This season’s Six Nations has been an unpredictable affair (should there be a Le in front of that?) with England dominating right up to the last exchange when they imploded at the Aviva Stadium. Despite this mishap, their players were generally better across the board but rather worryingly only Richie Gray could be said to be nailed on for a spot in this team with few real stand-outs on show. A.D (with a little help from Rory) gives us the team of the tournament.
Scottish Rugby Blog Team of the Tournament
15 Andrea Masi: A bit of a back-line pawn getting pushed all around the pitch but when he was put at full-back he looked most threatening and scored some important tries. Medard maybe could have got in if he wasn’t made to live off counter attacks constantly.
14 Chris Ashton: Faded away at the end of the tournament but the hype was always going to anchor him to this spot…*
13 Mike Tindall/Brian O’Driscoll: BOD led yet again and scored big tries (again), and upset England’s apple cart (again) while Tindall was a captain that did enough to win a championship. Every year we say O’Driscoll can’t do it (again) but he has enough just to keep battling on. Tindall may be as dull as dish-water but he does a job. If you wanted this team to actually play it would have to be BOD.
12 Shontayne Hape: Possibly duller and more predictable than Tindall but security and consistency is what you want in World Cup year. Pretty lonely category this, with no stand-outs as Davies was occasionally OK and Lamont performed very well but out of position. Jamie Roberts played mostly at 13 but you could happily squeeze him in at 12 alongside BOD, if it wasn’t for the fact he was anonymous all tournament.
11 Tommy Bowe: *…the other real standout winger who was a force against England. Maybe Clerc deserves a nod and Stoddart looks like he has a future, but Bowe did enough in his short tourney to show his quality.
10 James Hook: This is the toughest choice. Trinh-Duc showed his class time after time, Sexton was imperial against England, Flood had…erm…some good moments and Jackson showed a little bit for the future. However, Hook transformed Wales completely and made them look dangerous from first receiver rather than just a breaking 9 with two pivots at 10 and 12. Look at how he played against Scotland…
9 Morgan Parra: Lawson had a good tournament, Youngs too until he imploded in Dublin. But Parra is class, a Napoleon behind the scrum and kicks goals to boot – simply a great player.
8 Sergio Parisse: Easter is currently being vilified and blamed for England’s loss to Ireland and we are conscious that Brown is really a 6 so, despite being consistently Scotland’s best player (there, we said it!), he cannot compete with the powerful running and enforcing job done by O’Brien. Anyway, Parisse is brilliant. We will ignore his poor last quarter against Scotland because we were winning.
7 James Haskell: Abrasive and athletic he was always available. Unfathomably English, though… and he looks a bit like a shark, in the same way Tim Henman looks like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park.
6 Sean O’Brien: Sure, we’re all tired of hearing about him but his running was superb and anyone that saw him dispatch Hartley with a club-like arm at a breakdown on Saturday with concede he has had an outstanding championship.
5 Tom Palmer: Again he and Deacon embodied Johnson’s ‘effective but unspectacular’ approach to rugby and just kept hitting rucks and making tackles. Big engine. Is he what England need to cruise to a WC final? He won’t score any 40m tries or knock over a drop goal but England have won it before with a team of grafters…
4 Richie Gray: A shining light in Scotland’s otherwise disappointing campaign and not just because of his massive blonde noggin. Stole line-outs and stormed up-field with the ball tirelessly. He can only get better, and if he got a haircut he could get away with a lot more in the pile-ups.
3 Mike Ross: In terms of front row it hasn’t been a classic tournament but Mike Ross has been a steady and dependable tight head, something Ireland have long sought. He played very well against England, too, showing up Dan Cole.
2 Dylan Hartley: We all love to hate him (is it just his sour face?) but he had a pretty good tournament. Outran Best, out-niggled Servat, outmuscled Rees, Out-everythinged Ghiraldini and very easily out-threw Ford. And shut Gatland up to boot.
1 Thomas Domingo: In here by grace of being consistent and being very entertaining when he ran with the ball. His spot could very easily have gone to Paul James as no prop has been outstanding in this year’s championship. Also, as predicted in an earlier post by A.D, scrum time is severely misinterpreted by referees and penalties and free-kicks are given all too regularly. We hope it doesn’t become a joke in NZ.