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Six Nations Team of the Tournament

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Bryn Palmer | 22:27 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

With another Six Nations done and dusted, it's time for you to select your team of the tournament.

After France wrapped up their third Grand Slam, and fifth title, in nine years, mine is unsurprisingly dominated by Frenchmen, with 10 of them making it into my XV, plus two Irishmen, two Scots, a lone Welshman and not a single Englishman.

I dare say a few of you will have something to say about that. So let's hear from you.

Full-back: Clement Poitrenaud (France) Quite a comeback to Test rugby for a man who has made a few high-profile faux pas in his career. A rock at the back for the champions, his running from deep was a delight and a potent weapon. Lee Byrne, Rob Kearney and Delon Armitage all slipped from last year's peaks, but Ben Foden offered England a glimpse of what might have been, and what could be.

Right wing: Tommy Bowe (Ireland) Along with Paul O'Connell and Thierry Dusautoir, the only player to make it into this side two years in a row. With two tries against England and another score against Scotland, the Monaghan man cemented his progress from last year's Lions tour as a world-class player and the best finisher in Europe. Honourable mention for diminutive Frenchman Marc Andreu.

Outside centre: Mathieu Bastareaud (France) Wales' James Hook blossomed as a Test player in this Championship, supplying three tries and a constant source of creative inspiration and but for the odd missed tackle and botched try, he might have snuck in. Despite a mixed outing against England, the giant Bastareaud was a major influence for the champions, even outshining Brian O'Driscoll against Ireland.

Inside centre: Yannick Jauzion (France) Alongside Bastareaud, the rock on which France's formidable defence was built. The celebrated centre may not have the pace of old, but was still an influential presence between the young guns around him. Finished a dazzling try against Italy and held things together when the going got tough against England. Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy also returned to form.

Left wing: Shane Williams (Wales) Very close call this one, with Keith Earls confirming the promise of his debut season with three tries, announcing his arrival as a genuine Test player and O'Driscoll's likely long-term successor. But Shane just edges it, for inspiring and capping the most memorable 10 minutes of the Championship against Scotland, his individual try against France, and his genius.

Fly-half: Dan Parks (Scotland) Francois Trinh-Duc may have the better all-round game and played a fine hand behind a powerful pack, but Parks, left out of Scotland's opening match, arguably had the greatest individual impact on any team. Won three man-of-the-match awards, two in losing causes against Wales and Italy, before ensuring the champagne tasted sweet with a superb late kick in Dublin.

Dan Parks kicks a penalty for ScotlandDan Parks enjoyed an excellent Six Nations campaign for Scotland - photo: Getty

Scrum-half: Morgan Parra (France) A mixed bag from France's petit general against England, but over their previous four matches showed maturity way beyond his 21 years to dictate tactics, marshall forwards and backs and land 79% of his kicks at goal. Ireland's Tomas O'Leary also had his moments, while Pablo Canavosio provided Italy's highlight with the match-winning try against Scotland.

Loose-head prop: Thomas Domingo (France) Fabien Barcella was the talk of the French front row in the autumn, but in his absence, the squat Domingo provided ample evidence the Tricolores have two loose-head operators of real class. Gave England's Dan Cole a harsh lesson in Paris, and caused every opponent trouble. Gethin Jenkins' display against Italy merely reminded Wales what they were missing.

Hooker: William Servat (France) The 32-year-old was another French veteran to enjoy a superb renaissance after a period on the fringes, one of the champions' key leaders and a central cog in their formidable scrummaging unit. No real rivals apart from his own back-up Dimitri Szarzewski, although Ross Ford must take some credit for Scotland's record of only losing three of their 53 line-outs.

Tight-head prop: Nicolas Mas (France) The Basque prop has not always been a first choice over his seven-year Test career, but was another who excelled at the coal-face from the opening round against Scotland, providing the platform for others to exploit. Honourable mention to Dan Cole, who despite his Paris travails has established himself after just five caps, and John Hayes, just for reaching his century.

Lock: Lionel Nallet (France) Marc Lievremont's initial choice of captain never seemed a second row to unduly concern the opposition, but his scrummaging power and close-quarter grafting were a vital component of the French pack. New Wales tyro Bradley Davies showed immense promise with two big displays against France and Ireland, and Jim Hamilton also excelled for Scotland.

Lock: Paul O'Connell (Ireland) Still the most dominant and consistent lock in Europe, his line-out prowess and ability to steal opposition throws remains unmatched. Always near the top of the tackling and ball-carrying stats and in the thick of the rucks and mauls. Honourable mentions to France new-boy Julien Pierre, Scotland's Alastair Kellock and Welsh giant Luke Charteris.

Blind-side flanker: Thierry Dusautoir (France) One of the most keenly contested positions, where the ferociously committed Stephen Ferris might have deprived France's Grand Slam captain of the number six jersey but for an under-par outing in the final round against Scotland. Scotland's Kelly Brown was also part of a tremendous back row unit, but Dusautoir edges it for his under-stated leadership.

Open-side flanker: John Barclay (Scotland) One of Scotland's three back-row "Killer Bs" who excelled in the scavenging role of a true open-side but also showed impressive touches linking up play in attack. Could develop into a Test Lion by the time of the next tour in 2013. David Wallace also enjoyed a decent Championship for Ireland, while Sam Warburton showed promise for Wales.

Number eight: Imanol Harinordoquy (France) The athletic Basque has all the skills and, restored to his optimum position, was able to use his power to great effect to launch French attacks and make huge inroads into opposition defences. Jamie Heaslip provided further evidence of his emergence as a world-class forward while Scotland's Johnnie Beattie is another diamond ready for polishing.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Fair enough. As an Englishman it hurts, but the truth does, sometimes. I think the only England player with a sniff would be Cueto - and a wing without a try at that! It may well have been different had Johnson used Foden and Ashton earlier, but England is a pretty ordinary team with some key structural weaknesses (front five, half-backs) and you could argue they were lucky to draw with Scotland and beat Wales (no doubt the Celtic fringe will do just that!).

    Only France truly impressed at times - the rest have a long way to go if they want to seriously compete for a semi-final place in the World Cup. Wales were predictably brittle but Ireland were a real disappointment and should have run France much closer than they did. Should be an interesting summer to see who if anyone emerges stronger for the autumn!

  • Comment number 2.

    Agree with everything apart from shane williams v Keith Earls. Earlswas the most exciting winger of the tournament above tommy bowe and marc andreu. SW got a few tries late in games but never really set the tournament alight.

    Also don't think ferris was close to dussautoir in this tournament. Dussautoir does all the ugly work in and around the ruck for france and is their best tackler. He is also turning into a very good captain. Like Richard Hill the most spectacular things he does are never seen.

  • Comment number 3.

    Agree with pretty much that team, however Bastareud was so quiet after the second game i'd have Hook in there despite the missed tackles.

    Parra seemed to again get worse asthe games went on, silly sin bin against Wales, O'Leary was solid, and fantastic against Wales.

    Second row should be Davies and Kellock, as you said Scotland lost just 3 of 53 lineouts, Kellock made the Irish lineout look average.

    Finally Dusatoir was good, but was nowhere near as good as Ferris for the first 4 games, Beattie was also excellent.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am a big John Beattie fan and would have no problem in playing the entire Jockenese back row .

    I would also like to see Hook at centre . Always looked dangerous .

    I am an England fan and I have been thinking long and hard as to who could play in this team from England . Foden or Cueto possibly but that is it .

  • Comment number 5.

    Suprised Alessandro Zanni didn't get a mention. He was core to some of the better things Italy did this championship. I'm not saying he'd make the cut in the team of the tournament, but he certainly played well in each of Italy's games.

    Not sure I agree with Shane Williams selection, but then what Englishman would ay?

  • Comment number 6.

    He is also turning into a very good captain. Like Richard Hill the most spectacular things he does are never seen.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    very well put. he is a calming yet ferocious presence on the pitch.

    delighted withgrand slam. real test will be the tour of australia and argentina later in the year. And then if we win another grand slam then we are ready for WC. Bare in mind we would have to play Ireland and the Rosbiffs away!

  • Comment number 7.

    Good selection Bryn (never thought I'd hear myself say that).

    I agree that Williams should have gone in ahead of Earls, if only for his finish late on against France. That try was magic.

  • Comment number 8.

    Paul O'Connell - "Still the most dominant and consistent lock in Europe, his line-out prowess and ability to steal opposition throws remains unmatched."............... Until he played Scotland eh? Maybe you never watched that game though....

    This is easy:-

    1. Scottish Pack
    2. French Backs






  • Comment number 9.

    Can't find anything to argue with in your selection Bryn. The choice of Parks at 10 will prove controversial to some but it would be hard to make a case for anyone else.

    It may be just because I'm English, but I have found this tournament one of the most disappointing for a number of years. The standard has been fairly poor across the board: France played well but were made to look like world-beaters by the rest of us, Ireland failed to play near their potential, Wales proved they can be a good side against tired legs (something we already knew) but little more than that, Italy stuck to the same template that they have used since joining the 6N and Scotland... well, maybe Scotland were the sole cause for optimism. They suggested that they may finally be stepping out of the doldrums of the last few years. Their back-row was great to watch, they appear to have the right coach in place and I expect them to be mentally much better prepared when Robinson comes to his 2nd 6N in the hotseat. If theey could unearth just a couple of players with genuine pace then their position in the table may be reversed next year.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hard to argue against many of the French forward choices, even as a Scotland supporter. Would possibly have Al Kellock in front of POC given the state of the Irish lineouts at the weekend. But lots of mentions in dispatches for the Scottish pack so quite happy with that.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, no agruments about the team, spot on.

    But it does go to show what a mixed bag this 6 nations has been - mixed bag being a euphemism for poor quality of play. Exciting, tense, nail-biting yes, but good quality, no.

    The fact that the likes of Dan Parks (goodish solid player, no spark, no pace) and Mathieu Bastareaud (good prospect but also a liability at times, in both handling and defence) effectively represent the "cream" of the northern hemisphere will not have the SH teams quaking in their boots.

  • Comment number 12.

    Can't really disagree with any of those choices. Think the home nations have a lot of work to do before the next world cup rolls along. All in all a fairly bizarre 6 nations. If they were a little better at closing games Scotland could have actually finished second and had a Triple Crown instead of narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon, Wales (except spectacularly against Scotland) paid the price for their poor starts in their games but showed great fight at the end of those games, England have the personnel but not the tactics and their lack of adventure more than anything else really cost them. Ireland look good here and there but hope they have some more players coming through after their legendary old guard retire post 2011.

    As a Scot I thought the 3 B's in the back row showed real promise and the lineout was great. Think they need more guile in the backline outside number 10 but definitely improving.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ya that seems about right. Although after the Ireland game I really don't think Basteraud did all that much. Nothing against england or wales and was on the bench for the italy game. I suppose the only thing is no-one really stood out in this position. Hook probably made the most contributions but some of the 'contributions' were mistakes. But he does seem to be improving at test level.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'd hardly say Wales were "brittle". Wales suffered from injuries in multiple key positions. This was highlighted when Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Mike Phillips returned from injuries they picked up in the Lions tour. Still a few positives from this year were some of the youngsters (like Richie Rees) given some well deserved time.

    Anyway, I'd have to agree with the above team Bryn. Some wise choices there. I think it just illustrates how poor England have been that there are not even considerations for an English player. Johnson needs to go now so as a replacement coach has time to prepare for the World Cup. He was a great player (as much as it pains a Welshman to admit) but he doesn't have the experience as a manager. Being a forward he is perfectly illustrating his lack of knowledge in backs-play as they are never used, and with great runners the opposition can only be thankful :)

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Morgan Parra's selection is generous. He was frustrated by Richie Rees (and what Phillips offered on Sat. demonstrated that whilst Rees is good, he's short of being world class) he picked up a yellow against Wales, which I attributed to that frustration and to me he looked to be the weak link in the French team. At most the best of a bad bunch in the absence of Phillips.

  • Comment number 16.

    Reina saves the day

    Ferris was up there but Dusatoir was deserving of the spot. Neither missed a tackle till that last game when Ferris missed 2 and Dusatoir 1. Kelly Brown was also excellent. Wouldnt argue with that team at all Bryn. Earls maybe should shift Williams and Kellock or ANother lock instead of O'Connell who was mediocre by his (admittedly high) standards

  • Comment number 17.

    It is very hard to argue for any English presence in the best xv but surely that makes Martin Johnson and his coaches the coaching team of the tournament. With the worst team they came within 9 points of a Grand Slam and outplayed the French.

    The Scots were the best team to watch with their brilliant rampaging back row. Hook was the best centre, much better then the bulldozing Bastareaud who was a liability in defence and looked very ordinary against Tindall. I can't agree that O'Connell is still the best lock, but not much else to disagree with in Bryns selection.

    The Italian NO 8 - Zanni -deserves a mention, With
    Zanni and Parisse in the same backrow Italy would be even tougher to beat.

  • Comment number 18.

    Paul O'Connell's inclusion is very generous of you Bryn, and this is coming from an Irishman. Hard to argue with any selections aside from that, aside from Bastareaud. BOD is still the best 13 in the NH, he had poor tournament by his standards though...

  • Comment number 19.

    Shane Williams is massively, massively over-rated. Yes he's exciting and dangerous, but those moments occur less and less frequently.

    Earls was head and shoulders above him (literally and figuratively).

    I'm as avid an Englishman as there is and you can't argue that none deserve a place. Too many had single good games (Haskell against Wales, Tindall against France, Borthwick against Italy) but none showed any consistency (in a positive way).

    Bastareaud proved in the last game that he is nothing by the way. He needs to lose some serious weight to become a world class centre.

  • Comment number 20.

    Keith Earls played at centre for a large of the championship and I would have had him in for Yannick Juazion - and kept Williams in the team.

    It does hurt, being English and not having a single player standout but I have to agree - no one deserved to be in this team - perhaps because they were all consistent 6/10's for most of the matches...

    I also think only having 1 of Scotlands back row is pretty harsh! Imanol proved he was know Larry Ordinary (as Austin Health once referred to him) but I would have had Brown in instead of Dussatoir.

  • Comment number 21.

    Can't see how shane williams got in!! If so there's an arguement for cueto!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Ross Ford and Al Kellock may take the place of Servat and O'Connell. Kellock if only for his "comedy" moment of getting up from recieving physio attention to take the high ball and run straight back into action. Ford has hopefully shed his reputation as a poor thrower now.

    The French props were incredible all the tournament - their work rate was something to behold. Only G Jenkins could match (and maybe bet), but can hardly be selected due to minimal game time.

    I agree that no Englishmen would make their way into the team - their best performers (Foden, Flood and Ashton) came in to late to make any impact in 6N. More game time for them and it could have been a different story.

  • Comment number 23.

    8 'easy-scottish pack, french backs'

    agreed apart from i would have the french front row.
    6, 7 and 8 looked very good for scotland

  • Comment number 24.

    my team of the tournament:
    1. Thomas Domingo
    2. William Servat
    3. Adam Rhys Jones
    4. Lionel Nallet
    5. Paul O'connell
    6. Thierry Disautior
    7. David Wallace
    8. Imonal Harinourdiquay
    9. Morgan Parra
    10. Stephen Jones
    11. Shane Williams
    12. Yannick Jauzion
    13. James Hook
    14. Tommy Bowe
    15. Clemont Pointrinaud



  • Comment number 25.

    I would have to agree with this team selection, though as an English fan its hard to admit. England have just not shown any cutting edge, bar the single Ben Foden try in the France game. It just goes to show what a good pack they had in the early 2000's.
    I also think that had Johnsons selection been a bit more effective, (e.g. Armitage should have been gone after the Italy game. Why he gave him two more chances I will never know) then maybe you would have seen more players from England in the tournament XV, although of ocurse this is wishful thinking now.
    I agree that some of Wales' lack of form is down to the loss of some very good players, but it also shows a lack of ambition and belief, which only appears when the chips are down. If they started well, then they could have had a sniff at the championship. I don't think they can complain to much about the injuries though, as England were also missing four of their Lions, vickery (would have been handy in the struggling scrum) Sheridan (Likewise), Croft (was a diamond in the Lions tour) and Ellis (who I think is much more solid and decisive then Care, if a little less dangerous round the fringes)
    All in all, a bit of flump of a championship. Basically, who could have played the worse. Personally, think Scotland on form should have een third above England and Wales.

  • Comment number 26.

    The tricky thing about picking this team is trying to judge players across the whole tournament, rather than on the basis of one or two matches.

    Re: 3) Chris_501 - Agree, Hook was excellent, and was tempted to put him at 12 just to get him in the team, even though he didn't play there as such. But I think Bastareaud was more influential in the overall outcome. Likewise some were calling for O'Leary to be dropped after a poor game when Ireland lost in Paris (not me, I hasten to add) but he proved his quality over the last three games. In the same way, Davies only came into the Wales team against France and did superbly against them and Ireland, before having to come off early against Italy. Whereas Nallet started all 5 games.

    Re: No 8) Redbud - It was certainly a surprise to see Ireland lose 7 line-outs against Scotland - when did they last do that against anyone? Kellock deserves a lot of credit for that, but again, across the 5 games and for what he brings elsewhere, I'd go with O'Connell. Do you think Kellock could be good enough to make the next Lions tour?

    Re: No5 P4LULELUJAH - Agree, remiss of me not to give Zanni a mention. Did a first-class job of replacing the guy who usually gets the number eight spot in this team.

  • Comment number 27.

    Can't really argue with the selections Bryn. The French have strength in depth and look like the only northern hemisphere team with a chance of a semi final place at the world cup. That said, they almost managed to psyche themselves out of this year's championship against a mediocre England side. And there lies the rub - a bit like the olden days when teams would just land a few early punches and watch the French self destruct. As for the other teams, Ireland's front five aren't getting any younger and there don't appear to be any immediate candidates to replace them; England under MJ seem clueless; Wales are capable of brilliance but just don't seem able to string together a run of consistent performances; and finally Scotland who under Andy Robinson just maybe could do something but it's too early to tell.

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree for the most part in the selection Bryn but i think that Hook was far better than Mathieu Bastareaud. Bastareaud is a very big man who is hard to stop but he doesnt bring much else to the game. His handling skills leave alot to be desired also.

    I would also have Jones ahead of Parks but only slightly.

    I also feel that Alastair Kellock was better than POC, and thats saying something as an Irishman :-).

  • Comment number 29.

    Wouldn't quibble too much with this selection- though I'm still a bit mind-boggled at Dan parks, who has driven a whole generation of Scotland supporters to distraction in the past, getting into the team of the tournament! I don't think you'd want to play him and Bastareaud in the same starting line up in real life, though- you'd have a rather shaky defence. Personally I'd have Kellock ahead of Nallet but perhaps that's Scottish bias. My own version of this side also had Trinh-Duc at 10 but was otherwise the same.

    One can correct some of the apparent injustices with the subs

    Mine would be

    16 Ford (at least looking the part)
    17 Cole (I know that's a bold call after Saturday but he had good games in the other matches and propped OK when he came back on for Payne late rin the second half- I wonder how far Lawrence was being conned in the scrums....)
    18 Nallet (for the reasons given above)
    19 Beattie (would probably have got the starting No 8 but for Harinordoquy's consistency)
    20 O'Leary (reasons set out above)
    21 Hook (covers centre and even outside half positions)
    22 Earls (covers the rest of the backs- and centres too)

    If Foden had made the Emgland standing line up a bit more often he might well have got in somewhere- ditto for Philips for Wales.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think there is room for Euan Murray in the front row and yes I am a Scot!!). Admittedly he doesn't always quite play 100% but when he does, there are very few who can outscrummage him. It's difficult to decide on the forwards, as a unit Scotland were very very good (by the end of the championship at least). Individually there are perhaps fewer that you would choose for a "dream team".

    Parks is a fair choice at 10, though based on the Italy game I reckon Stephen Jones made a good case for himself. Also a 100% kicking record I think?

    Parra is good, for me O'Leary was also very lively, especially in the Welsh match. Quite a tight call I would say.

    As said, if England were to have a player in there, Cueto or Foden are perhaps the closest. Just a shift in form between the nations I guess.

  • Comment number 31.

    Have to say think there could have been 3 or 4 players from the Scottish pack in there. The fact that Scotland were very close to winning 4 out of their 5 games with the worse backline in the tournament speaks volumes. France had by far the toughest game up front against Scotland. Don't get me wrong the French pack are excellent but it was easy for them as they had a backline that constantly got over the gainline. This provided so much forward momentum for them. Scotland on the other hand had a pack of forwards that could dominate games on the backfoot. The comment of Scottish pack with French backline is not far off.

  • Comment number 32.

    Amazing how a dozen mistakes by Shane Williams every match can be ignored because of one wonder-try.

    Earls or Cueto were the better wingers.

    Bastareaud is an over-rated lump who any half intelligent centre can run rings around, like England showed in Paris.

    A fly half who kicks well out of hand, without offering ANYTHING else and who presided over a team that won 1 game all competition, instead of Trinh-duc? Please. No wonder the Scots can't score tries with Parks or Godman at 10.

  • Comment number 33.

    I agree with Steve's comments on Bastareaud, a good first half against Scotland and not a lot since and I would prefer Stephen Jones at outside half.

  • Comment number 34.

    As aproud englishman it hurt me in admitting that i would'nt have put a single english player on the list some say Cueto yet he did'nt even score a try and lacks real pace.I would have put Ferris in instead i thought he was fantastic against both england and Ireland, He was strong in the tackle strong in close quarter play and carries the ball direct and with pace and power as for Dan Parks SN i did'nt see that comeing finally scotland have a number 10 they can trust.No mention of Darcy though i thought he would be in with a shout.

  • Comment number 35.

    No Cuteo?

  • Comment number 36.

    1.Thomas Domingo
    2.William Servat
    3.Nicolas Mas
    4.Paul O'Connell
    5.Jim Hamilton
    6.Thierry Dusautoir
    7.David Wallace
    8.Johnnie Beattie
    9.Morgan Parra
    10.Dan Parks
    11.Marc Andreu
    12.Gonzalo Garcia
    13.Mathieu Bastareuad
    14.Keith Earls
    15.Clement Poitrenaud

  • Comment number 37.

    Parks? No way. Being the best player in a bad back division will make you stand out but Trinh-Duc, O'Gara, Sexton, Wilkinson and Jones are far superior.

    Shane Williams... Bryn you've got to have some welsh in you. Great player, very average tournament.

  • Comment number 38.

    i cant say i agree with this selection such as Mathieu Bastareaud did no one see his game against england very poor hes big but ver little else and for the comment about Dan cole very harsh Domingo boor in every time how the ref missed i would like to now. i would also question where is castrogiavanni? and the centres both are big Jauzion had little bits of cleverness but i must say for who he is a very poor 6 nations for him. and williams on the wing? im sorry but why poor earls ant day played far better and is a better kicker as well.my 15 would be 15, Clement Poitrenaud 14, tommy bowe 13 BOD 12 garcia 11 earls 10 tran duc 9 parra 1 castro 2 servat 3 mas 4 shaw 5 not sure very poor performaces all round 6 barclay 7 moody (C) 8 Harinordoquy
    whats with parks???

  • Comment number 39.

    Agree with the team mainly although believe earls did deserve to be in ahead of Williams despite a bit of a shocker in Paris. I feel 6 was the most contestable position other than this. Dusatoir did deserve the jersey but feel ferris had another excellent championship. I do wish Ireland would give him a bit more ball in hand as I think he would be incredibly devastating as his immense power alongside the pace he showed inthe summer for the lions would make him very difficult to contain. His work at ruck time is far superior to all other Irish forwards in clearing out bar oconnell. So I believe he will grow into one of irelands most important players in the next few years if he wa just used right.

    Also I believe Euan Murray will cause serious havoc for the next few years as he really has made a difference to a Scottish pack man handled against the French. it's a pity he get to have a go at the French. Also agree that johnny beatie really announced himself at international level and looks to be a player of high quality.

  • Comment number 40.

    Bryn,

    I'd agree with almost all of the choices, but would go for Trinh-Duc at 10, and Kellock instead of POC.

    If the selection of POC is based on the whole tournament, then he is still behind Kellock. The lineout stats show this, even before Saturday's game and, as we know, head to head Kellock blew him away.

    And yes, Kellock should make a Lions tour on current form. He also played well in the AIs, and has been superb for Glasgow.

  • Comment number 41.

    I wouldn't put Shane Williams near the first XV. Keith Earls was way ahead of him for a start.
    O'Connell just wasn't as good as Kellock. It's nonsense to argue against the inclusion of Scots on the basis of their results, because we all know that their performances merited better results. I think the stats for the Scottish line-out speak for themselves over the whole tournament.
    Dan Parks would have been my choice for fly-half too - his kicking wasn't just the 'lash it away up field and hope it turns out well', it was measured, well-timed and was mixed up with some excellent running rugby. I don't really understand what tournament Steve watched when he says that Parks offers nothing else but kicking - makes you wonder how the Scottish backs saw more ball this tournament than they've probably seen in the previous three combined. Just because kicking is his particular strength, it doesn't mean it's all he did.
    James Hook definitely deserves a spot, and I agree that Bastareaud would have to make way. He looked impressive at times, but Hook was better all round, and the missed tackles were somewhat out of character, whereas Bastareaud's ineptitude in defence is unlikely to change any time soon.
    I would really like to find a spot for Johnnie Beattie and especially John Barclay - Harinordoquy was impressive, but his life was made easier by the team around him. It would be a toss-up between those two, but Barclay would get in.
    I would also struggle to leave out the two Scottish props, especially Alan Jacobsen. He really did do a lot of the hard, ugly ball-carrying work and I thought he was superb. He would at least make the fringes.
    There are a lot of Scots in there for me, but that's because I genuinely believe they played well enough to come at least third, maybe even second in the tournament. They just lacked the ability to play until the final whistle.

  • Comment number 42.

    pd122125, Scotland a worse backline than Italy? Even on end results this tournament?

  • Comment number 43.

    Paul O'Connell - "Still the most dominant and consistent lock in Europe, his line-out prowess and ability to steal opposition throws remains unmatched."............... Until he played Scotland eh? Maybe you never watched that game though....
    ------
    I don't think the Irish lineout's failure against Scotland was O'Connell's fault - Best had a shocker and Scotland were, obviously, excellent.

  • Comment number 44.

    The worst thing for me is i read through the team and thought, 'cant be having bowe in the team this time, or basteraud, williams' problem being i couldnt think of anyone to put in their place. By default i agree with Bryn, although as an Englishmen I have to say through gritted teeth that the Scots look like they are improving, I just hope it doesnt last!

  • Comment number 45.

    cyberryan87, Euan Murray?

    The most over-rated prop in world rugby, living off one good performance against South Africa a couple of years ago. And he vanishes from the pitch when it's not time for a scrum.

  • Comment number 46.

    Pretty good selection. Williams on the wing is a little controversial, his tries this tournament were less influential than in past seasons but as a Scotland fan its hard not to admire someone who just finishes and scores tries so regularly.

    Parks deserves his place, he may have been inconsistent in the past but he's been a top stand-off in the Magners for years. Godman is consistent but consistently rubbish and Paterson has never been a stand-off of international class. Parks when he plays at his best is several steps above any of his Scots rivals and this year he finally showed that he can bringing his Glasgow form to a Scotland shirt. WIth Scotland's pack continuing to do well and Parks controlling an improving back line Scotland might actually win a few games. They just need a mental improvement now. Those last 10 minutes against Wales cost us 2nd place in the tournament - win in Cardiff like we should have and we would of had the confidence to stroll past a poor Italy and England team. The lads showed how good they can be in Dublin. Not the most polished team around but Scotland do have fight and their experienced manager is improving the team unlike the grumpy looking bloke with no experience running/ruining the England team.

  • Comment number 47.

    Bryn explained why he didn't pick Earls on the wing. It's because he played most of the championship in the centre!

    Additionally those English fans calling for Cueto to be put into the team are overlooking the fact that he didn't score a try all six nations.....isn't that what wingers are there for!

    Shane Williams scored three tries and was joint top scorer in the six nations, what an awful tournament he had.....

  • Comment number 48.

    The only quibble I have is that I'm not convinced by Bastareaud - for a sportsman of his age he doesn't seem to be very fit and he's either naive or thick - his positioning in defence is poor; now that the other teams have worked him out I think his second season will be miserable, and brief.

  • Comment number 49.

    Contrary to allot of opinion on here Shane Williams had a very good tournament scoring tries and making tries for others,shame some peoples bias stops them seeing past their nose where he is concerned,scored the winning try against Scotland and made the scoring pass in another try, also had a hand in another,was superb against Italy and scored a try against them,and ofcourse there was that try against France,"sublime",no other winger mentioned would have got over there,nailed on in your team Bryn with out a doubt.Can't really argue with your team though i would go with Steven Jones at 10 and James Hook in the center instead of Bastareaud.

  • Comment number 50.

    Bryn, Byrne last year, Wliliams this year?

    Shane Williams must have the highest error rate of any of the Wales players. He makes mistake after mistake, some of them resulting in 7 points for the opposition. He's lightweight in defense, regularly getting smashed back or turned over and very often crabs across the field, flinging a wild pass away putting his team mates under pressure. He's had a very average season, and a couple of good tries can't hide this fact.

    Cueto may not have scored any tries, but he's on better form by far.

    Anyone suggesting Euan Murray deserves to be in the team of the tournament needs to open both eyes and think again. The most over-rated prop since Sheridan back in 2006.

    And all those saying Scotland could have won 4 out of 5. They were totally outplayed in the second half against Wales and only have themselves to blame for losing. England were the ones pressing their line in the closing stages of the match and missed both a penalty and a drop goal in the closing stages, if anything they were the ones who should have won that game. And against Italy and France they were awful. They scored 3 tries in five games, and 0 from their last two autumn matches. Against Ireland they relied on Sexton missing 5 shots at goal.

    One thing's for sure though, I'd rather see emotional managers/head coaches like Johnson, Robinson and Mallett on the sidelines getting involved in the match, than po-faced ones like Gatland and his 3 amigos and Kidney, trying desparately to save face and be as emotion-less as possible.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thanks for all your comments, keep em coming.

    Re: 30) Steve_89 - Agree, Stephen Jones had a great game against Italy and was a model of consistency throughout. For the record, his strike rate was 24 out of 28, 85%. Only one higher was Ronan O'Gara, 11/11 (in contrast to Sexton 6/16, 37%). Other goalkickers, for comparison, were Bergamasco 15/18 (83%), Parra 23/29 (79%), Parks 14/19 (73%), Wilko 16/22 (72%).


    Re: 31) pd121125 - Have to say your comment that 'France had by far the toughest game up front against Scotland' raised a chuckle. Do you not remember the Scottish scrum going backwards every time?! Admittedly they didn't have Euan Murray that day, and Dickinson got marmalised, but it was still a ferocious statement of intent by the French. The Scottish back five forwards may have done some damage, but France cruised though the last quarter of that game, knowing it was won.

    Re: 34) SMASH2 - Gordon D'Arcy did get a mention if you look again. Good to see him back and buzzing, a great player to watch when he's on top form.

    Re: 40) Badger. Kellock had the edge in line-out against POC on Saturday, but as 43) SMJ points out, the line-out is not just down to the catcher. Hooker's throw, wrong calls, lifters...And as we know, a lock's game is not just about the line-out. That's why I gave POC the nod. I was in the crowd at Croker for the Wales game and he was immense. He also poached a few French line-outs when Ireland got thumped in Paris.

    A few quibbles about Bastareaud. Fair enough, he's not the complete article, but he was a key part of the French 'blitz' defence which did for Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Hook is clearly a more talented footballer, and what a joy to see him finally shining on a regular basis. Shame he didn't pass to Prydie after that great run on Sat, mind!

  • Comment number 52.

    "And all those saying Scotland could have won 4 out of 5. They were totally outplayed in the second half against Wales and only have themselves to blame for losing. England were the ones pressing their line in the closing stages of the match and missed both a penalty and a drop goal in the closing stages, if anything they were the ones who should have won that game. And against Italy and France they were awful. They scored 3 tries in five games, and 0 from their last two autumn matches. Against Ireland they relied on Sexton missing 5 shots at goal."

    Asides from your dig at Murray, which is by far the most ridiculous comment I've ever seen, I would agree on an all french front row, but the man is coming back from a serious injury.

    You seem to be ignoring the facts that actually, Wales turned the game around in 10 minutes, that and the fact we had 13 men on the field. We had more pently chances against England. We competed well with France and against Italy, like England, we didn't convert our chances and were punished for missing 1 tackle. We totally outplayed Ireland.

    Get your facts right Steve.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good choice and relatively simple. Had Foden been given game time he could have really pushed for the full back spot (if only there was a competent coach in charge), Byrne was awful and was lucky to escape the same fate as Armitage.
    No arguments with Williams, top try scorer in a team that struggled and 3 assists, strong in impact for a small winger and regularly brought down larger opposition. Cueto just simply isn't a test match winger, whole tournament and no tries which is what we look for in a winger. O'Connel was just a number of world class players who didn't hit previous heights might be a controversial pick. Tindall, Jenkins and Phillips, as with Foden, would have pushed if they had played more.

  • Comment number 54.

    That selection is kind of testement to yet another weak 6 nations.

    It is easy to pick the French players - mainly due to the lack of other contenders.

    They were the best of a bad bunch. Scotland ran them close, they caved against the Welsh, were fairly abject against England - but fortunately for them - those three opponents were worse!

    It is difficult to see beyond the selection - perhaps Bradley Davies could get a nod at second row - O'Connell seemed like a choice purely to avoid having another Frenchman.

    Maclean at full back for Italy was fairly useful too.

    Perhaps if Mr Bryn Palmer wants to get a bit more tongues wagging - he should give us his most abject 15 of the Six Nations.

  • Comment number 55.

    Jonny, why is my dig about Murray the most ridiculous thing you've ever seen.

    Euan Murray IS an over-rated, head down prop, living on the hype surrounding one game against South Africa (a South Africa team who were dominated up front every one of those weeks I might add.

    He offers NOTHING in the loose, I've never seen him carry the ball, in fact he seems to vanish when there isn't a scrum to bend over for.

    He's a good player, but the ridiculous amount of hype the man has is quite breath-taking at times.

  • Comment number 56.

    Listen here mate, I watched all the matches this year and I think although most of your decisions were correct there were a couple you got completley wrong. Firstly hooker should have been Ross Ford as Scotland's line out was by far the best in the tournament as shown by their 98% success rate untill the last game where they still managed to dominate Ireland off the set peice. Also Stephen Ferris instead of dusatoir. :(

  • Comment number 57.

    Lets be honest. A disappointing tournament produces a disappointing team of the tournament. Seems to me that too many players reputations are being bolstered here by playing poor opposition (or at maybe opposition playing poorly). If this side went on the road it wouldn't trouble any of the big three.

  • Comment number 58.

    shane williams always gets a rough time - odd really as he always produces some of the best rugby and...scores tries. All those saying that earls should be rated above (and one for cueto!!), are quite frankly wrong. I'm sure ireland could have done with a bit of shane in the last few minutes of their game against scotland eh? anyone with 51 international tries (and counting) in a team that goes as backward as wales is underrated.
    I think it is time to start picking on someone else.

  • Comment number 59.

    The bitterness and bias against Shane Williams is staggering. In this tournament, which he started not being fully fit after being injured for Wales in the Autumn, he scored 3 tries and generally was very constructive in many of Wales attacks and had a very good tournament. He did make one notable error against France, but he even made up for this with a scintillating try against them at the end.

    As for Hook I would place him on the bench, too many mistakes from him, but I am a big fan of Hook and he is starting to look very inventive at the moment.

  • Comment number 60.

    I simply can't understand the fuss about Bastareaud - from what I saw for most of the time he can't catch, can't pass, can't tackle and has little tactical awareness. Yes, he's big and strong, but that's it and I don't think that is enough. He will never have the all round skills of someone like D'Arcy or even Tindall.
    Trouble is the media made B up to be a star and can't admit they were wrong.

  • Comment number 61.

    even though he didn't play there during the tournament i'd have earls at 13. its not as if he's never played there and has been better than bastereau who missed a whole game(?) came on late in one and taken off at half time in another having done nothing. also parks at 10 really shows the lack of good 10's in the nh (let alone scotland!).

  • Comment number 62.

    Bastareaud to me is a French version of Wendell Sailor - big, destructive but perhaps nt quite the finished article. James Hook has made good of his transition from ten to thirteen but again has a little polish to gain himself (but I am impressed by him!). France are starting to look like a consistent version of what they are capable of - I'm still a little on the fence however over their performance eagainst England.

    I'd agree on Dan Parks. Out of all the stand-offs he had the biggest influence on his team. Scotland in particular showed a lot of promise and perhaps should have been taking the Triple Crown this year. If they maintain sme cohesion I beliwve they may well come good for next year - great timing!

    Ireland seem to have taken a bit of a step back but Sexton shows a lot of promise. Wales are both incredibly exciting and equally frustrating to watch.

    That leaves my England. Is it just me or is there this continuous pattern of unfinished potential? A very indifferent turnament with a flourish at the end which suggests that actually we might not be all that bad. I can't help but think back to the spring and summer of 2003 and question what has happenned to our self-belief..?

  • Comment number 63.

    Williams in for his entertainment level alone. There was little in the other games he wasn't involved in. No to O'Connoll - yes to Shaw? When Ireland were refereed properly they imploded. Some of the French players are only in because their side scraped a Grand Slam, what did they really do as individuals? Poor season dominated by teams who fed off the mistakes of others.

  • Comment number 64.


    No way Dan Parks.
    Stephen Jones for me by a mile - not just for his game controlling performance against Italy.
    He shows a much wider variety of skills than Parks. It may not seem like it these days, but rugby isn't (shouldn't be) *just* about tactital kicking.

  • Comment number 65.

    Agree with this selection Bryn, logical choices in most of the positions.

    Im suprized that nothing more has been said about Imanol Harinordoquy, He was in my opinion the player of the tournement, alongside Morgan Parra.

  • Comment number 66.

    I have several things to comment on.
    52)Jonny - "And all those saying Scotland could have won 4 out of 5. They were totally outplayed in the second half against Wales and only have themselves to blame for losing."
    While you are correct Jonny that we do only have ourselves to blame for losing that match I would also say that in the first half of that match Scotland totally outplayed Wales. We were making Wales look ordinary. And the only time Wales looked extremely threatening was when they had a man and then 2 man advantage. Overall Scotland deserved to win that game and nobody can deny that.
    Secondly, any criticism of Dan Parks is unjust. He may have made a few questionable decisions against Italy but in International rugby who doesn't make mistakes. How can anyone deny his place in team of the tournament with 3 man of the match awards out of 4 appearances.
    Also, I would like to remind any critics of Scotland's back line that 3 of our best backs were injured from the 2nd game of the tournament.
    As for the team, Two changes I would make. Keith Earls in for Shane Williams and James Hook in for Mathieu Bastareaud. Earls had a better tournament than Williams and Bastareaud only had one good game against Scotland whereas Hook was consistently threatening throughout the whole tournament. A special mention for Johnnie Beattie too.

  • Comment number 67.

    Evertontank (#65):

    My guess is that it is bad enough to type Harinordoquy let alone say it (just ask one Mr Butler!) - so he won't get much of a mention(!). But I do agree that he did indeed have a tournament worthy of such metion.

  • Comment number 68.

    Shane Williams is a world class winger. He deserves his place in this XV based on what I have seen this 6Ns. Earls was good but Williams for me. He was involved in everything, scored tries and created tries. Top class.

  • Comment number 69.

    do we need to mention the referee of the tournament. as far as i am concerned they destroyed the last two matches of the tournament after two different teams tried to play some good rugby. after 20 minutes it then became awful.
    ps i would never think that Jonathan Kaplan would win!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Nicolas Mas is not Basque, if anything he is Catalan playing for Perpignan and not Biarritz or Bayonne as it is suggested ;-)

  • Comment number 71.

    Redbud I suppose you meant:
    1/ French pack
    2/ Scottish backs
    That is how I would have put it.

  • Comment number 72.

    I am Welsh, given Jenkins and Phillips played just one game, I would advise that no Welshmen deserve to be in this side. I actually think Marty looked better outside Jauzion than Basteraud and, inevitably, prefer a playmaking fly half so Trinh Duc by a country mile - did Parks ever take on the opposition? Trinh Duc ran at and through Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy and his passing was excellent.

    O'Leary's form was more variable than Parra's but at his best he played outstandingly. The selection of O'Connell is disrespectful to both Kellock and Pape who outplayed him.
    Player of the tournament - the French number 8 - definitely the most aggressive catcher of this mindless, endless and meaningless kicking.

    Most ineffectual player of the tournament - either Jamie Roberts or Jonny Wilkinson, neither achieved a tenth of their hyped expectations, and thats being generous!

  • Comment number 73.

    66, Scotrugby: "We were making Wales look ordinary." - Most teams achieved that, with the exception of Italy.

    Hook is the most uncommunicative, selfish player in the Six Nations. He plays for himself and has a tendancy to go missing at key moments.

  • Comment number 74.

    You are joking, aren't you? Dan Parks? The error strewn Australian? For every good thing he does, there is at least one error - missed tackles, missed touches, losing the game for us against Wales. Fact is that Scotland doesn't have a no. 10 worthy of the name. Unless Phil Godman regains a bit of the form he had last year. Trinh-Duc takes the prize, no rivals this year.

    Nice to see John Barclay chosen. Next year we might see Johnny Beattie get there, he is improving fast (though Harinordoquy is just excellent). I would love for Scotland to have a good enough year for the odd Lamont and Evans to merit inclusion. Ah, well, next year....

  • Comment number 75.

    Bastareaud is only 21y.o. no one should expect a finished product at this young age. I agree he needs to sharpen a bit physically (he will then gain the endurance he is seemingly lacking in the big games). As far as I can tell he is in a very similar position as Ma'a Nonu used to be in. Both are controversial because a bit uni-dimensional at time. However the Frenchman showed he is able to back pass and off-load efficiently, and willing to expand his options. Those skills can and will improve, it is a matter for his coach for France and Stade Francais to follow up and make sure he is applying those skills. Bastareaud is actually also pretty good at kicking for a man that bulky. Bastareaud like Ma'a Nonu are not necessarily first choice but this kind of powerful runners of the ball are pretty rare, so they complement well the likes of Conrad Smith or Richard Kahui (one to watch). Now, we were also missing Mermoz who is probably one of the most exciting prospect for France at center, and between him Marty, Jauzion, Bastareaud, David, it will be a matter of finding the best combination.

  • Comment number 76.

    hammersmithjack are you talking about tennis table or rugby? Rugby is not the individual sport. Individually, the French backs have not done much it is true but the same could be said of pretty much any team this year. Now, you don't win a Grand Chelem without strong individuals, they just happen to be dedicated to the team. You usually see the individualities more when the team is not gelling well together but if I had to highlight the French individuals it would be Mas, Servat, Domingo, Dussautoir, Harinordoquy, Poitrenaud, Nallet, Jauzion and Poitrenaud this year. They have been consistent during all matches. France just needs to sort out the combination from 10 to 15. Parra has progressed tremendously since joining Clermont, Trinh-Duc needs to do the same and leave Montpellier to join a club that will be part of next year's Heineken Cup. He needs competition too in the names of Estebanez and Wizniewski (given that Michalak is out injured for at least a year). Parra governs his pack with a lot of insurance and maturity (although Dupuy remains first choice for me), Trinh-Duc needs to reach that level with his backs. I think it all comes down to the methods of training and the fact there was a lot of changes: Palisson, Fall, Andreu, Rougerie, Clerc, Malzieu, Poitrenaud, they rarely play with each other, so Lievremont needs to address that in training playing more touch rugby for instance.

  • Comment number 77.

    Everyone slamming the french players in the team of the tournament for only being in there because their side won the grand slam should take note of a few things:
    1. France won the grand slam so some of their players must have been playing well.
    2. Their pack was dominant against every other team (scrum and ruck).
    3. They controlled every game they played (bar 20 minutes vs Wales) so their half backs must have played well.
    4. They scored a lot of tries and conceded few so their backs must have played well.
    5. They were the only team to score more than 40 points in a game. (They didn't just grind out victories)

    The only problem is that every player in the french team played well. Unlike wales where hook or s williams can be picked out or Ireland (earls) or scotland (barclay/ beattie) There was no stand out french player because they all dominated their opposites. (Apart from the england game where the stats show the two sides as being pretty evenly matched) The French players were without exception better than the opposition players.

  • Comment number 78.

    74) "You are joking, aren't you? Dan Parks? The error strewn Australian? For every good thing he does, there is at least one error - missed tackles, missed touches, losing the game for us against Wales."

    BartonAlan How can you say Parks lost the game for us against Wales! Obviously you weren't watching very closely if you think Parks lost us the game. That game was lost by an error in discipline and a moment of stupidity by Scott Lawson. And the fact that we choked at the idea of pulling off an unexpected result. Parks was the best player in that game. We've played better rugby this championship than the last 3 years combined and Parks was a big player in producing that. Parks on form v Godman on form is no competition. Parks wins hands down!

  • Comment number 79.

    Agree that Earls is a class act, but Shane Williams almost single handedly hauled Wales back into that game in the last 20 against Scotland and scored a breathtaking try against France that few others could have matched. Yes, he plays rugby on the edge and does make mistakes, but England have shown this season where low-risk rugby gets you.
    By the way, I wonder what the outcome would have been had Shane been put through like Ashton was against France?
    Agree with most of the side, but would have sneaked Beattie into the back row somewhere.

  • Comment number 80.

    Bartonalan #74 "You are joking, aren't you? Dan Parks? The error strewn Australian? For every good thing he does, there is at least one error - missed tackles, missed touches, losing the game for us against Wales. Fact is that Scotland doesn't have a no. 10 worthy of the name"

    I wont deny that Parks has played some bad games in his time but how can you possibly blame him for the Wales match? A reply would be appreciated.

  • Comment number 81.

    " By the way, I wonder what the outcome would have been had Shane been put through like Ashton was against France?"

    yeah, thats a fair comparison isn't it. a 70 odd cap(?), 50 try, 30+ year old against a 1st cap 0 try 22yr old. also theres no guarentee sw would have scored.

    i can forgive ashton his mistake (not least because if we'd beaten france it might have put an undeserved gloss on our 6n's, which loosing by just 2 has almost done anyway in some places), i'm more encouraged that he put foden in with an excellent piece of handling which is something that monye has proven incapable of on numerous occasions. ashton won't be making that mistake again, and with a different bounce could have ended up differently anyway. didn't an irish player make a similar mistake the other week as well?

  • Comment number 82.

    Can't agree with having Bastareaud at 13. BOD had an off-year, by his standards, and was still comfortably the best 13 in the competition. His hands were incredible in most of the games, his kicking has improved so much, and he makes space for Bowe and Earls just by being there, and hence drawing more attention from the defence. His one off-day was against France, and I believe he had a stomach bug coming into the game? He was still immense in defence, as ever. I just feel that people were disappointed by him not scoring loads of tries, when his all-around game was superb.

    Agree with pretty much everything else, except maybe Ross Ford as hooker. Harinordoquy was comfortably player of the tournament with Parra probably second in line. Have to say I enjoyed how competitive the 6N was this year, same again next year before the RWC please.

  • Comment number 83.

    I do largely agree with the team you've picked and i'm particularly pleased with your recognition of John Barclay at 7. He's had a great season for Glasgow and it was great to see him carry that form on to the international stage. The same can be said of Kellock, Brown and Beattie - you can probably tell i'm Scottish.
    For me Harinordoquy was the player of the tournament. Not great against England but he was massively influential in every other match.
    I am a huge fan of the six nations but have one worry. Personally, I can see France dominating European rugby for the forseeable future. They have blooded several youngsters, who if they avoid injury will be around for years. Parra, Trinh-Duc, Basteraud, Andreu, Palisson, Lapandry to name but afew. Moreover, the Welsh and Irish who in my opinion are the only true rivals possess ageing squads.
    What do you think?

  • Comment number 84.

    I couldn't agree more with '43. SMJ's earlier comment concerning O'Connell. he was so consistent but against Scotland he was hardly even used in the line out and also you'd have to be superman to catch some of the junk that best was throwing in that match anyway. The only mistake i think he made throughout the whole tournament was nearly knocking out BO'D but that was clearly an accident so in my eyes he's faultless....but then again I am Irish

  • Comment number 85.

    Nice selection: disputes relate, as it seems to me, to relatively trivial detail and parochialism. Unfortunately, I feel that much of the discussion really avoids the comparison which ULTIMATELY counts. I don't much like to say so, but the selection illuminates the relative poverty of northern hemisphere rugby. Might be interesting to compare the selection to a possible southern hemisphere equivalent selection (in relation to which disputes would, I suspect, be far better grounded).

    For my money (and it saddens me to have to bet my money thus) -

    15. Poitrenaud couldn't match Muliaina in a month of Sundays;

    11. Habana would out-gun and out-run Bowe every time he had the ball, and intercept a few balls intended for Bowe too;

    12. Carter (in his original international position) would make Jauzion look like an aged amateur in every encounter;

    13. Bastareaud would for the most part look like a daffy puppy when faced by Mortlock;

    14. faced by Sivivatu, Williams would look like a medium-paced stripling;

    10. the prospect of Park facing Giteau curdles the blood;

    9. du Preez would do unto Parra as the mafia does unto babes bearing sweets;

    1. Domingo might fare better against the best tight-head the southern has to offer right now - or at any rate he might have a prayer. I'll claim that as one for the north, then.

    2. Servat would be shaded by any of the SH top three's hookers right now.

    3. Mas as for Domingo, mutato mutandis, so I'll claim two for the north.

    6. Burger would out-pace and out-bully Dusautoir every time;

    4. Nallet would be shown up by Botha in every department;

    5. O'Connell might well expose Matfield, and I'll claim a third for the nothern hemishere on the basis of what is really no better than a hope;

    7. Barclay would be made to look as if he wasn't even playing on the same pitch by McCaw; and

    8. Spies would easily beat Harinordoquy at his own game.

    Three in fifteen, and then by a whisker and a wish each time. Okay, I know that's not going to be popular. Still, I did think it had to be said...!

  • Comment number 86.

    What a difference a year makes - if Geechs was picking a Lions squad for a tour this summer I bet every Scottish forward would be in with a serious shout of making the squad!
    Yourselectio is a good one on the criteria hat you set Bryn, but if I had to pick a team to play for my house tomorrow from everyone that played in the ^M this year it would look very different.

  • Comment number 87.

    My goodness there are no England players in Guscott's team of the tournament. Who is this guy? What's happened to the real Jeremy Guscott?

  • Comment number 88.

    Shane Williams continues to be the most overated player in NH, as others have said - he is not up to it.
    Earls seems to have recovered well from his Lions nightmare, and I am a convert - he looks a very complete player.
    Lessons from the tournament
    England are not quite as bad as the press think - but almost
    Wales are nowhere near as good as they think they are
    Scotland - could and maybe should have won a triple crown - as an Englishman it is great to see them back - and I hope they can build on that
    France - way too good for the rest
    Ireland - looking in decline - going to be struggling up front by the world cup
    Italy - well they have better food, wine and women

  • Comment number 89.

    Segnes. The point you make is a good one. And you are probably right in your observations. But I think you need to give a little more credit to the Northern Hemisphere teams. Perhaps I should remind you that during the autumn tests of 2009 several of the SH teams were beaten by us NH teams. Ireland beat SA and drew with the Aussies. France beat SA quite convincingly in one game and even us Scots managed to upset the Wallabies (lucky as it may have been). When all said and done it comes down to the teams and not individuals and when the World Cup comes around next year it wouldn't surprise me that much to see a similar situation to 2007 where only one of the SH giants made it to the semis while two of them were knocked out in the quarters by NH teams. And I for one would be delighted to see that situation arise.

  • Comment number 90.

    Re: 54) Tinoflyer - do you want to start us off then with your 'Abject Team of the Tournament'?! Bit harsh, but I'll throw in a few candidates who might be worthy of inclusion, on the grounds that they were either well below form, did something idiotic, or just weren't very good.. Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey, Jonny Wilkinson, Teto Tebaldi; Alasdair Dickinson/Tim Payne, Jerry Flannery/Gareth Williams, Alun Wyn Jones (only for the trip), Andy Powell (for the other trip...)

    Re: 70) Charles - Apologies to Monsieur Mas, and anyone else I may have offended in the Basque or Catalan nations. Was getting my French regions mixed up there...I can only blame fatigue on a very long final weekend...

    Re 76) and 77) Couldn't agree more. France did have their outstanding individuals (Hara, Parra etc)but it was their set-piece dominance and defensive discipline that really made the difference for them this year, which are both hallmarks of team-work rather than individual brilliance.

    Re 85) Segnes - I don't think many of us would dispute that man-for-man the southern hemisphere would have more players in a combined World XV. the world rankings don't lie. But this isn't a composite team of the best in the northern hemisphere, it is just an attempt to pick the players who shone the most in their position in the Six Nations. BOD would still be in a best NH side at 13 for example...




  • Comment number 91.

    85) It's not so clear that you are right about the NH being so far behind the SH. The french scrum destroyed SA in the autumn and australia didn't exactly blow the scots aside. I also seem to remember NZ coming unstuck against France last summer. Dussauttoir dominated the NZ backrow in the WC. Harinordoquy dominated SA's back three and while barclay is not the finished product yet he looks like a great future no7 who could well give mccaw a run for his money.
    The SH do probably edge it player for player atm but the gulf in class between the side you put forward and the NH one is not as great as you make out.

  • Comment number 92.

    Excluding Italy, the most abject XV of the Six Nations

    15. Byrne/Armitage
    14. Lamont
    13. M Evans
    12. Flutey/Morrison
    11. Monye
    10. Wilkinson
    9. Cusiter/Cooper

    1. Healy
    2. Hartley/G Williams
    3. Murray
    4. Borthwick
    5. Charteris
    6. Powell
    7. M Williams
    8. R Jones

  • Comment number 93.

    Some good comments re the top team. As a scotsman I'm pleased we showed what we can do and 2 of our back row made it into Jerry Guscotts team of the tourney. Mine would be

    Front row - the French
    2nd row - o'connel & Kellock
    back row - dusatoir, harinordoquy, barclay
    SH - Phillips
    SO - Trun D'uc
    Centres - Yauzion and BOD
    Back 3 - Earls, Poitrenoud, Bowe

    Mentions for Johnny Beattie, Jones (both of them) Hook and Heaslip

    I like the idea of a duff 15 - will think about that one

  • Comment number 94.

    Nice one Bryn. Can't argue with the selection apart from thinking Trinh Duc should have just got the nod above Parks and I still think Adam Jones remains the best number 3 in Europe not just for scrummaging but for his work in open play (the blistering pace he showed for his try v England testiment to that fact).

    On another note, I'm hoping for some ideas - some of us at work held a sweep stake with prizes being awarded for the team that won over a number of categories (winners, team with highest point-scorer etc). One of these was "howler of the tournament" which is obviously quite subjective. What would your howler be..?

  • Comment number 95.

    Steve, your continuing determination to bash Euan Murray really does amaze me. Did you not notice that in the one game he didn't play in our scrum got mauled. When he came back our scrum improved. Also, including Chris Cusiter and possibly Max Evans as well is extremely harsh. Neither of them did anything wrong and I think your clutching at straws including them.

    However, I don't wish to seem biased towards Scotland so I'd like to put forward Alastair Dickinson and Scott Lawson for an abject XV if you so insist on having one. Lawson's moment of madness v Wales cost us more than just that one game!

  • Comment number 96.

    Just to add to Scotrugby above, for me it is also pretty harsh putting Morrison in there. Apart from the fact he has suddenly come alive this tournament, he made good runs, got over the gain line and sucked in defenders. He also made the try in Dublin.

    Not the best of the 6N, but certainly not deserving of being "duff"

  • Comment number 97.

    Abject XV
    15. Armitage
    14. K Robertson
    13. Roberts
    12 Flutey
    11 Lamont
    10 Wilkinson
    9 Cooper
    8 Easter
    7 M Williams
    6 Powell
    5 Borthwick
    4 Charteris
    3 Murray Lowe
    2 Hartley
    1 Healy

    Subs: Tait, Monye, Godman, Tibaldi (or Care), Dickinson, Flannery, Deacon, R Jones

  • Comment number 98.

    Bastareaud = most over-hyped player in the 6 nations. He's big - get over it. Ran in 2 tries against scotland and slipped one pass out of a tackle against BOD. That's it. Even the french sports "bible" l'Equipe didn't place him in the team of the tournament (Hook and BOD in the centres in case you were wondering).

  • Comment number 99.

    sorry, but i disagree with most of the team. was france the only team you watch this year, you could have just name the french team, job done. did u even consider any other team in the tournament. where's jamie heaslip, tomas o'leary, james hook, lee byrne. france may have played well colectively, but they didn't really play that well as individuals, apart from a few very good players. morgan parra in my opinion didn't have a special tournament, he had a armchair ride behide a strong pack, someone like thomas o'leary showed way more creativity, and also grabbed a good try against wales. also, paul o'connel wasn't that good, didn't really stand out in any of the games. got destroyed against scotland, by the way, congratulations against ireland thought it was the performance of the tournament. o'connel got pick on reputation, if anyone should be their on reputation brian o'driscol should be in the team. by the way what did bastareaud do, he ran through a sub-standard scotish defence, apart from that i can't remember him in any other game.

    in conclusion, i disagree with 90% of what you have said

  • Comment number 100.

    How can some people be saying that Cueto should be in this team? He's a decent winger, yes, but he didn't score a try, this is why Williams has to be in the team because he did score tries.

    James Hook could possibly be in this team too but Bastareaud did have a good championship in my opinion.

 

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