Team of the Tournament

1 Allan “Chunk” Jacobsen – Scotland’s only decent ball carrier in the first three games. Accounted himself well in the scrums throughout except for a wobble that led to the dubious penalty try.
2 Lee Mears – more level headed than “clown” Regan and surely the future in England’s front row. Assured performance against Ireland.
3 Martin Castrogiovanni – the same amount of tries as the entire Scotland team. Consistently passionate.
4 Ian Gough – We struggled to pick a standout lock, to be honest. So we asked Pedro to pick one. This may have been down to a lot of poor throwing by hookers, however. Hines might be in but for his costly indiscipline.
5 Scott Macleod – restored a bit of control to the Scotland lineout, and offered a more mobile option than his predecessor Hamilton.
6 Al Strokosch – Find of the tournament from Hadden’s point of view, even though everyone else knew about him. Aggression, control, good hands and ball carrying. Does the basics well – a big future in a Scotland shirt. And possibly elsewhere…?
7 Martin Williams – In rugby games where it’s “an overall team effort”, there is a rule for picking the man of the match. Give it to the No 8, the fly-half, or if Martin Williams is on the pitch, give it to him. Consistently excellent.
8 Sergio Parisse – If Mallett will be frustrated at his lack of a fly-half, he’ll be glad of players like Parisse. Taylor played well against England, but there’s a reason he’s not getting much of a game for Stade. Parisse’s girlfriend is not bad either but we couldn’t let petty jealousy take away his place in the team.
9 Mike Blair – Grown with every game. Showed maturity and intelligence in his play since being given the captaincy. Still shows up incredibly well in defence. And when allowed, gives Scotland the pace at which they need to play. Put your money on the Lion’s captaincy now before the odds shoot down.
10 Ronan O’ Gara – A tournament for steady stand-offs rather than individual brilliance. That said, he put in some stunning kicks against Wales and a classy flick on for Kearney’s try against us.
11 Shane Williams – Wales’ top try scorer ever, and player of the tournament. ‘Nuff said.
12 Gavin Henson – Finally showed some of the class he had promised early in his career. Good in defence and attack. Alan still says “meh”, though.
13 Damian Traille – Offered a re-assuring solidity to France’s inexperienced team. Formed a decent combination with Jauzion when Lievremont finally started chasing the tournament. In the last game.
14 Vincent Clerc – Another wee guy on the wing who showed some old-fashioned French class when he was picked. Still looked sharp after being shuffled to the bench and back.
15 Lee Byrne – Now a sure-footed, mammoth-booted and pacy option from full-back. A different player from his woeful performances last year. Proof that picking on form is often rewarded.

Bench: Ford, Sheridan, O’ Callaghan, Ryan Jones, Phillips, Paterson, Kearney

Coaches: Gatland, Edwards & Howley

Honourable mentions

RB: Danny Cipriani. If he’d played more than one game he’d probably be in our team at 10, having offered a glimpse of what his talents could bring. He may not be the next Jesus but he definitely had an impact when he finally got a chance. Jonny may now begin the time-honoured shuffle outwards along the backline ala Gregor Townsend.

AK: Rob Kearney – maintained his Leinster form with some storming defensive play and a great try against Scotland. May finally signal the end of the Golden Generation’s strangle-hold on the Irish back division.

8 comments on “Team of the Tournament

  1. Giorgia on

    Hay, wait a sec… Paterson on the bench? Paterson on the soddin’ BENCH?? WTF?!? Are you, like, Frank Hadden undercover?? HUH???

    :P

    (only joking :))

  2. Rory on

    Giorgia haha. We felt he didn’t get enough of a run in any one position to justify selection, and he would be a useful option on the bench as due to his versatility!

  3. Lee on

    I agree, Mossy’s versatility and ever reliable boot make him a must in the squad at least. Seems like it wasn’t to be for him though, his usual creative spark seemed to be somewhat stifled due to the frequent change in positions due to the injuries sustained to players during the tournament. He still managed to out ever kick he took between the posts.

    I can’t help but think the lack of a consistent fly-half contributed in the lack of tries we managed to muster again I think injuries could be pointed out as the reason for not playing the same fly-half consistently. Sean Lamont was also someone who I thought we missed greatly this 6 nations.

    I was really impressed with Mike Blair throughout the tournament, he really step up to the plate and seemed to relish his chance as captain to due big Jason’s injury.

    Danny Cipriani played a blinder against the Irish, Just as the golden boy Johnny Wilkinson seems to be falling from grace they manage to replace him with an immensely talented young player who will probably be fighting Johnny for the number 10 jersey in the future.

    I still think Hadden is to blame for the poor show in the tournament though, he seems to pick a game plan before picking the starting 15. We have a good mix of young, talented and experienced players in the squad but we don’t seem to be utilising them fully.

    I hope we fair better in the Summer/Autumn tests, the SRU have apparently dropped ticket prices anyway so at least if we do loose we won’t be out of pocket lol.

  4. Giorgia on

    > he didn’t get enough of a run in any one position

    Well, if the poor guy had been given a chance to keep the same jersey number for more than 3 minutes (he’s 10… no, wait, he’s 11… no, sorry, he’s 15… listen, let’s put a blackboard on his back and write whatever number on it each time, shall we?) that would’ve helped…

    > he would be a useful option on the bench

    Hm, I smell Frank Haden here. :P

  5. caramac kid on

    Although progress has been made Haddock should be quietly shown the door, his selection policy is rather blinkered. I don’t buy into the idea that Parks is our only fall back 10 and the time he is taking to pull through new players is lamentable.
    1 win is not acceptable( but I would take it over the auld enemy any day)
    My thoughts are turning to Argentina ?2 losses and the autumn tests 1 win 2 losses.
    oh and the SRU are pretty much charging the full monty for the big 2 nations having already forked out on them.

    Anyway rant over.

  6. Jonny on

    Exactly what the Caramac Kid said!

    So will the SRU have the balls to sack him, and stop over – charging the Scottish public for tests against the All Blacks!

  7. Steve on

    Oh come on, I know this is a scottish blog but puhlease, could this be any more biased and blinkered? Scotland is AWFUL at the moment, playing terrible ‘rugby’, if you can call it that, without a single world class player in their entire team. The fact that you lost to an Argentina team, that was later beaten by 50 points against the currently woeful South Africa says it all.

    Jacobssen? No.

    McLeod… wtf??

    Strokosh? So unbelievably over-rated by you jocks it’s funny

    Blair? Also over-rated.

    So Scotland, a team who were INCREDIBLY lucky to finish 5th, and not 6th… supply 6 players to the 22, yet England, a team who finished 2nd, supplies 1 starter, and Sheridan on the bench.

    Oh dear.

  8. Rory on

    Thanks for joining in Steve, even if it’s a little after the fact. It’s all there in the title, so you can expect a little Scottish bias, naturally. Looking back on it now I’ll give you that in hindsight Chunk may have been something of a comedy pick, but we love the guy. And Macleod was perhaps lucky to get in, but we really struggled to pick the second row. Shaw, Borthwick, O’ Callaghan and O’Connell were all far below par, if I remember correctly, as was Bortolami. And we didn’t have time to learn the ever-rotating French player’s names.

    From 6-15 though I would stick by our selections as the pick of the tournament, and I’m sorry you feel that Blair and Stroker are over-rated but then most of us up here feel the same about many players in the white and red – although not Cipriani, who as we stated was unlucky not to get more games which definitely would have seen him included. Oh and we do have a world-class kicker, which is some consolation if he is your only source of points…

    You could also argue that England were incredibly lucky to have finished second in that Six Nations which was overall of a fairly poor standard, and then point out that we did in fact beat the Argentinians in the second test, thanks in large part to a Mr A Robinson…

    Anyway, enough about the past. Hope you’ll come back in February – if not before – and we can discuss it all over again.

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