This year’s Six Nations boiled down two a horse race. As much as France would have wanted to look at themselves as title contenders having a chance to get a win on the final day, the English and Irish dominance through the tournament will push their players into the frame.
Full-Back – Mike Brown – England
Right Wing – Andrew Trimble – Ireland
Outside Centre – Brian O’Driscoll – Ireland
Inside Centre – Luther Burrell – England
Left Wing – George North – Wales
Fly-Half – Johnny Sexton – Ireland
Scrum-Half – Jean-Marc Doussain – France
Loose-head – Gethin Jenkins – Wales
Hooker – Dyland Hartley – England
Tight-Head – Mike Ross – Ireland
Second Row – Courtney Lawes – England
Second Row – Joe Launchbury – England
Blind Flanker – Peter O’Mahony – Ireland
Open Flanker – Chris Robshaw – England
Number Eight – Jamie Heaslip – Ireland
Ireland – 6; England – 6; Wales – 2; France – 1; Scotland – 0; Italy – 0
It was a remarkable Six Nations and Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll deserves to be in the team. The Irish centre is now the most capped international player in the history of Rugby Union with 144 caps of which 133 were for Ireland and another eight caps for the British and Irish Lions. He also capped the Irish team 83 times and is the highest scoring player in Irish history.
Alongside him in the centre is Luther Burrell. The Englishman made debut in his sides opening match of the Six Nations against France. Despite England losing the match Burrell made an impact and scored his first of three tries in five appearances.
England and Ireland excel
Another fantastic competition came from England back Mike Brown. Having been converted from a winger, Brown really found his footing as a wing-back and was the tournament’s top try scorer alongside Ireland’s Johnny Sexton with four.
Welshman Leigh Halfpenny had a fantastic tournament and at times seemed to be carrying the Welsh team but having spent most of the tournament playing full-back he faced stiff opposition from Brown. Wales were pre-tournament favourites with Ireland being backed for second but the likes of Brown meant that England were able to upset the odds.
Scrum Half had a few choices including England’s Danny Care who bagged himself 16 points including two tries but Frenchman Jean-Marc Doussain was a stand-out player for his team who managed to make a huge improvement on last year’s outing. Doussain scored 27 points – the fourth highest in the competition behind Sexton (66), Farrell (64), and Halfpenny (51).
Fly-half had to go to Sexton, whilst his kicking wasn’t quite as good as Farrell the Ireland man showed that he has a diverse game. The overall points leader of the tournament, Sexton also managed to net two braces including one against France where Ireland won 22-20.
Open-Side flanker Chris Robshaw played every minute of the Six Nations, the England captain played a crucial part in the tournament. Also an ever-present is Ireland’s Mike Ross. The prop may not seem as comfortable in possession as some but seen as an old-fashioned prop he has started every Six Nations match since his 2011 debut.
Loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins hit 105 Welsh Caps making him the most capped Welsh player ever, despite being a tournament to forget for Wales. Also reaching the milestone throughout the Six Nations were Italians Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni,
England’s attempt at the title was strengthened by a strong strong forward line of Lawes and Launchbury. Lawes managed to organise the English line-outs well and managed to regularly keep opponents at bay.
Overall it was a strong tournament for England and Ireland. Ireland will be happy to see talisman Brian O’Driscoll leaving on a winning note whereas England will be able to look to the future knowing that their young team were able to put up a fight.
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