POLL: Pick your Team of the 2013 Six Nations

Now the 2013 Six Nations has come to an end, we thought we’d give you the chance to pick your team of the tournament. In a couple of days we’ll tot up the results and publish the readers’ team, and compare it to those of the writers here at the blog.


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Number 8

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28 thoughts on “POLL: Pick your Team of the 2013 Six Nations

  1. interesting exercise, seems most people agree on the broad strokes.

    The lack of any obvious option at halfback is worrying.

  2. I’m sorry but how did Mike Phillips get so many votes. He had one really good game, but was inconsistent and at times rubbish in the others. Some people need to take their blinkers off.

    1. Because in that one game he was better than every single performance by any other scrum half in the entire championship. That’s why I picked him.

      Yes, he had games where he was worse than the others at their best, but none of the others were better than he was at his best in that one game. I’d rather go for a chance of getting his best than settle for second best but more consistent.

      1. I actually think that Youngs performance in the first two matches where he showed how he could perform with front foot ball against Scotland, and then against Ireland he showed that he can stay in control is a horrible game, were the best two performances.

        But I see your reasoning for Phillips, especially as he massively outperformed Youngs in the last match.

        I use to be a massive fan of his but over the course of the tournament I think Youngs was slightly better.

        My issue with selecting the best 9 is that you end up basically end up picking the 9 who was behind the best pack. I always played 9 so I know how that feels, but a 9 is never going to have a great game when the pack never turned up (eg. Youngs against Wales).

        1. My problem with Youngs is, as you say, he’s great off front foot ball but goes horribly astray when needed to help the pack out. Mike does well when the pack are on top (e.g. on Saturday) but has also shown he can be that extra flanker when needed.

          I guess I should add* that by saying person X is the best isn’t saying all the others are rubbish. We are picking the best of the best here, so Youngs is excellent, but isn’t the best in my opinion.

          (*I’m still smarting from daring to suggest Robshaw shouldn’t be in the Lions).

          1. I would have agreed with you on Youngs a year ago; but I think that is wrong now. England barely had the ball against Ireland and he showed excellent game management in order to put us in the right areas of the field. Also, he has done so a lot for Leicester this season too.

            For me Phillips and Youngs will be the two 9s on the Lions tour, probably with Murray, and the two of them will fight it out for the starting jersey. If I’m honest, as much as I prefer Youngs, if either started I could see why and wouldn’t mind.

          2. you have both made pretty decent points.

            i think that over the course of the championship i too would go for youngs, but maybe thats cos i am english…

            either way, i think that these two have to be the first two choices for the lions. not only because i think that youngs and phillips were probably the best over all, but i think that they are very different types of players. whichever one comes off the bench will bring a different style of play.

            i think that murray is too much like phillips to have them both being in the test 23. similarly, i think that youngs and care (not that i am suggesting danny goes, because i think he had a very bad 6Ns) are too similar too.

            youngs is more of a kicking scrumhalf, but has great pace. where as phillips is a great physical presence who not only plays like an flanker in defence, but will keep the wallabies honest round the fringes.

            agree that both players are pretty useless behind a retreating pack though… youngs tends to loose his head, and phillips begins to take way to long to get the ball away which ends up causing more problems.

            i think a possible dark horse option to be the 3rd 9 on tour could be Laidlaw. he is totally different to all the other 9’s on offer in my opinion. I almost see scotland as being a bit french with him at 9 (not in being massively inconsistent, but in having the 9 control the game). with the right mentoring Laidlaw could become the lions version of Parra… probably for the midweek team though.

            another point is that i think the lions need to make sure they pick an absolutely HUGE pack, especially tight 5. we want to make sure that we completely dominante the wallabies up front so that our 9’s are never going to be retreating.

            so i would probably look at a touring squad of: (1st/2nd/3rd choice) – Also i know the squad wont be this big, but there are a few names who could be used as injury cover for those inevitable injuries/bans that will crop up

            Healey/Jenkins/Corbisero if fit, Vunipola/Grant if not.
            Hibbard/Best/T. Youngs or Ford
            Jones/Cole/Ross or maybe Murray
            Wyn Jones/Launchbury/Gray
            Wood/O’Brien/R.Jones if fit Brown if not
            Youngs/Phillips/Laidlaw or Murray

            I am assuming that these players are injured and wont have enough time to prove themselves, but there is every likelihood that they could travel. O’Connell, Ferris, Lydiate, Bowe, Fitzgerald, Charteris, B. Davies

            I know that brown and hogg have been playing in the other spots. but i think brown is a 15, but has done well enough to deserve a lions spot. i think that hogg’s gas means he is better suited to the wing (out of him and brown). also i think that due to injuries and lack of form we are lacking in the wing, yet we have an abundance of fullbacks who could do a job in aus.

            Also i know that Twelvetrees may raise a few eyebrows, but i think Gatland could see him as a potential superstar. We all know that so much as been made of his passing and kicking ability, but he is also 6ft3 and 100kgs, and we know how much gatland likes big backs. I think Gats may want a chance to get his hands on billy and turn him into a superstar.

            also i know it is tradition for the lions to take an uncapped player, and yet i havent put one in. i cant really decide who i would take out for one. here are a couple uncapped names that i would go for:
            Billy Vunipola, Christian Wade, Jonny May, Kyle Eastmond (versatility could make him very good tourist), Eli Walker, Rhys Patchell (huge long shot).

            I think we are going to struggle to find an uncapped player. due to the injuries that Ireland had, and the ones that wales started with, we saw a large number of new caps for guys who had proven themselves in Europe. These guys are usually the “bolters” on lions tours, but as i said, due to injuries we are left with very few names. (most of the english ones probably should have been capped, as they were needed in their positions)

  3. Also I would have chosen Zebo if he’d been an option, but he appears to have been left out. Hope he’s fit for the Lions because he’s a natural talent. I wonder if you could play North at 13 to accommodate him? Tuilagi and North in the centres?

  4. I really struggled to think of a second center to partner Fofanna. In the end i gave it to Tuilagi but I don’t really think he was that good.

  5. I think the memories of certain games tend to cloud the overall appraisals of players.

    I think Phillips played well against Eng and got better as the tournament went on, but Laidlaw and Youngs were just as good (if not better).

    An argument could be made for a lot of the locks but Launchbury, Parling, Evans were all excellent, even if Launch faded in game 5. Wyn Jones and Coombs also went well, and Hamilton was abrasive.

    Zanni, Picamoles and Robshaw by far the most consistently brilliant back rowers.

  6. Are people wearing pink tinted specs when it comes to bod, one fair game by his standards, has now been cited, and he is attracting votes as one of the outstanding centres, sentiment where heart is ruling head, beggers belief.

  7. I can see the justification for Phillips, but anyone care to attempt to justify Farrell at Fly Half?

    1. It’s a bad time for NH FHs. Name one outstanding NH flyhalf. I can’t think of one.

      I can think of decent ones who can control games and sometimes put teams into right places – Sexton. I can think of excellent kickers – Farrel. But I can’t think of anything that would match what SA/AUS/NZ have or even what some of the NH teams have.

      So if Sexton can walk he’s in, if he can’t then it’s Farrel as the least worst option … probably … Biggar looked good but didn’t have enough to do or enough game time to push ahead of Farrel.

  8. I can’t think of an outstanding NH fly half either, but Farrell couldn’t open up a tin of pilchards, never mind an international defence! Being on the field and tackling and kicking a bit doesn’t justify the adoration he attracts!

    1. You do realise Farrell was the fly half when England beat New Zealand! He played on the gain line and put people in the right areas, offloaded at the right time, kicked at the right time etc. Did any of the other FH’s play that well in any of the AI’s?

  9. Rather than being the start of England’s attack, Farrell is frequently the end of it. He seems to see the pitch in a 5-yard wide strip in front of him. How often do we see England start to move forward and be halted following a short pass from Farrell or him turning and looking for someone on his shoulder? His lack of vision forces the attack into narrow channels and never stretches to opposing defence.

    1. in fairness to farrell, to stretch an opposition defence he would have to throw a miss pass straight to the winger (which obviously wouldnt stretch the defence) because he has two centres who are not passers.

      many of the criticisms thrown at Farrell are similar to the ones said about wilkinson, the difference was, it was not as obvious for jonny, because he had greenwood or catt who were that bit closer, and therefore an extra pair of hands.

      farrell looked his most dangerous with the ball in the scotland game. the weather didnt permit it in ireland, but even then he looked more creative than future games. the difference? 12Ts was starting at 12. this allowed Farrell to spread the ball wider, because their was an extra passer in the backline, which allows backs to call moves that go wider, rather than simply smashing up the middle.

      1. Spot on Simo. Barritt and Tuilagi are both smash and grab players who bust up the middle of the pitch. Either have someone like 12T, Eastmond or Allen at 12, or someone like Tomkins, Joseph or Trinder at 13. Tuilagi is a luxury, but with Barritt as well it makes Ashton and Brown redundant apart from kick chasing. Thus leading to Ashton becoming frustrated and ineffectual. I think that Catt needs to take a lot of responsibility for this along with Lancaster as he is selecting the team. Now is the time to get some of these players involved. I’m glad he got 12T into the squad, but he needs to go further now, and bring other players in. Farrell has good hands, and good vision, but until he has others outside him capable of shipping the ball out wide effectively, our attack will frequently fail.

      2. Very true. One of the problems for Lancaster is that Brad Barritt constantly plays a 7, so it’s hard to drop him without it feeling harsh, and he’s patently not a 13 either, so shifting everyone along doesn’t really work. Will be interesting to see how he goes in Argentina, I have a sneaky suspicion that Barritt may be on the Lions plane, as he is Farrell’s main defence man, he will prop up the mid-week team without tearing up trees, and leave a midfield of Twelvetrees and Joseph(?) to face Argentina. This may give Lancaster the opportunity to not restore Barritt immediately if Twelvetrees plays well in those two games. Should be interesting.

  10. My team of the tournament would be:

    1. T. Domingo
    2. R. Hibbard
    3. A. Jones
    4. G. Parling
    5. A. W. Jones
    6. K. Brown
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. L. Picamoles

    9. G. Laidlaw
    10. O. Farrell
    11. G. North
    12. W. Fofana
    13. M. Tuilagi
    14. A. Cuthbert
    15. L. Halfpenny

    16. T. Youngs
    17. G. Jenkins
    18. D. Cole
    19. J. Launchbury
    20. S. Parisse
    21. B. Youngs
    22. D. Biggar
    23. S. Hogg

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