Sorry for all the posts in the last couple of days, but I’ve had a lot to cover. Part two of my six nations review is going to be my team of tournament, there is obviously some Welsh domination, but I’ve surprised myself in not including any Italians, but that’s because it was more of a team performance rather than an individual one.
15-Stuart Hogg, 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Manu Tuilagi, 12-Wesley Fofana, 11-George North, 10-Owen Farrell, 9-Mike Phillips; 1- Gethin Jenkins, 2-Richard Hibbard, 3-Adam Jones, 4- Alun Wyn Jones, 5-Ritchie Grey, 6-Justin Tipuric, 7- Kelly Brown, 8-Louis Picamoles.
So my team of the tournament starts with the front row forwards. It has to be the whole of the Welsh front row, Jenkins and Jones at prop and Hibbard at hooker. The whole Welsh pack was awesome and the front row in particular made that Welsh scrum so dominant. In the last two games they demolished two of the best scrums, England and Scotland.
In the second row it has to be Alun Wyn Jones and Ritchie Grey. Both were immense in everything they did, tackling, ball carrying, in the line out ect. And whilst some people might think others performed better than Grey, I felt Scotland really missed him for the game and a half he wasn’t there.
The flankers for me are Kelly Brown and Justin Tipuric. Brown was the second highest tackler in the tournament and captained Scotland side to their best ever six nations finish. And Tipuric’s performance was awesome, as it usually is, and his work to create the two Welsh tries in the final game could have won it for Wales.
The Number 8 has to be Picamoles. In a bad year for France this guy was immense. He led the way in the number of carries and defenders beaten, and was second in the number of meters made. The stats pretty much do tell it all in this case, the boy was immense.
In the back row the scrum-half has to be Philips. I had a couple of Welsh friends complaining to me that he was too slow in his play and never got quick ball, especially after the first game. But no one was saying that come the end of the tournament, Philips was class and really did orchestrate a lot of the Welsh victories.
Fly-half is Farrell, his kicking was pretty superb for England, and his pass for one of the English tries against Scotland was out of this world. I do feel he performed very poorly in the final game, but whether that was because he hadn’t shaken off the injury or if nerves got to him a bit, it doesn’t matter because throughout he was best fly-half.
In the center I’ve gone for Fofana and Tuilagi. There really wasn’t too many other choices and these two were brilliant. Much like Picalmoles, Fofana was one of the few bright sparks for France, when he was actually deployed in the center (but I’ve already had ago at the stupid French selections) and he scored two of the tries of the tournament with wonderful solo efforts against Scotland and England.
On the wings it’s also a fairly easy choice with the big Welsh lads North and Cuthbert. These guys are 6,4 and 6,6 respectively, which is massive for a winger, but they really do tear the opposition to shreds. North scored that superb try against France and of course Cuthbert got both the tries in the crucial game against England.
A bit controversially I’ve gone for Stuart Hogg at Fullback. I know many people will think Halfpenny should have got it, but if you ignore the goal kicking aspect and focus solely on the fullback play I think it’s a lot closer. Both tackled superbly, Halfpenny maybe slightly better. But when Hoggy gets running at the opposition, by god is he difficult to stop. He scored a great try against England, and created the one for Maitland, as well as scoring what is, in my opinion, the try of the tournament against France. All at just 20. This kid is going to be special, and be around for a long time to come.