The Rugby Blog’s RBS 6 Nations 2012 Team of the Tournament


So another Six Nations championship has come to a close, which means only one thing; fierce, passionate debate about who has been the outstanding performer in their position over the last few weeks, along with picking out our Players of the Tournament (denoted in bold).

Here are each person’s RBS 6 Nations Team of the Tournament:


What do you think? And what about your team? Feel free to give us your Players and XVs in the comments below.

38 thoughts on “The Rugby Blog’s RBS 6 Nations 2012 Team of the Tournament

    1. Your comment suggests that we’ve overlooked Lydiate, although 6 out of 7 teams include him, he’s the player of the tournament for 4 people, and we’ve got a big photo of him at the top. We’re hardly snubbing his fine contribution to the tournament…!

      1. Dan has a point though when looking at that column alone … is Christine Irish? I’m not trying to be awkward, it’s all subjective and people can pick who they want, but that’s an awful lot of Irish players in that column… It’s fair to say that not picking Lydiate is a controversial choice right now given the universal acclaim he is getting so I think it’s valid to speculate on why Ferris might have been picked and right now I can’t think of any reason other than perhaps a little national bias? Nothing wrong with that, I do it myself.

        The question about whether Christine is Irish is a bit tongue in cheek, prompted by the inclusion of the drastically awful Healy. Yes, Healy is “good in the loose”, but then so is Halfpenny. Neither of them are any good in the scrum though if I was forced to I’d go with Halfpenny. It’d be good to see the reasons for picking Ferris to open up the debate.

        Umm, now I’ve just also noticed Rougerie’s name in that column … is this a wind up? :-)

        Farrel at ten, Phillips at 9 and Lydiate at 7 are unarguable choices for me. So good to see Cuthbert up there as well, fantastic debut for him. Wales finally get the wing combinations right after a few years of trying. Morgan, as a man who learnt how to play properly in Wales (joke, before I get loads of irate feedback) is also a delight to see. Fale/Morgan battles over the next few years should be awesome things to see.

        One of the unexpected developments in this tournament was the back row developments – 6 months ago the Irish back row were nailed on for Lions first choice, now I’d say the fight is between the Welsh and English with the Scottish having a say in it as well.

        1. Picking Ferris over Lydiate isn’t so bad i think he had a better tournament until the last game. Rougerie however was an absolute joke.

          1. To be fair Lydiate didn’t have a bad game, Ferris did, and Lydiate’s best games were better than Ferris’s. I share the gobsmackedness at Rougerie getting a mention.

            I think every back row has players in with a shout now. Openside Warburton, Tipuric or Rennie. No.8 Denton, Faletau or Morgan. Blindside Lydiate, Ferris, Robshaw (he’s really a 6 and played like one). Bench Croft, Wood, Haskell or possibly Irish players if they find their form all as impact players.

  1. So apart from 3 50/50 calls in the front 5 and putting Jamie Roberts in for Fofana, there is your Lions 15!

    1. Certainly not! Tuilagi vs Roberts is a coin toss at the moment for me, but that’s not my point. Yes the Lions XV game is a bit of fun I suppose, but there is over a year to go, and an awful lot can happen in that time. I’m guessing the team of the Tournament for 2008 didn’t really resemble the Lions Test side of 2009…. At work so can’t research at the moment!

      What’s more, Best’s form is spiralling, while Hartley (result of citing aside) had his best game for a while. If I had my way, I would not have picked a hooker for this “best of the tournament” as iin my opinion, none performed with any degree of high level consistency.

      In my selection, Lydiate stormed past Ferris on the basis of the last weekend, but I think they are closely matched, and Kearney vs Halfpenny is a coin toss.

      1. Tuilagi and Roberts play in different positions so not a coin toss. Roberts is a shoo-in and I think Jonathan Davies is ahead of Tuilagi at the moment but could change.

        Think the chat here is if there was a Lions test next week, obviously things might change.

        For what it’s worth I think Halfpenny had an excellent tournament but Kearney would still be my Lions XV, he’s the best all round 15. Halfpenny might come in if you pick Priestland at 10 in order to goal kick.

        1. Interestingly, Mick Cleary seems to have gone for Roberts and O’Driscoll for his Lions centres. Personally, I think Davies and Tuilagi ‘could’ play together, which is why I call it a toss-up. That said, if you were to take the two Welshmen, Tuilagi and BOD, you would have all bases covered. Like I said though, a lot could change between now and then (where was Cuthbert this time last year for example?)

          1. I think you’d almost want to take Roberts, Davies, Williams and Tuilagi. BOD is one injury too many down the line in my mind. Age and abuse of body are catching up with him. Take it from an England supporter – you don’t want to keep picking players on reputation once they’re past their sell by date. However as a rugby supporter, I would love to be proved wrong!

  2. Most difficult choices for me on this one were at 7 and 15, with Dusautoir and Kearney both deserving of selections but being edged out by Rennie and Halfpenny. Surprised no one else went for Faletau, felt he was consistently good throughout.

    Wonder how a Lions centre pairing of Tuilagi and Davies would get on..

  3. Im Welsh but generally would agree BUT I am not yet convinced about Farrell…talented…yes…great potential …yes….kicking top class, but not top level yet, hope england do not hype him up to much… fact no 10 was the weakest position in the whole 6 nations, sexton, priestland had their moments but not consistent. Jones was a rock, fatelau was excellent throughout. Lydiates performance on Saturday was the best back row performance I have seen for many years .

    Looking forward to Lions , how the hell you choose a test back row I do not know!….pity Gray and Denton play in such a weak scottish side, both will be awesome surrounded by better players….

  4. My team is Hutch’s with exception of including Dusautoir for Rennie. Servat was the best hooker, but didn’t play enough to get the nod.

    Quite a few changes as a result of the last round of games
    – Corbs ahead of Healey
    – Evans pipping Botha
    – Morgan ahead of Faletau – never would have predicted that pre-tournamount
    – Davies ahead of Tuilagi
    – Halfpenny ousting Kearney
    – Dusautoir in at 7

    FH was hardest decision. Despite Farrell’s superb defence, goal kicking and his will of steal I couldn’t pick him ahead of Sexton as Sexton poses far more attacking threat. Sexton had a bad game going backwards, but only Aussie FHs need to be picked for their skills going backwards!

    1. Farrell or Sexton – depends what game you want to play (based on this 6n), but I think Farrell has an attacking game in him. Lancaster just didn’t play an attacking game which somewhat hamstrung all of the England backs. I think that there is more to come. Not sure Sexton has any more to his game.

  5. There’s been a lot of debate about Ferris and Lydiate but in fairness to Ferris, he’s been a tackle machine, smashing everyone behind the line along with robbing ball and getting involved in attack for a few years now. Lydiate gets the nod because he’s made a lot of impressive last ditch tackles and throwing his body on the line this year. If it was a lions selection, it’s Ferris all the way, especially when he’s still smashing the English behind a crushed Irish pack.

    1. Sam – you can’t change your mind now with hindsight of everyone else’s selection (Mark aside). Next you’ll claim you actually picked Phillips

      1. I think you should have let him change his mind. He probably rightly balanced the overwhelming bias for Halfpenny over Kearney, even though Kearney was clearly the best full back in the tournament.

        Yeah, Halfpenny can kick penalties and Foden scored a try I think, but in terms of the impact you expect from a no. 15, Kearney was light years ahead of either of those.

        1. Jumping in the air might look impressive but it’s those last ditch tackles that count. Kearney runs away from the tackle, Halfpenny doesn’t.

  6. Not too many complaints about the gist of these teams. Think Best gained a huge black mark on Saturday against England, many front rowers I’ve spoken to about it put quite a bit of blame on him for doing nothing to help out Court and to give O’Callaghan something to push on. Also thought Mouritz Botha was actually pretty average, every game he came up with at least a couple of howling handling errors. He did some goood stuff but I think all round Ian Evans was better, as was Pape.

    Also North and Cuthbert appeared to play the tournament in shifts. In one game one would be awesome at the other do absolutely nothing, then they swapped. When they both fire it could be unstoppable. But because of that I think the most consistent winger was Bowe. Jonathan Davies and Fofana were my backs of the tournament.

    Howard, I agree with you re Farrell, people are getting a little carried away. I actually didn’t think he was that great on Saturday but they were tricky conditions and maybe that is a bit harsh. Lydiate was excellent but not best in years – the World Cup was entirely based on back row performances.

    Matt I agree that before the last weekend Kearney would have been a shoo-in at full back. He’s still my Lions full back but with Gatland likely to be coach it will be tight between him and Halfpenny with Foden perhaps a notch behind.

    1. Additional – if he hadn’t been ridiculously shifted on to the wing by yet another French coach who apparently couldn’t select a tie in the morning let alone a rugby team, Fofana would have been my player of the tournament. At a time when defences dominate he made 2 or 3 clear line breaks again. Bit of a throwback and can’t wait to watch him over the coming years.

  7. Ian Evans deserves more love here imo. Was consistently quality, and imo only behind Lydiate for Wales’ most influential player.

    Whilst I like the two English props, I can not get my head around not selecting Adam or Gethin, who were consistently excellent in the tight and the loose.

    Rennie was brilliant at 7 for Scotland, not really seen him before, was amazed how good he is

    Amazed Denton didn’t get in a look in here, I liked him and put him on a level pegging with Morgan.

    Kearny being more secure under the high ball means I would edge him past Halfpenny at 15

  8. 1. Jenkins,
    2. Ross
    3. Cole
    4. Gray
    5. Botha
    6. Lydiate
    7. Rennie (Warburton didn’t really play enough)
    8. Morgan
    9. Phillips
    10. Farrell
    11. North
    12. Tuilagi (he has played there quite a bit for Leicester)
    13. Davies
    14. Bowe
    15. Halfpenny
    And the all important bench
    16. Hartley
    17. Corbisiero
    18. Evans
    19. Robshaw
    20. Dickson? Reddan? Blair? Apart from Phillips none really stood out. Definitely not O’Leary though!!!
    21. Priestland
    22. Kearney

    I think Farrell was the only truly consistent FH in the tournament, not just with his goal kicking but all round game. Nothing too dynamic going forward, but some great tactical kicking, and I’ll bet if somebody checked the stats, that no other FH made more tackles.

    1. I think Jon Davies and Tuilagi would be a good combo but Davies to play inside centre. He has played most of his career there.

  9. I can confirm that Farrell kicked more goals, and made more tackles than any other FH in the tournament. And he also kicked more goals than any other player. Points win games, and he was only beaten by Halfpenny who scored two tries, and kicked 56 points, to Farrell’s 61 points from the boot.

  10. I vote for Marks’ team. Looks good and I firmly believe Kearney is the best FB in the NH by a long way.

    1. Thanks Solomon (cheque’s in the post)

      FWIW by clicking on my name, you go to my blog where I have my First choice team and their deputies. Also a recap of my weekend in Rome, should anyone care :)

      Apologies for the blatant link :)

    1. Following the same logic, does this mean you think the centre pairing should be Barritt and Tuilagi? OK we all know Roberts hurt himself running into an Englishman but Tuilagi was better than Davies on the day.

      I have Corbs and Jones in my selection, Jones kept over Cole because I thought he was the main reason for the Welsh scrum edge.

      1. The point was that the Welsh props were on top. The idea that the English props make it based on destroying a weak ireland front row doesn’t stand up when they struggle vs the Welsh one.

        And gethin offers far more around the park than any prop I have ever seen!

        1. Jethin offered more in the past, not sure he still does. Corbs made just as many tackles and has been very evident at the breakdown all tournamount. He also made a fantastic cover tackle against a Welsh back on an outside break so his mobility is right up there.

          In the pre match build up to the GS games Jones claimed he has had the nudge on Jenkins in their last 2 meetings so Jones having a good competition with Corbs does not make Corbs a less effective scrummager than Jenkins.

          The English second row won more lineouts, carried on more occaisions for more meters, made more tackles, won more turnovers and conceded fewer penalties in the head to head game, I hope you have reflected this in your team of the tourny :-)

    2. Haha. So if I pick one missed tackle by Lydiate should I pick Croft instead? Looking at that scrum, Hartley gives the penalty away for standing up (as he frequently does). I’m no front row expert but can that be put at the prop’s feet?)

      For what it’s worth, I mark every player in every game and pick my side based on the highest average performance (minim 3 games), not on the basis of 1 scrum :-)

      1. This wasn’t one missed tackle though. Presumably the English props were selected because of their performance vs Ireland, but they struggled against more worthy opponents, something that never happened to the Welsh scrum.

        When you add what gethin gives you at the breakdown (he is like an extra flanker), I just don’t see what argument there is for the English props?

        I like them both, I do, and rate both highly, but I don’t see what barometer is being used for selecting them above their welsh counterparts

        1. I like thew Welsh guys too, and the barometer used I set out clearly in the second paragraph.

          Corbisiero was consistently strong in the scrum, and when I look back at the marks for the Welsh game, which is no longer fresh in the memory (I’ve been to Paris and Rome since then – say no more) I marked him as equal with Jenkins. Yes Jenkins is like a 4th back row forward at the breakdown, but I thought, on the whole, that Corbisiero nudged him out.

          Jones versus Cole is another tricky one obviously. Cole is Jenkins like in that he does do a heck of a lot of good work at the breakdown and gets through an enormous amount of work in defence, whereas Jones tends to do more on the front foot.

          Everything is subjective though. When I finally get my blog up tonight from this weekend, I will put up my “Team of the Tournament” alongside their deputies. I think it would make a cracking match!

  11. Great comment Redmond. I motlsy agree with you. I watched the game with mongrel and we both commented that they were using Jamie far too much. It was my personal opinion that this was a ploy by Wales and that they were planning to use Jamie a lot early doors and try and get the English defence to try and plan for Jamie so that they could then use Jamie as a decoy and use Foxy, Cuthbert and George instead. However, the plan didn’t work as a) England started to get on top of us and b) Jamie went off injured.What was confusing was that when Scott Williams came on, they continued to run the same moves but with Scott taking it up instead of Jamie. You would have thought that then would have been a good time to start using Foxy, George and Alex rather than Scott who is not a crashball centre.The point you make about having a second distributor in the backline is a good one. We’ve seen when Hooky has come on in the previous two games that he has made stuff happen because we have had another player come into midfield who can draw and pass really well. However, I’m unsure about your call for Henson. On the one hand, I think he could do a job against Italy. However, I think that if he was picked against Italy and did well, the media and the fans would be clamouring for him to play against France and I remain unconvinced that he is up to speed to the level required to take on France. I’d personally stick Scott Williams at 12 against Italy (he deserves it after his match-winning exploits yesterday), and have Gavin on the bench and try and give him a significant amount of gametime if the game is won. I think I’d maybe also give Hooky a start at fullback as he looked good there in the first two games.

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