As the dust settles on the 2010 RBS Six Nations, it’s time to consider our Team of the Tournament made up of the best players in the Championship.
Ferris and O’Driscoll celebrate their selection for the Six Nations Dream Team
The front row was probably one of the hardest to select, with few standout performances and a lot of chopping and changing by each national coach. Thomas Domingo and Adam Jones make the team as the two props – the Frenchman for his consistently powerful performances, and Jones for his phenomenal contribution to every game. No other front row players really come close in their value to a team, in my view.
At hooker, I’ve selected the Italian Leonardo Ghiraldini, who stood in for Sergio Parisse as the Azzurri’s skipper. Whilst many expected the Italians to offer little, Ghiraldini led by example and claimed another Six Nations scalp.
Former French captain Lionel Nallet seemed to be better than ever this year, prominent in the loose and scarily hard. He is partnered by Irish legend Paul O’Connell, who can always be relied on to make this team, particularly when there isn’t a huge amount of competition.
There were plenty more options for selection in the back row, with Stephen Ferris at 6 and John Barclay at 7. Ferris is a shoo-in on the blindside and is becoming another Irish hero, whilst Barclay was part of a magnificent Scotland back row that played better than their results suggest.
I would have like to include Alessandro Zanni in the side, but Imanol Harinordoquy proved over the last couple of months that he is one of the best Number 8s in the world, so it was impossible to leave him out. The Frenchman completes a nicely balanced, fearsome back row unit.
In the backs, the French half-back unit of Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc is kept together, despite their jittery performance in the final game and their best efforts to rule themselves out of contention. Until then, they had been the standout candidates for selection, although Stephen Jones and Tomas O’Leary will be disappointed to miss out after both enjoyed splendid tournaments.
Yanick Jauzion appeared to be back to his best in the French midfield, despite Mathieu Bastereaud claiming most of the plaudits – the latter is nowhere near my Dream Team. Brian O’Driscoll is another player impossible to ignore, particularly after he brought up his century of caps, and while James Hook made a late case for inclusion, he was less consistent throughout.
On the wings, Shane Williams just about did enough in his sporadic bursts of playing at his best in a misfiring Wales side. Tommy Bowe was a more clear-cut selection on the other wing, and these two players were always looking for work in a tournament where spinning the ball wide was rarely the favoured option.
At full-back, Clement Poitrenaud is another French player that seems to be enjoying his best rugby at the moment, and was always threatening with the ball in hand. We saw his trademark sidestep and turn of pace on a number of occasions, and his offloading ability is second to none.
Let me know what you think of the team. There are lots of areas of contention, in some cases because there are too many candidates, and in others because there are too few.
1. Thomas Domingo
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini
3. Adam Jones
4. Lionel Nallet
5. Paul O’Connell
6. Stephen Ferris
7. John Barclay
8. Imanol Harinordoquy
9. Morgan Parra
10. Francois Trinh-Duc
11. Shane Williams
12. Yanick Jauzion
13. Brian O’Driscoll
14. Tommy Bowe
15. Clement Poitrenaud