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Six Nations Team of the Tournament

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Bryn Palmer | 09:00 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

So the 10th Six Nations Championship is over, and we have a fourth different winner of the decade with Ireland belatedly joining France (four), England (three) and Wales (two) in the title-winning enclosure.

It's time to select your Team of the Tournament. Here is mine. No doubt you will disagree with some, if not all of the selections. In which case, let's be hearing from you.

leebyrne595_pa.jpgFull-back: Lee Byrne (Wales) Tight call, and it bodes well for the Lions that arguments can also be made for England's Delon Armitage and Ireland's Rob Kearney. All three could go to South Africa, with Armitage and Kearney also offering options at centre and wing. But the Welshman's consistency, angles of attack and quality of kicking give him the edge, just.

Right wing: Tommy Bowe (Ireland) Mark Cueto made a successful return to Test rugby, his enthusiasm for work much in evidence, while Maxime Medard is a throwback to some of the great French backs, and not just because of his splendid sideburns. But Bowe, who can also play outside centre, has emerged as a Test wing of great potency, and a Lion in the making.

Outside centre: Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) Who else? Some misguided souls questioned whether BOD could still cut it at his former stratospheric level. But he responded by inspiring his side to a long-awaited Grand Slam, scoring four tries and showing leadership when they most needed it. Deserved reward for a decade of sustained brilliance.

Inside centre: Riki Flutey (England) Alongside O'Driscoll, the tournament's top try-scorer with four, and the pair could be united with the Lions. Jamie Roberts burned brightly for Wales before fading, but the New Zealand Maori who played against the 2005 Lions is getting better by the match for his adopted country, sparking the England backline into life.

Left wing: Thom Evans (Scotland) Shane Williams extended his Welsh try-scoring record to 46, but was nowhere near the influence of last year. Evans was left out of Scotland's opening match, a decision made to look like folly when he immediately gave the Scots an attacking weapon with real pace. But for Ugo Monye, he might have collected a memorable try at Twickenham.

Fly-half: Stephen Jones (Wales) Ronan O'Gara might have had the last word with his glory-laden drop-goal, but the Irishman had a shocker against England and Jones was the more consistent throughout, despite his final kick landing agonisingly short. Francois Trinh-Duc, with one superb solo try, and Toby Flood also had their moments.

Scrum-half: Mike Phillips (Wales) Another difficult call. Though not quite back to his thundering best, the Welshman edges it over Morgan Parra, who provided control and goalkicking accuracy for France. Harry Ellis can also be satisfied with his return to Test duty, while Tomas O'Leary's tactical acumen was an important, under-rated, element in Ireland's success.

Loose-head prop: Gethin Jenkins (Wales) One of the great performances by a prop against England, when he launched into 16 of the 36 tackles he made in the tournament. Phenomenal work-rate and strength at scrum-time put him in pole position for the Lions Test number one jersey for the second tour in a row.

Hooker: Dimitri Szarzewski (France) Worryingly for the Lions, none of the home nations contenders really came through to announce themselves as stand-out contenders. Lee Mears can take great credit for only one lost English line-out in the entire tournament, but the Frenchman established himself as his country's number one hooker with a powerful all-round game.

Tight-head prop: John Hayes (Ireland) Much derided by pundits, much appreciated by team-mates, "The Bull" was a pillar of strength in Ireland's triumph. At 35, he has not missed a single Six Nations match since his debut in the second match of the 2000 campaign, testament to his stamina, and is now Ireland's record cap holder. Adam Jones also continues to impress.

Lock: Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) His Wales colleague Ian Gough made some shuddering hits and Donncha O'Callaghan again proved the perfect foil for the more celebrated talents of Paul O'Connell, but the Welsh tyro is the complete package at lock. Joint top of the Six Nations tacklers (54) with Joe Worsley, athletic in the line-out and a monster at the breakdown.

Lock: Paul O'Connell (Ireland) Arguable as to whether he or O'Driscoll is the bigger influence on Ireland, and they are both worthy contenders for the Lions captaincy. O'Connell was huge against England and destroyed the Wales line-out on Saturday. His country's leading tackler and ball-carrier, and a colossal presence in the tight exchanges and set-pieces. Superb consistency.

Blind-side flanker: Thierry Dusautoir (France) Another tough call. Stephen Ferris enjoyed a superb first Six Nations for Ireland, Alasdair Strokosch got through a mountain of work for Scotland, and Tom Croft started to fulfil his abundant potential, but the Frenchman continues to set a consistently high standard even when others around him are letting theirs drop.

Open-side flanker: David Wallace (Ireland) Joe Worsley enjoyed an unlikely international renaissance with England, while Martyn Williams again showed why Wales are keen for him to keep going to the 2011 World Cup. But the rejuvenated Irishman just edges it, his ball-carrying, breakdown work and link-up play putting him in pole position for the Lions number seven shirt.

Number eight: Sergio Parisse (Italy) Plenty of options, with Imanol Harinordoquy back to his best for France and Jamie Heaslip's dynamism adding a new dimension to the Irish back row. But the great Sergio - he carried the ball 58 times, 11 more than anyone else - was almost a one-man Italian team, with every skill in the book. You had to feel for him.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I do believe Thom Evans plays for Scotland, despite his Welsh surname! ;D

  • Comment number 2.

    I think O'Gara offers more at fly half, even if he might be targeted by the Boks as he was by the Welsh yesterday. Flood's really improving too. Not sure why but I don't see Jones in that Lions team. (And it's not because I'm English.)

    I almost forgot about Mike Blair. What a disappointing tournament.

  • Comment number 3.

    This is a team of the tournament, though - not a Lions XV. So maybe Jones must nicks it.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is rubbish. Lee Byrne and Mike Phillips had completely below par tournaments. Thom Evans has gas but no defence.

    Armitage and Cueto should have been included along with Joe Worsley.

  • Comment number 5.

    Sergio Parisse is an italian player not french!

  • Comment number 6.

    Picking far to many players from the fourth best team in the tournament. Really need more players from the first and second place teams.

  • Comment number 7.

    I can only assume all above me getting moderated are pointing out that just because Parisse plays like a Frenchman doesn't stop him playing for Italy,
    Ieuan Evans played for Wales and Thom didn't and perhaps even that Worsley played at 6 and Croft at 7.

    That said, we'd be talking more about your team had you not done a pretty good job. I quite agree with the team.

  • Comment number 8.

    Parisse- ITALY surely. He is the captain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Pretty much agree with this. I think that Parra deserves a mention - he as excellent for France excpet his kicking...

    Also, Jerry Flannery and Euan Murray deserve a mention in the front row.

    My team has 6 changes - Kearney, Medard, Parra, Williams, Murray and Flannery for Byrne, Bowe, Phillips, Wallace, Hayes and Szarzewski.

  • Comment number 10.

    I last time I looked Evans was from Scotland and Parisse was from Italy. How can the team that came 4th in the competition contribute over a third of the members of the team of the year. Nonsense.

    I think the name Bryn may have somthing to do with this!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Comment 4 cwatts81

    What are you on? I think you forgot Cipriani at outside half and Will Carling at centre

  • Comment number 12.

    Shame there's no award for boot of the tournament. Paterson was immaculate again.

    I thought Mears had a very good tournament too.

  • Comment number 13.

    Comment 10

    Had Wales nicked it in Paris and S Jones kicked that final kick Wales would have been celebrating another G Slam.

    That's why there are so many Welsh players in and lets not forget he has left out the IRB world player of the year, just in case you were not aware, he is Welsh as well.
    Get over the fact that England only had two stand out players, one was born in Trinidad and the other New Zealand!!!!
    I think Bryn has picked a good mix, nobody is perfect

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mike Phillips at scrum half, are you kidding! Always takes a step to the side and delivers no quick ball. The main reason why Wales were less potent in attack was the speed of his delievry. Ellis comfortable the best 9, although 9 and 10 are problem positions for the lions

  • Comment number 16.

    Joe Worsley was immense for England. I'd like to see the number of tackles he made, compared to other players in the 6 Nations. He broke up play after play after play.

  • Comment number 17.

    Comment 10

    Wales where playing for it all the chance of a triple crown and the chance to win the tournament. Wales just come unstuck at the end by a better Ireland team on the day.

    What were England playing for the calcutta cup and to save face and keep martin Johnson as your couch. That is why there are more welsh in the team at the end of the tournament.

    If Italy had picked a real scrum half for the first game of the tournament I don’t think England would be sitting in 2nd place.

    Tell you what to make you feel better and have one less Welsh player let’s pick bergamasco at no 9 instead of mike Philips. Because he is the only other scrum half that will be remembered from this tournament.

  • Comment number 18.

    Yes Wales did finish fourth, but that was behind a resurgent England and a typically inconsistent France on points difference. Wales haven't suddenly become a bad team overnight.
    I think Bryn's team is about right. It's just a shame that such silly, petty nationalism gets the better of most people on here!

  • Comment number 19.

    ellfromgavenny is right

    had Wales won all their matches they would have won the Grand Slam, the fact they didn't and came 4th should be ignored.


    Alex Ferguson couldn't have put it better himself.......

  • Comment number 20.

    haha yeah if Wales had won all their games they would of won the grand slam.... but they didn't did they? Just as England could have won if they had won two tight games against Ireland and Wales.

    I really don't see how you can have 5 Welsh players in there. For a team with so much talent they really underperformed.

  • Comment number 21.

    The debate here just underlines what an amazing tournament the 6 Nations is. Anyone can beat anyone on their day and the difference between a Grand Slam and scrapping for the wooden spoon is not that great. Arguably after the first 2 games you wouldn't have picked any Englishmen at all, now they look like world beaters but you must strike a balance between form and consistency.

  • Comment number 22.

    Really don't get how Phillips gets in this ahead of Parra. Stick Armitage in instead of Byrne and I think that's about right...

  • Comment number 23.

    I can't for the life of me think why people are suggesting Lee Byrne is taken out. He played himself into the Lions 15 shirt this tournament without a shadow of a doubt - outstanding full back.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think the selection is about right with the exception of fullback where I thought Armitage was outstanding and Byrne disappointing. A bit tough on Joe Worsley as well.

  • Comment number 25.

    The team makes sense - difficult to pick certain positions especially when it is so tight between the nations on points.

    Scotland did not have a good tournament and only a few players actually played well. Italy can only really go to Parisse for inspiration but I did like the look of the young Zanni who had a few moments of flair.

    England found some consistency once they stopped going in the bin and Wales never really found top gear even though they could have had another grand slam with a couple of kicks going over. France looked dangerous against a pathetic Italy side but still have the ability to capitulate as they did against England.

    Therefore apart from a few players (Mears, M.Williams & Armitage) I personally think that the team is about right (Very close though).

  • Comment number 26.

    Mike Phillips had, at best, an average tournament. Best scrum half was Chris Cussiter.

    As for the French hooker - can he hit a barn door at 5 paces? Welsh hooker cannot. Dimitri is good in loose but definitely wayward in throwing. Jerry Flannery or Mears probably best here.

    Blind side: French lad had an excellent tournament by Worsley is the stand out performer here - something I doubt I or many others would have predicted at start of tournament.

    Tight head prop: I just do not see what Hayes does. He is ok as scrummage (Murray is a lot better as are several of the Italians) doesnt do much in the loose - he is nothing more than consistently average - surely there is someone better.

  • Comment number 27.

    Cwatt81 Please get over your English Bias. You were clearly watching a different team. Lee Byrne was excellent in all aspects of full back play. I'm not Welsh and I can see that. That doesn't mean an Armitage say didn't play well.

    With regards to ten O'Gara was in trouble all day against Wales and consistently got put on his backside. He won't last long on a lions tour. I'd pick Jones every time on the intangibles, plus his all round ability. I would like the pairing of Phillips and Jones for the Lions.

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't think anyone of the teams in world rugby can start questioning where players were born, every team has pushed those boundaries over the years.
    Great tournament though and plenty for the Lions to pick from. Plus quite a few not to pick.

  • Comment number 29.

    To ell from gavenny don't forget England only lost to Ireland by a point and if that result had gone the other way would have been champions on points difference and tries scored. Shame the Welsh haven't got much creativity behind the scrum. Only 8 tries scored to Englands 16. HMMMM!

  • Comment number 30.

    Comment for Ellfromgavenny.

    Behave my friend. Just making the point that you cant just pick Welsh players because they played well last year and in Autumn internationals. Sure they are good but performed well below there levels in THIS tournament and this is a TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT.

    Probably is a slightly bias view given that Im English but I think this team picked by "Bryn" is guilty of the same crime.

  • Comment number 31.

    Comment 13 - are you serious? If if if? If england scored 2 more points against Ireland they'd have won the tournament! England should have more representatives in this, Armitage, pos ellis, worsley etc.

  • Comment number 32.

    Wales and Ireland were the only teams in the tournament who weren't utterly played off the park in at least one of their games.

    Wales were inches away from winning both the games they eventually lost. Not begrudging that at all, it's disappointing and frustrating to see as a Welshman, but - hey - that's sport.

    It's fair to say Wales didn't really "click" during this tournament, and the attack was misfiring, but those problems can be repaired.

    (Having said that, I don't think there was a better try this year than Lee Byrne's against France.)

    Nevertheless, Wales still boast some of the most established quality players of the European nations.

  • Comment number 33.

    Not Byrne at full back. He was decidely shaky against England and France, although he does have great running lines. A fullback should first and foremost be solid under the high ball, and good in defence. Byrne may look good going forward and gets rave reviews, but defensively and under the high ball he looks weak under pressure.

    Wales were not that great.

  • Comment number 34.

    Lee Byrne didn't have the greatest tournament, the Scotland game aside, but I think if he had stayed on the field Ireland might not have gone on to win.

    His kicking game is immense, and he is an excellent broken field runner, as well as running great angles into the line. His defense might have kept Bowe out for the second Irish try as well. Not begrudging Ireland the win though - they deserved it for fortitude alone.

    A second welsh player who has to start in the backs is Stephen Jones. His kicking and passing is comparable to O'Gara's, (albeit O'Gara often finds inventive kicks to put widemen in), but he adds calmness and tackling ability.

  • Comment number 35.

    Sorry but that is an awful XV.

    Why is Mike Phillips there? He had a poor Six Nations. Should have been O'Leary or Ellis.

    Why is Lee Byrne there? He was terrible. Should have been Armitage.

    Why isn't Joe Worsley at 7?

    Lee Mears deserves to start at 2.

    The biggest joke is that you used a photo of Lee Byrne at the top of the article when he was the most disappointing player!

    Get Worsley, Armitage, O'Leary and Mears in. Then you'll have the best XV of the tournament.

  • Comment number 36.

    m18gfc

    Joe Worsley 54 tackles Joint top of the Six Nations tacklers with Alun Wyn Jones

  • Comment number 37.

    Sorry I don't recall England being played off the park during the six nations?

    These Welsh excuses are pretty amusing. You came 4th when you were expected to win it. Was great to see Ireland win after all the rubbish Gatland was coming out with pre game.

  • Comment number 38.

    Byrne?
    Phillips?
    Wallace instead of Worsley?
    No Lee Mears?
    Bowe?
    Thom Evans can run fast, congratulations, Cueto offers far more and had a good tournament.

    But the most shocking one of all, again... Byrne?!?

  • Comment number 39.

    mobrien3383

    please explain why 9 and 10 are problem positions for the lions?

    No 9
    Mike Philips
    Tomas O'Leary's
    Harry Elis
    Dwayne Peel
    Mike Blair

    No 10
    Steven Jones
    Ronan O'gara
    James Hook

    is it because there is only one english play with a chance of making the lions team in those positions (Elis).

    Wait i forgot about cipriani or jonny wilkinson because they have more chance that Goode and flood of making the trip.


  • Comment number 40.

    why so many players from the fourth best team in the tournament?!
    lee mears was outstanding - carried the ball well and was very mobile. he is first choice hooker for lions.

    armotage best full back on consistancy of performance throughout tournament - followed by kearney. byrne - not the outstanding player guscott cuddles.

    evans does not deserve this credit. one of the good wingers but not the best, not by a long shot. look to those that scored a bit more.

    gethin jenkins- cant wait to see him in the lions. class.

    fly half is tricky - i think for attacking flare flood deserves a spot in the lions (bench). Ogara to start. JOnes- yawn.

    french scrum half? erm no. philips followed by ellis, followed by both irish efforts.

  • Comment number 41.

    Byrne and Phillips should not be in the team of the tournment. Byrne wasn't at his best and apart from one great run against Ireland Phillips was very average. I'd replace them with Armitage and Ellis or Parra.

    For the lions half backs we have a few reasonable options, I'd go with Ellis & Jones on current form, but unless Blair and Peel have a sudden dramatic recovery of form none of them are near being world class.

  • Comment number 42.

    I like the team and really glad Parisse, Dusautoir and Szarzewski were mentioned. I personally do not think Williams nor Bryne had great tournaments. I think they are excellent players, but this is a team of the tournament. Armitage was the top try scorer so he should be there at full back (I dont see how being born in trinidad should be mocked at at England's expense btw). Also, Parra in front of Philips but I woudl be happy with either to be honest! Wallace versus Worsley is interesting, but Wallace probably edged it.

    Good luck tot he Lions in SA! Cannot wait and whoever goes, whatever country they play for, wherever they are born (for the inbred blogger who brought that up), I will be cheering US on.

  • Comment number 43.

    thank goodness theres been no mention of Henson!

  • Comment number 44.

    Six Nations Team:

    15. Lee Byrne
    14. Tommy Bowe
    13. Brian O'Driscoll (C)
    12. Riki Flutey
    11. Cedric Heymans
    10. Stephen Jones
    9. Mike Phillips
    8. Sergio Parisse
    7. David Wallace
    6. Joe Worseley
    5. Paul O'Connell
    4. Alun Wyn Jones
    3. Gethin Jenkins
    2. Dimitri Szarzewski
    1. John Hayes

    Bench:
    16. Jerry Flannery
    17. Lee Mears
    18. Ian Gough
    19. Imanol Harinordoquy
    20. Peter Stringer
    21. Ronan O'Gara
    22. Shane Williams

  • Comment number 45.

    Er, JLousy, are you forgetting Danny Care? Probably the second best lions elligable SH behind Dwayne Peel! And 10 isn't a problem, Jones and O'Gara are 1 and 2, with Hook, Cipriani, a fit Wilkinson, Flood and possibly Godman scrapping for the last place.

    It isn't petty nationalism in saying there were too many Welshmen in that team. The truth is that they did not perform this 6N. Only in the Scottish game did they truly perform. And the weak link there has to be Mike Phillips. Not a no9. If Peel hadn't got injured, I reckon he would have played against Ireland, and then maybe it would have been a different outcome.

    And, for the record, there was only really one stand out Englishman this year, and a Kiwi at that!

  • Comment number 46.

    I think I'd have to agree with justanothernumber. Wales were about 3 metres from another grandslam overall - very fine margins. Circumstance played against them (friday night against a rampant france) and against an irish team playing for the slam. Both these matches were the most competitive and had the finest margins (can you guess I'm welsh). These are the facts the facts tho.
    All this talk for 'why are there so many welsh players in there' is rubbish really as you can't ignore byrne, jenkins, swilliams, shanklin, phillips, sjones, AWjones etc. shall I go on?
    England should have beaten ireland, and france may well have not turned up to twickenham (flattering that one). Let's get a sense of perspective here. A flood of england players into the team now would be nonsense. There needs to be a balance.
    What I would like to know is why do all the Beeb comments talk about o'connell being captain when as we all know without BOD Ireland don't win, plain as, O'connel has no impact as captain then. O'connell doesn't have a proven record at (international) captaincy does he?

  • Comment number 47.

    Boys and girls, this team isn't about best players etc, it is about consistent performers throughout the tournament. If it was a nationalistic best players pick, Parisse wouldn't even be mentioned, which is really unfair as he was the ONLY reason to watch the Italian games.
    5 Welsh players are in the team simply for consistency - if all 15 had been as consistent as these 5 then Wales would have walked the Grand Slam. English players picked up consistency throughout, but with Wallace, Jenkins, Byrne, BOD and Bowe performing from the off, it would be very hard for anyone to displace them.
    Personally I would've picked Adam Jones as 3, mainly because his all round game has developed and improved - Hayes seems to be there simply because he deserves it for being a rock and not missing a 6N game since his debut.
    9 and 10 are problem positions because none of the names mentioned in blog 39 performed at a consistent level. Yes, you have mentioned some great players, but none really proved how great they could be during the tournament. Peel and Stringer would be the best picks simply for their speed of delivery and quick thinking, but neither were given a chance to perform to the level we know they can.

    Good article anyway Bryn - always good to get a few arguments going.

  • Comment number 48.

    Typical. Despite England scoring the most tries in the tournament, the most points and conceding fewest, we have the joint lowest number of players in the team. Why should England, the 2nd placed team in the six-nations, have only one player in the 15? The team picked, if they played together, probably wouldn't have won the six-nations. Wales seem to have the most players and they finished 4th!!!! Had England not been unfairly punished against Wales and Ireland, we would have been celebrating another grand slam, but even then, we would not get the critical acclaim we deserve. It's about time the sporting press stopped all the Anglo-bashing and gave Johnson and his team the credit they deserve!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    "Picking far to many players from the fourth best team in the tournament. Really need more players from the first and second place teams."
    CJlanchberry, 2nd, 3rd and 4th team all finished on 6 points (with 3 wins and 2 losses). Are you saying that 2nd should have more players included than 4th based simply on overall point difference???
    Plus this exercise is to pick the best player for each position, regardless of the achievement of their respective team.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think your team is a good assessment of performance in the 6N.

    I think for player of the tournament there are only two stand-out candidates:

    Paul O'Connell - the only player to dominate his position in every match which, together with his tackling, ball-carrying and phenominal workrate, makes him potential Lion's captain

    Sergio Parrise - who stood out in every match for his "never say die" attitude and general all-round ball handling skills.


  • Comment number 51.

    "please explain why 9 and 10 are problem positions for the lions?"

    9 isn't a problem. Phillips will do well, and Blair may find his form.

    10 is.

    ROG isn't good enough for the Lions. Nor is Flood. Jones is good, but hardly electric. Hook isn't playing. Nor is Cips.

    It's a real shame, but none of the Lions options at 10 would get anywhere near a World Test XV.

  • Comment number 52.

    Riki Flutey - you are having a laugh surely! Good player but over the 5 matches Jamie Roberts played as well over that period and number of games. This sounds and looks like a political choice to get an english man in the backs and get one in the team of the tournament.

  • Comment number 53.

    Given the importance of picking up the 3 points from penalties, etc, how can Chris Paterson not be in the side? The man didn't miss a kick all tournament!

    and I'm an Englishman!

  • Comment number 54.

    On the back of the 6N then my Lions back line would have to read:

    15. Armitage
    14. Bowe
    13. BOD
    12. Flutey
    11. Williams
    10. Jones
    9. Phillips

    Backs squad would include - Blair, O'Gara, Kearney, Byrne, Henson, Roberts and Tindall (Tindall simply to give some bulk to the flair).

  • Comment number 55.

    Most amusing. He's actually picked some Welsh players despite none of them making a great showing. Eight trys, that's all Wales scored. England scored double that number.

  • Comment number 56.

    Jones should never be fly-half. It was his duff kick that gave Ireland the drop goal chance and he never looked like creating anything all game. So, if you're going to drop O'Gara out for one bad game (a game that his team won by the way), then Jones has to be removed for the same reason. Trinh-Duc gets the Six Nations nod, and O'Gara the Lions'.

    For scrum-half, I can't believe you've missed out mentioning Blair entirely (actually, given your all round shocking selection, yes, I can believe it). O'Leary isn't bad, but quite simply, he's far too slow at producing ball at the break down. The different between him and Stringer in that respect is obvious as soon as Nosferatu steps on the park.

    For someone who claims to specialise in rugby union, you clearly don't understand, or even watch, very much.

  • Comment number 57.

    Bryn I'd say given how difficult this is you're pretty much there. The question marks for me are No.9 - Phillips just doesn't do it for me (Ellis)and Croft at 6 (outstanding although limited tournament time).

    Also Jlousy - we do have a problem at half backs as none of the contenders from any country have stood out. Given how key these positions are Geechs and co. do have a lot to think about.

    I'd love to see Peel fully fit and back to his best at nine (offers so much more than Phillips)however at 10 we need someone to step up to the plate and take full control. For me O'Gara currently is the leading contender as now he's a Slam winner hopefully the monkey has been removed from his shoulder. Jones doesn't offer much and Hook is too inconsistent (although a phenomenal talent), as for Cips - no thanks Flood and a one legged Jonno are ahead of him at the mo.

  • Comment number 58.

    Comment 32 - "Wales and Ireland were the only teams in the tournament who weren't utterly played off the park in at least one of their games."
    So I imagine that you consider that (at least) one of the 23-15 Wales v England or 14-13 Ireland v England games as a match in which England were "utterly played off the park"? To make such a statement either demonstrates that you do not understand the game of rugby or did not in fact watch either of these games. And for a game where one team was "utterly played off the park" - Stade de France, Friday 27 February? Irrespective of score line, the French were immense in that game and Wales came off the field battered.
    Your team came 4th - accept it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Agree with all but Full back and Scrum half. Kearney should have been best full back and O'leary scrum half, but i think Phillips or Blair should be srum half for the lions.

  • Comment number 60.

    Jlousy - you asked for an explanation as to why 9 and 10 are problem positions for the Lions...

    For my money, I certainly agree that 10 is a problem as I simply don't see the outstanding candidates. Yes Jones and O Gara are decent internationals but certainly nothing that SA would fear. Imagine O Gara defending the 10 channel which Burger, Spies etc will no doubt target. He's a liability in defence. Jones is better defensively but again I just don't think he's Lions starting 15 quality. Hook excites me more but obviously is second choice to Jones and does seem to manage a game the way we'd need him to from Number 10.


    We are in the same position in 2005 with regard to No. 10's - hence the reason last time JW was rushed back. I'm not suggesting that's in any way a solution but he's the last real quality number 10 the Lions Nation have produced.

    No. 9 I'd say not such an issue although don't think any of our options are as good as SA's number 9. To be fair this is a major problem throughout the team as I always look at their opposite SA number and think is our best better than their equivalent. In most cases the answer is 'no'. Always going to be difficult for the Lions to win when none of our nations are beating southern hemisphere opposition regularly (if ever)and we're playing them away from home! Wales were the best last year and look how many wins they've managed against the southern boys (1 I believe).







  • Comment number 61.

    I think that just because Wales finished 4th doesn't make them a bad team, they to a very good French performance and only just lost to the eventual winners. It is not easy to win a Grand Slam, It is all on such close margins, apart from the scots and italians, any team could have won it.

    Lee Byrne may have not been the best 15 of the tournament, but he is the best 15 around with his performances from this season. But you never know what a lions tour will bring.

    Armitage or Kearney are equally good players.

    Phillips is a solid 9 and had a very good game against Ireland, but I think Ellis probably runs him close.

    But overall a good team selection. If the french played a consistent team each week, then I think we could all be in trouble!

  • Comment number 62.

    Thanks Bryn, you've started the debate.
    I think there were only 3 shoe-ins (O'Driscoll, Flutey and O'Connell).
    I'm glad your selections reflect the whole 5 rounds (not players who shone for 10 minutes) and haven't relied on past form (hence no Mike Blair nor Shane Williams).

  • Comment number 63.

    Wales may be the fourth best team but this was not because of the way they played it was goal difference. I do agree that Armitage played well but still think Byrne is better and Worsley does deserve a mention think he will be close to a test spot.

    Hayes is consistently average and am suprised he is in the team. Shane Williams was poor and I think the Evans and Bowe deserve to be in the team.

    Can anyone name me a better scrum half - all were average - ALL.

    O'Gara was battered against Wales and I feel SA will do exactly the same.

    Think O'Driscoll and Callaghan were awesome and think Ireland deserved to win (and I am Welsh!)

    Just think that the tournament overall was quite average!

    And for all these Pro English comments when Wales won the GS in 2005 England still had more Lions than us that year so dont feel so hard done by!

  • Comment number 64.

    It's annoying that so many people get caught up in the "who's better, wales or england" debate. Essentially both teams were as close to winning to tournament as each other, and Ireland deserved to win the GS because they held out against both, even if there was a bit of luck involved. Wales underperformed, and England went from awful to promising over the 5 games. They ended up at a very similar level. There's not much point using this article to squabble.

    This article is about the best team of the 6N, and so should be made up based on individual performances, not reputation or based on where their team finished. It is about who was the most effective player in each position. So, on that basis, Byrne, Evans, Philips, Hayes, and Wallace shouldn't be in the team.

    The best 15 throughout all 5 games was definitely Delon Armitage.
    The best scrum half through all 5 games was Harry Ellis.
    The best tight head (even with only 3 games) should be Euan Murray.
    The best open side should be Joe Worsley.
    Tommy Bowe was definitely the best winger of the tournament, and then it is a complete toss up between severl others for the other side. Evans wasn't any better than Cueto, Fitzgerald or even S. WIlliams (even below his usual standard). I'd probably go with Cueto. He did more than the others in attack, and was the strongest defensively.

    My team:

    Armitage
    Bowe
    O Driscoll
    Flutey
    Cueto
    Jones
    Ellis

    Parisse
    Worsley
    Dusattoir
    O Connell
    A W Jones
    Murray
    Szarzewski
    Jenkins

  • Comment number 65.

    Cwatts81

    Your right can’t just pick Welsh players because they played well last year and in autumn internationals.

    It’s down to performances in the 6 nations for TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT.
    Although was player below par and finished 4th over all it came down to the last game of the tournament WALES VS IRELAND.
    England where out of the running after the 3rd game.

    If you read the article he offers valid reasons for why Worsley, Armitage, and Mears. Where left out. I would feel more aggrieved if I was Rob Kearney as he had a stand out tournament where as Armitage has 2 or 3 stand out games. A below par Byrn is still light years ahead of Armitage .

    Let’s hope McGeechan realises this and dose not listen to all the English hype over their players. Ireland won the grand slam there should be a decent amount of Irish in with a shout of going.

    I don’t want to see a 3-0 white wash like under Woodward when he ignored the welsh of 2005

  • Comment number 66.

    A good team Bryn - Murray or Jones at 3 though. Not too sure about Thom Evans - did he get enough game time? Lee Mears at hooker too - the best of a bad bunch!
    Can anybody seriously suggest Worsley at 7 for the Lions? They must be joking - argue for him at 6 if you want but he is never an open side. You need a specialist 7 against the southern hemisphere teams. Williams and Wallace are the only options - England and France chose to play without open sides for most of the tournament, but it won't work in SA.
    Moody was a 6 1/2 - Worsley is not even that!
    Doubts about O'Gara too - there might nowhere to hide him against SA - and the team will not be able to afford a minder for him.

  • Comment number 67.

    To everyone who says Byrne and Phillips should be kicked out for Armitage and Ellis... No chance, England didnt perform consistently everyone got hyped up about the french match if you are going to make the Lions XV you can't wait until you have been given a telling until you play well, good players don't need to be given that telling. And Cwatts81 how can you say they shouldn't be there, sure they had under par tournaments but when it mattered they delivered.
    Wallace ahead of Worseley aswell is the right decision. Worseley was pretty good but again Wallace was the one standing on the podium at the end.

  • Comment number 68.

    With reference to comment 43 backlineguru, Henson is a quality player but he couldn't be included due to lack of games. I can guarantee he will be in the Lions squad tho. I also think that Lee Mears probably deserved to make the hooker spot.Thank god nobody has mentioned Vickery, now there is a player well past his sell by date

  • Comment number 69.


    It?s down to performances in the 6 nations for TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT.
    Although was player below par and finished 4th over all it came down to the last game of the tournament WALES VS IRELAND.
    England where out of the running after the 3rd game.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's a very misleading comment as it's really just down to the way the schedule was rather than any fault of England's or triumph of Wales'. If England had Ireland as their last match then I'm confident it would have been them who were playing for the tournament on the last day - plus, to be fair, Wales had an easier schedule than England, who had to play both Wales and Ireland away.

    That said, I can't really think of any English players who should have made this Tournament XV and haven't. I think a lot, such as Armitage, Croft, Worsley and Cueto, wouldn't be far behind those who did get in. But I don't think either Stephen Jones or Mike Phillips should be in a Tournament XV, they weren't that good, although I would have both of them in my Lions team (but not beacuse of how they played in this Six Nations).

  • Comment number 70.

    As people have hinted at, this is supposed to be the team of the tornament. The point people seem to be getting mixed up about is that those players are individuals. Who cares if they care from a team which came from Wales finishing in 4th or England in 2nd. As far as I can see it, Wales in 4th had better individual players than England. Certainly in terms of contention for this team I would have Jones and Jenkins in contention as Welsh props...no English props stood out for me. Both Welsh 2nd rows were quality...dissapointed with English 2nd row, Kennedy was best. Etc.
    For what its worth, here is my squad of the 6nations:
    Byrne; Bowe, BOD, Flutey (despite poor start to 6N), Armitage; Jones, Parra ; Jenkins, Flannery, Jones, AW Jones, O'Connell, Dusatoir, Wallace, Parisse. Mears, Murray, Gough, Harinordoquy/Ferris, Roberts, Shanklin, Evans or something like that, keep changing my mind!

  • Comment number 71.

    Also noticed, every one is happy to point out the Welsh back line scored 8 tries to Englands 16 and the rest of it. It is not all about scoring tries, or why are so many putting Joe Worsely forward, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't he deployed as a defensive player? note Wales match and use against Jamie Roberts? Can't have it both ways...more to rugby than just crossing the line. Not that I'm taking anything away for Worsely, thought he played really well, just doesnt have the most complete game in my opinion, and thats what this is all about, opinions...

  • Comment number 72.

    yannthefrog - No I’m saying the team that got 16 tries to your 8 and were a 2 point swing in the Ireland game away from winning the championship should have more players in the side of the championship. Than a side that failed to meet expectations and simply failed to gel. Seems rather amusing people who complain about choosing on reputation not form now rely on just that for plaudits!

  • Comment number 73.

    My Six Nations Team would be:

    15 - Armitage
    14 - Bowe
    13 - O'Driscoll
    12 - Flutey
    11 - T Evans
    10 - Jones
    9 - Cusiter or Philips
    8 - Parisse
    7 - Wallace
    6 - Strokosh or Worseley
    5 - Wyn Jones
    4 - O'Connel
    3 - Murray
    2 - Szarzewski
    1 - Gethin Jenkins

    Cusiter should have started all games for Scotland after the Wales games, Blair was to slow with his distribution,Cusiter's distrubution has improved since he went to play in France.
    Armitage was more consistent at Full back than any other in the championship.
    Murray was immense when he came back from injury.
    Not much between Strokosh and Worseley, both put in a power of work.

  • Comment number 74.

    two things.......

    i cant believe there was not a better left-winger in the 6N than Thom Evans - i know he has a lot of hype surroundind him, but i thought there were much better alternatives - like Cueto (although he arguably played his best games on the right wing).

    secondly, i am disappointed to see AW Jones and O'Connell picked as the two locks. Not because i didnt think they played well (they both played brilliantly) but because they are both no5 locks - would have preferred to see a 4 in there as well such as DOC or Gough (my choice). You would not put two inside centres in the team, so why two locks who play the same role?

    Also can i just say how amazed i was to see John Hayes had not missed a 6N game since 2000.......that is an amazing stat and says a lot about the man and what different managers have thought of him.

  • Comment number 75.

    As an englishman i'd have bitten your hand off in january for 1 player in the fantasy "team of the tournament" and 2nd place in the real tournament.
    Rugby results require the whole team to put in a solid performance rather than 1 or 2 individuals per team to shine brightly.
    If England have the 2nd best performer in every position next year we'll have a pretty good chance of winning the grand slam and again, i'll happily settle for that than seeing lots of names on someone's wish list!

  • Comment number 76.

    I always thought Wales were the fourth best team in Europe!

    Complete over hype of an average team who are cheered on at home by the an emotional crowd

    Lack of quality in depth shown against Italy when they were LUCKY to beat Italy, 3 regional teams (as dragons don't contribute) = 3 players (max) per position, not forgetting foreign players etc.

    Shane Williams 'Targeted' as weak link by the Irish!!!!! World player of the Yearr???????????how?????? S.Hem teams will ( and have) eat the boy for breakfast! How can you be named world player of the year based on a successful six nations tournament?? what happens on the world stage?

    If Wales/Eng/Ire/France played each other today, the result would be based on where the tie was played, all equally as bad as each other at the min.....dif is England and France are in transition and not claiming to be world beaters!.....jog on Wales



  • Comment number 77.

    Only 1 English player, despite England scoring the most, conceding the least and finishing in second place.

    What a joke.

  • Comment number 78.

    Post 52- Jamie Roberts played that well........he was dropped! no debate the Flutey was the form 12 of the tournament.

    On another point, I am not Tindall's biggest fan but he didn't let anybody down and certainly wasn't out played by any other centre.

  • Comment number 79.

    My team of the tournament:
    Armitage,Bowe,O'Driscoll,Flutey,Cueto,Jones,Phillips
    Jenkins,Szarzewski,Hayes,AWJones,O'Connell,Dusautoir,Wallace,Parisse

    Agreeing with Bryn on 13/15 selections.
    5 Irish, 4 Welsh, 3 English, 2 French, 1 Italian, 0 Scots.
    8 was the tighest call with Heaslip and Harinodoquy both outstanding except for blips against England.

    Let's not forget that England France and Wales all finished on 6 points each with 3/5 wins. The fact there are so many English fans gloating about finishing in 2nd ahead of Wales in 4th, on points difference alone and having lost the head-to-head, just shows how the balance of NH rugby has changed in recent years. England should instead just be happy with the progress made in this tournament, finally there's a team that's starting to gel and some players have really put their hands up for the Lions tour - Croft, Flutey, Armitage all pusing hard for a starting spot.

  • Comment number 80.

    good point yannthefrog
    "2nd, 3rd and 4th team all finished on 6 points (with 3 wins and 2 losses)"

    Worst games of the 6 nations to watch
    England vs Italy
    Scotland vs Italy
    England vs Ireland

    Most Exciting games of the 6 nations
    Wales vs Ireland
    Wales vs France
    England vs France

    England where dreadful up until the French game thats why there are more welsh in the team.

    Wales played 60 minutes of rugby perfection against Scotland after that we did not look like getting out of 2nd gear but in those 60 minutes we showed more than any other team could offer all tournament. Wales in 2nd gear still proved more exciting to watch and any of the England games.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think it is very interesting that there is a lot of bias comments towards England and a lot of anti-welsh comments

    Before I explain why, I do acknowledge a lot of arguments for certain players to be in the team of the tournarment.

    Anyway, first of all, a history lesson. 2005 Lions tour, english fans remember? Sir Clive Woodward picked 23 English players during that tour, yet since the 2003 world cup success, how many of those players actually played much test rugby? How many of those players were a shadow of the players from that world cup on the lions tour? Also, only 12 players from the 2005 Wales grand slam team was picked, yet there was no complaints from English fans.

    Fast forward 4 years, we can all acknowledge that England reached the 2007 world cup, but after that there was grand slams for Wales and Ireland and only Wales defeated a southern hemisphere side during the autumn, nearly beat the springboks and was leading the all blacks at half-time. Therefore due to the consistency of the players in both Wales and Ireland, and remember I stress individuals, not the team, that the right choice would be for the starting line-up for the lions to be consisting of Welsh and Irish players. Now the fact that there is a threat that there is a good chance there are to be a less English contingent, there are complaints, yet look at where you was in the IRB world rankings. (Though, Martin Johnson WILL get it right).

    However, Flutey, Mears and Croft in my opinion should be in the lions XV and don't rule out a certain Jonny Wilkinson.

    I also think that due to the close links with McGeechan, Haskell may be a favourite for the no. 6 jersey too.

    Yes, Armitage should have been the full-back for team of the tournarment, but full-back for lions... no chance! Byrne all the way!

    Lions test squad

    15. Byrne
    14. Bowe
    13. O'Driscoll (c)
    12. Flutey
    11. S. Williams
    10. Wilkinson (Bound to pick him)
    9. Phillips (Though you can't forget Blair was up for the World player of the year last year)

    1. Jenkins
    2. Mears
    3. Hayes (Due to physicality of South African scrum)
    4. O'Connell
    5. Wyn Jones
    6. Croft/Haskell (McGeechan does like Haskell)
    7. M. Williams
    8. Heaslip

    16. Flannery
    17. A. Jones
    18. Gough
    19. Croft/Haskell
    20. Blair
    21. S. Jones
    22. Roberts (Versatile)

    I even picked Flutey over Henson so give me some respect! Flutey just offers more at the moment.

  • Comment number 82.

    England2003 - Your name says it all, living in the past.

  • Comment number 83.

    I agree with most of the team, although feel Joe Worsley can feel really hard done by there. Glad to see Thom Evans in there, added something special to the Scotland backline that they've missed for years! Agree Armitage was excellent, one of the finds of the tournament along with Evans. Byrne was solid though, always reliable. People are kicking up a fuss due to the last game being fresh in their minds, where he went off injured.

    As for Player of the Tournament, how can anyone look past BOD? He was awesome, joint top try scorer and 2 of them coming from the back of a ruck showed his commitment, he was awesome!! Stepped up when Ireland needed someone to, Lions captain for me! Would love to see him running lines off Flutey in SA

  • Comment number 84.

    I can't believe nobody has mentioned Luke Fitzgerald yet. 2 tries, outstanding defence, aswell as some try saving tackles.

    A shoe in for the Lions.

  • Comment number 85.

    Why do the Welsh think they "just" missed a Grand Slam? They lost 2 out of 5 and could have lost to England and Italy too!!

    England "just" lost to Ireland but they lost. I think the Welsh need to get over their arrogance.

    Byrne and Philips did not have good tournaments. Armitage had a better tournamount than Byrne. Not sure on scrum half as Blair disappointed too - maybe Ellis or Parra...

  • Comment number 86.

    england 2003, I could have taken you slightly seriously until you mentioned Mike Tindall. Hence with Riki Flutey you are having a laugh, and RF only played one more game (badly I my add) than JR?

    Have to say all this stuff about Shabe Williams is a little one sided to say the least. Surely he had a fantastic tour of SA (wrong footed Habanna a few times) and a good 6 N's last year? yes he was smashed in the last lions but then if you pick a load of has beens (Gareth Thomas being one of them, not just the english contingent) to give him ball on thre back foot, try to find me a wing who won't get smashed. I seem to remember Jason Robinson suffering from this as well.

    I think we all need to get away from this size rubbish in rugby, which is where wales suffered in the past (Leigh Thomas), England (that Volcano fella - total rubbish, (Scotland) numerous players.

    Ronan O'Gara isn't the biggest or hardest but does his job very well as the GS rightly proves.

    Think wider boys and girls....

  • Comment number 87.

    Picking a 'team of the tournament' from this years six nations is very difficult.

    There were only a handful of players who actually played well for the whole tournament - Alun Wyn Jones, Joe Worsley, Thom Evans, Brian O'Driscoll, Imanol Harinordoquy and Sergio Parrise.

    Some other players had a couple of good games but flattered to deceive in others.

    I do like the histeria that surrounds Lee Byrne - The guy is a good player but he certainly didn't ever merit some of the superlatives being thrown at him, nor does he merit some of the negitive comments he gets now!

  • Comment number 88.

    my opinion is the team should be.

    15. Delon Armitage
    14. Mark Cueto
    13. Tom Shanklin
    12. Riki Fluety
    11. Tommy Bowe
    10. Flood/O'Gara/Jones - No stand out candidate for Fly Half.
    9. O'Leary/Ellis

    1. John Hayes
    2. Dimitri Szarzewski
    3. Gethin Jenkins
    4. Alun Wyn Jones
    5. Paul O'Connell
    6. Jamie Heaslip
    7. Joe Worsley
    8. Sergio Parisse

  • Comment number 89.

    At the end of the day there are too many people on here who obviously know very little about the game of rugby union. Too many patriotic views from people who believe a player from their nation should be picked because he scored a couple of tries or made a bunch of tackles.
    First up - Joe Worseley - Wrongfully given man of the match against Wales, Gethin Jenkins by a country mile; not only did Jenkins make 16 tackles, he carried up, was often one of the first to the breakdown and won turnovers. Joe Worseley was asked to mark Jamie Roberts and he did that very well but what else did he do.
    Delon Armitage is a good player but overrated and not as good as Lee Byrne (he was greatly missed when he went off against Ireland), whether he or Kearney played better than Byrne this tournament is up for debate, but not as black and white as some clowns predict on here.
    I am Welsh and Mike Phillips at scrum half is a shocking decision with probably Parra or Ellis being the correct choice.
    David Wallace at 7 is a close call but probably the correct decision.
    People questioning Bowe's inclusion clearly haven't got a clue, vital interception try against Italy, try saving tackle on Thom Evans against Scotland, try saving tackle on matthew tait against England and his cracking try against Wales, which actually showed he is quicker than Shane in a sprint, were a few highlights of his excellent championship. (Cueto and Medard also played well).
    Thom Evans is another debatable choice with maybe Shane Williams or Luke Fitzgerald getting the nod, probably would have chosen Fitzgerald myself.
    Other than that, i think Bryn got it spot on.

  • Comment number 90.

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that Worsley was joint top tackler in the six nations despite not playing in the first match (i.e. he was easily top tackler in the six nations per minute - he also missed time against france). Just thought i should mention it as people seem to think Alun Wyn Jones had the same six nations as worsley in terms of tackling, when actually he was nowhere near. If worsley had played similar minutes as Jones he would have been up at around 70 (assuming similar tackles per minute for rest of matches).

  • Comment number 91.

    Comment 76.

    Do you not remember a mere year ago when Shane Williams tore up SA in SA? Short memory indeed!

    And at the 2003 World Cup against New Zealand as well, he has more than proved himself on the world stage! He didn't however have the best tournament, but none the less is still a world class player

  • Comment number 92.

    Re: post 76 - did you see his tries against SA last summer on South African soil? may go some way to answering your questions there

  • Comment number 93.

    Been said already but i will say it again anyway.

    Far too many Welsh names on that list. The reason i say this is that i still believe Wales to be the best team so therefore they must have played poorly to have finished fourth.

    15 Yes Byrne is probably the best full back in the 6 nations did he play the best this tournament .... no. That award goes to Armitage great tournament Kearny is second would have been first but had a pretty poor showing against Wales

    10 Stephen Jones as the 10 of the tournament no way. I will grant you however that this is a hard decision as no one stood out. However you have to give it to O'Gara as his kicking game was fantastic (maybe not so much his place kicking) and he showed the resolve he has often lacked to knock over the grand slam winning drop kick

    I would agree with G Jenkins and AW Jones. Phillips on the other hand may have been 9 of the tournament but that is up to much debate

    I would also like to add that just because Thom Evans looked better than the rest of Scotland that doesnt make him the choice winger of the tournament Heymans Monye Halfpenny all looked more threatening

  • Comment number 94.

    In response to England 2003 - comment 76.

    Yes the Dragons do not contribute as much as the other regions but to say they do not contribute at all is incorrect, as Rhys Thomas and Luke Chateris were in the Six nations Squad and ply their trade at the Dragons. Also, Jason Tovey is the star player of the under 20's and the dragons provided at least 8 players in the under 20's squads.
    Also it great to see Bristol, Worcester, Saracens, & Northampton providing lots of current England internationals!! Foden and Hartley........
    My region is not the Dragons by the way. And your comments about Shane Williams just show you up as an idiot.

  • Comment number 95.

    In reply to whatrugby & Lions foot soldier

    As for lions 9 & 10

    I don’t think the lions will be weak at 9 & 10 we do have options

    I think 9 is not so much off a issue as mobrien3383 was saying in comment

    All players have their faults at 10 but not a big issue
    Jones not exciting
    ROG to weak in the tackle
    Hook has no game control
    Cip’s not playing internationally
    As for Johnny Wilkinson yes the man is a legend (coming from a Welshman) but he is too much of a risk at the moment with injuries and lack of game time.

    As for that starting 9 & 10 I would love to see Peel And Wilko but its not going to happen both have to comeback massively for injury set backs and lack of game time.
    I can see it being Philips and ROG. The lions will have to live with slow ball from Phillips like Wales do, and have to get 7 and 12 to babysit ROG like Ireland do and both these teams have won grand slams by doing this. So I can’s see how 9 & 10 is really that weak for the lions.

    As for England 2003 comments about Shane Williams being eaten for breakfast by southern hemisphere teams. some how I don’t think so he left 4 south African in his wake to score a try when Wales played them. check it out on youtube if you have not seen it.

  • Comment number 96.

    OK I am Welsh and England2003 I am going to be realistic here, the Welsh do not think they are the best in the world, the reason you finished 2nd because you played against a France team that did not show up and massed points on them. And to be fair to England, they improved so much as the tournament went on. Hopefully next years tournament will be better? Shane is player of the year because he had a magnificent 2008. I think the reason there are 5 Welsh players in this team is the fact that only 5 of them played well. The other 10 did not! Ireland deserved to win the tournament because they were the best team. I more or less agree with the 15 but I think Euan Murray would have been in had he played more games. And I think Jamie Heaslip deserves to be in at number 8. And Ronan O Gara would edge out Jones, along with Kearney edging Byrne. So yeah, thats down to 3 Welsh players, is that few enough players to stop you complaining England fans?

  • Comment number 97.

    I am English through and through, yet there are obvious shoe-ins for the lions and in this selection at 1,5,13,15 and both David Wallace and Martyn Williams must be on that plane (sorry Joe).
    In most cases I agree with the selections, however I really dissagree mainly 9 & 10 where Mike Phillips was poor especially in delivery from the base, and Stephen Jones was at best mediochre. Who was better? Well Toby Food for a start, even though I don't think he will end up being the Lions 10.
    As for scrum half, Tomas O'Leary although the lions really need quick, quality delivery is key - Dwayne Peel (yes I know another Welshman) but not Phillips.
    I also question two other selections, but you could argue in either case that the positives outway the negatives but..... Firstly where was Dusautoir against England (and to an extent agaist Ireland), and secondly Alan WJ was excelent in the loose, (like Joe W), but his weakness in the lineout (Look what Ireland did to them in the crunch game) has to be a huge concern for the Lions against the South Africans.
    As a former prop John Hayes was a rock, but I think that he may lose out to Murray as a better all round performer.
    I agree that Szarzewski was the standout hooker of the tournament, but Lee Mears a close second and the accuracy of the throws mut get him a ticket to SA.
    Finally one non-appearer in this blog anywhere who must be on the plane is M. Tait, just because England can't work out where/how to play him doesn't mean The Lions can't ....

  • Comment number 98.

    I would have to agree with the vast majority of these picks. it is such a shame that people have to let their prejudices get in the way.

    Mike Phillips was almost certainly the best scrumhalf of the tournament. Ellis is the slowest to recycle the ball, thus leading to more pressure on the forwards. Never mind his own indiscipline. Are people forgetting that England were on the verge of destruction only 4 weeks ago??
    Armitage is a fantastic prospect, but he is not at all in the same league as Kearney or Byrne, yet. My choice would also be Byrne at 15, but if Kearney tours with the Lions, one couldn't argue.

    I would also agree that this 6 nations was fantastically enjoyable, but the Boks will be licking their lips at the thought of the upcoming series. Lets just hope that putting on the Red jersey inspires these guys to do the impossible. 2-1 Springboks I think (that is being optimistic).

    Phillips is certain of a Lions spot at number 9 due to his size and strength advantage over Ellis. Ellis will be destroyed by the Bok forwards at the breakdown.

    Congratulations to all the Irish out there. Great result!

  • Comment number 99.

    The fact that Wales came fourth is not an indication of the calibre of players they have in the team. A lions team with Lee Burne in it will be an exciting prospect indeed. Pure class!

    Wales were well placed to win the Championship on Saturday (can any other team say that? Obviously not!!!

    I think Bryn's got it dead on with well thought out argument for chosing his team.

    Regards
    Bryn (Yes another one!!!)

  • Comment number 100.


    in reply to Uninventivename

    Wales were fixtured as the last game of the tournament due to the little fact of being defending champions.

    As for Wales had an easier schedule than England. I would have loved to see England start there tournament with a trip the Murrayfield. A Friday night in Paris midway through. And a trip to Rome. Then play an Irish team fired up for the possibility of their first grand slam in 60 years. I think starting against a scrum half less Italy to start, one good win at home to France and playing a deflated Scotland to finish has gone to a few English men’s heads.

 

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