richie Gray again impressed.
3 Finlay Bealham (Ireland): No one really stood out at tighthead, but Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong and Bealham really should be selected as a duo in one shirt! Tomas Francis was consistent for Wales, as was Simone Ferrari for Italy.
2 Dan Sheehan (Ireland): Absolutely magnificent when fit and a nod too to his compatriots Rob Herring and Cian Healy. Scotland’s George Turner is like a fourth back-rower in most games and he contributed in his own way whilst hard tackling Giacomo Nicotera was one of Italy’s successes despite the wooden spoon.
1 Andrew Porter (Ireland): A superb performance from the big prop this year in a very competitive position and he takes the shirt by a whisker from Italy’s brilliant Danilo Fischetti. Scotland’s Pierre Schoeman was one of the leading carriers of the season, whilst Ellis Genge battered the defences tirelessly all campaign.
READ MORE: Two Cents Rugby picks his top five players from the final round of the Six Nations
The article Six Nations Team of the Tournament: Ireland rewarded for Grand Slam triumph but France run them close appeared first on Planetrugby.com.