Six Nations 2018 - Team of the Tournament

Six Nations 2018 - Team of the Tournament

 


  1. Cian Healy – Ireland

The big loosehead is the first of several Irish players in our Six Nations 2018 team of the tournament. This was an easy decision as Healy consistently performed at a level that was head and shoulders above his loosehead counterparts. He never really came under any significant pressure at scrum time and managed to force several scrum penalties as he drove his opposite numbers backwards at the set piece. He averaged just under 9 carries a game, scored one try and missed zero tackles over the course of the tournament.

  1. Guilhem Guirado - France

Despite some wayward line-out throwing on occasions, the heart and soul of the French resurgence in this tournament has been their hooker and captain Guilhelm Guirado. He was a massive loss to them against Wales as he does all the hard graft, and his tackle-count throughout the tournament was outstanding; completing a total of 69 tackles.

  1. Tadhg Furlong – Ireland

The 25-year-old giant Irishman was simply immense throughout this year’s Six Nations championship, a definite contender for player of the tournament. He made an impressive 33 carries over 5 games, showing some great footwork as well as his obvious brute strength. Defensively, he was impervious, making 26 tackles and missing none. The key player in a consistently dominant Irish scrum and a real workhorse around the park.

  1. James Ryan – Ireland

Yet again the young Irish second row forward proved that he is more than capable of mixing it with the big boys. In just his first Six Nations campaign, Ryan showed that every ounce of hype surrounding him is more than warranted. He was simply unplayable at times. He made a staggering 51 carries over the five games, an average of one carry every five minutes. He was rock solid defensively, secured countless turnovers and consistently dominate the aerial battles at the lineout. Incredibly exciting prospect for the future of Irish rugby.

  1. Jonny Gray – Scotland

Numbers speak for themselves and Gray has really impressive stats in this year's championship. The second-row made 15 tackles in defeat to Wales, 14 in the win over France, a staggering 24 in Scotland's historic victory over England and rounded it off with 19 in Rome against Italy. He was towering presence in the engine room for Scotland and deserves a spot on the side.

  1. Aaron Shingler – Wales

Shingler is an unbelievable athlete who is deceptively quick and brilliant over the ball at the breakdown. The 30-year-old was forced to bide his time for a consistent run of games in the Wales team but he has grabbed that opportunity with both hands. He scored a fantastic try against Ireland, was man of the match against Scotland and impressed in the England game where he made 16 carries and 17 tackles.

  1. Hamish Watson – Scotland

Watson had a wonderful tournament where his work rate at the breakdown was frightening. He is so difficult to bring to the ground in spite of his lack of size, once he locks on to that ball there is only one winner. The openside flanker averaged 15 tackles per game and made 3 crucial turnovers. Scotland have themselves a real talent in an improving back-row.

  1. CJ Stander – Ireland

Stander was Ireland’s most prolific ball carrying forward in this year’s tournament; carrying 95 times over the five games, a staggering average of 3.7 minutes per carry. He consistently edged his way over the gain line – making an impressive total of 194 metres in all. He defended resolutely throughout the campaign, making countless last-ditch cover tackles to save certain tries. He capped off his excellent Six Nations performance with a brilliant try against England.

  1. Conor Murray – Ireland

Murray was one of the key players in Ireland’s Grand Slam winning campaign from start to finish. As we have now come to expect from him, he put in 5 more or less flawless performances. His incredible box kicking ability caused all opposition vast problems and consistently gave Ireland a brilliant attacking platform. His ability to control the tempo of any game is simply astonishing; he knows exactly when to kick and when to pass. As always, he attacked the line expertly, scoring two tries of his own and setting up four for his teammates. He also stepped up to the plate and took on the kicking duties when Sexton was absent.

  1. Jonathan Sexton – Ireland

Sexton sails into our team of the tournament as another key member of the Grand Slam winning Ireland team. Throughout this tournament he showed exactly why he is widely regarded as one of the best players in world rugby at present. His ability to identify and create space with clever footwork, intelligent running lines and accurate, perfectly-timed passing is just breath-taking. He recorded a kick success rate of 72%, below par for a player of his standard but he more than made up for it by creating a vast majority of Ireland’s tries. Provided Ireland fans with the highlight of the Six Nations; his 45m drop goal against France to win the game in the last minute.

  1. Jacob Stockdale – Ireland

The seventh Irishman to make it into our team of the tournament is our pick for player of the tournament, Jacob Stockdale. At just 21 years of age this man already looks to be a real world beater. His combination of sheer strength and blistering pace proved too much to handle for everyone in this campaign. He averaged two clean breaks a game, with an incredible metres gained average of 70. He scored 7 tries over the five games, a new Six Nations record and for that reason, it is impossible to deny him the player of the tournament crown.

  1. Owen Farrell – England

Farell has become the complete rugby player such is his high-level of consistency and versatility where he can play at 10 or 12. The Saracens man oozed class throughout the tournament and was one of the leading lights for England. He was aggressive in defence, potent in attack and it should only be a matter of time before he is given the England captaincy.

  1. Huw Jones – Scotland

The Scottish centre certainly deserves his spot in this line-up. He led the brutal Scottish assault against England at Murrayfield along with grabbing a try against France. One of the moments of the tournament saw him power his way over the try line and dragging Mike Brown and Anthony Watson with him after a superb pass from Finn Russell off his 'weaker hand. Jones looks a force to be reckoned with and I expect to see him in a lot more of these 'Teams of the Tournament' 

  1. Keith Earls – Ireland

The Limerick man was the unsung hero of the Irish side throughout the tournament. While Stockdale did all the scoring on the other wing, it was the Munster winger’s fantastic defence that kept Ireland in the lead in many games. The doggedness of the man was on show in the 2nd half of the Italian game, when the Italians intercepted in a game that was already all but won by the Irish. He accelerated towards Benvenuti to make the last-ditch cover tackle. He also made a couple of fantastic tackles on Daly in his final game of the championship, including a perfectly executed ankle-tap. Though he only went over for a solitary try, he was always in support and could have got over for a few more, were it not for the eagerness of his teammates to get over the line themselves.

  1. Matteo Minozzi – Italy

The young Italian speedster was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing campaign for the Azzuri. He made his intentions clear from the outset of the championship as every time he got his hands on the ball he looked to run directly at the opposition. He made 7 clean breaks over the give games, gaining a total of 266 metres and beating 13 defenders to score an impressive four tries. He also didn’t shy away from his defensive duties, making some huge cover tackles at key moments of several games. Definitely one to watch for the future.

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