15. Andrea Masi
Masi was at the heart of Italy’s historic win over France, and played like the Sergio Parisse of the backline – solid in defence, carrying well and lifting his side when required.
14. Chris Ashton
Despite tailing off as the tournament unfolded and the opposition contained him effectively, Ashton was certainly a star. It’s a shame he didn’t go on to break the try-scoring record for one tournament.
13. Brian O’Driscoll
Who said he’s getting on a bit? What a heroic performance to deny England the Grand Slam, epitomising the Irish passion and becoming the Championship’s leading tryscorer in the process.
12. Jonathan Davies
A great find for Wales who now have real depth to their backline. Davies was forceful throughout, a rock in defence and causing problems with ball in hand too.
11. Shane Williams
A shame that injury denied him a Six Nations farewell, but at least he went out on a high. Still a threat with his quick feet and jinking runs, and the management would do well to persuade him not to retire.
10. Toby Flood
That Ireland game aside, Flood came of age as a top calibre fly-half, particularly on the opening night in Wales where his composure was remarkable. It deserted him in Dublin, but he’ll be the better player for it.
9. Morgan Parra
France have lacked a little in direction and leadership, but the little general did his best to keep them going. Effective with the boot, and in marshalling his forwards, and deserved better support from those around him.
1. Thomas Domingo
That opening match against Scotland will linger long in the memory thanks to the power shown by Domingo. And then he backed it up, typifying the French power game in the tight and the loose.
2. Dylan Hartley
Satisfied many of his detractors after being taunted before the tournament by Warren Gatland, easing concerns over his scrummaging and temperament. Would have liked to have seen more leadership in Dublin, but he certainly wasn’t the only one that fell short at the end.
3. Martin Castrogiovanni
The old Italian warrior had yet another great tournament, and finally got a high-profile international victory under his belt. Anchors the Italian scrum effectively, and makes a nuisance of himself in the loose.
4. Richie Gray
One of the players of the tournament and a future Lion, surely? His mane of blond hair makes him hard to miss in the loose, but he adds so much to Scotland providing impetus with his ball-carrying.
5. Tom Palmer
Finally proved his worth for England after a somewhat stop-start international career. Dominated lineouts in England’s early fixtures, and tackled like a machine throughout. He was missed after going off injured in Dublin.
6. Sean O’Brien
Another Lion-in-waiting (more on that tomorrow by the way), O’Brien will give Declan Kidney a real headache when Stephen Ferris is fit again. Incredibly powerful with ball in hand, and a handy scavenger at the breakdown as well.
7. Sam Warburton
A pleasure to watch him throughout the tournament, and was easily one of Wales’ best players. Could be a star of the World Cup if Wales can perform to their potential.
8. Sergio Parisse
Another potential Player of the Tournament, Parisse was back to his best. Has an ability to find space where others can’t see it, and always makes yards. An inspirational leader too apparently, and would have enjoyed the French scalp as a player at Stade Francais.
Coach: Martin Johnson
His side were found wanting in Dublin, but it’s fair to say he was the most successful coach in the tournament. Not a lot of competition to be fair, with Declan Kidney’s indecision in selection, Warren Gatland’s shuffling around of James Hook, Andy Robinson and Nick Mallett’s results, and of course, the madness of Marc Lievremont.