RBS Six Nations 2011: Team of the Tournament

RBS SIx Nations

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.

11 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations 2011: Team of the Tournament

  1. O’Brien vs Wood must have been one tough call – two of the finds of the tournament In fact back row was one of the few competitive areas.

    When you start thinking about certain positions you realise just how poor the 6 nations was. Competition at 9/10/12 was pretty poor (outside of when parra was picked by the guessing france). Flood was crap vs Scotland and Ireland but was still the best 10 playing, jon davies was poor but so was every other 12, Masi wasn’t exactly a shining light until the last 2 games (and his move to 15), hell even Ashton and Shane – also probably the right calls in their positions only managed a couple of performances each.

    Hard to argue with the calls (though despite lack of game time I would probably select Bowe ahead of one of the wingers – and never pick Hartley for anything), but for me it just shows what a poor 6 Nations it was

  2. An interesting 6 nations to be sure and showed the difference in style between southern and northern hemisphere rugby. I love the hard attrirional warfare that is the six nations as much as i enjoy the liberated free flowing super 15 and even better when they collide every four years! despite this not being a showing by polished teams ready for a world cup which we’d hope for who’d bet against a north v south final for the fourth time in a row? and its our turn this time.
    strength in depth of sthe south is incredible they dont have to go through this protracted rebuilding stage every few years but who doesnt love watching a side evolve?
    agree largely with the side with mostly just potential to dwell on and lack of a form full back certainly slowed thre tournament. wood was unlucky but more from him to come! we missed riki flutey in the 12 slot as this was largely vacant
    what will i do with my weekends

  3. I agree with jimmymc1, Zanni was terrific throughout whilst the others, although strong, had their weak moments. O’Brien is going to be a sensational player however

  4. The Irish played a brilliant game. They just rang rings around the English Great to hear the crowd singing and enjoying the Rugby

  5. Richie Gray does make good yards and jumps in the lineout, but does he push in the scrum? perhaps hes does and the scottish scrum is crap anyway!

  6. How could you drop Wallace after the form he showed on Saturday? That’s the future combo, but tough choices for the World Cup!

  7. I think Scotland had two players who will definitely improve. Ruaridh Jackson is a far different flyhalf. He can tackle, run and kick and he makes lots of ground then looks out for support. Dan Parks’ priority is to kick and since Jackson has been playing weve playing a much better game. Unfortunately Sean Lamont cant keep playing 12. Two obstacles. Graeme Morrison for Scotland, who plays a similar game, just without lots of linebreaks. And Jonathan Davies for Scarlets, who is a regular international for Wales.
    He should join Edinburgh who need depth in centre, and we dont want him to become a utility sub. Paterson, can easily get at least 20 more caps , he may not be the youngest but he still has all the skills of top internationals. Richie Gray was always going to become fantastic, and at this age, hes definitely going to get better and get over 100 caps, his work around the breakdown is amazing, the amount of steals in the lineout v Italy was out of this world, and he can run the ball.His partnership with Kellock for club and country is good as Kellock is an experienced captain and Gray is a future captain.

  8. Can’t see Hartley at 2.

    Good lineout throwing but his scrumming isn’t as strong as Servat & he carries too up-right hence the t/o’s he gives away;
    Plus he acts like a complete @rse

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