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The alternative Six Nations awards

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Tom Fordyce | 11:00 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

It started seven weeks ago with snow in February, on a day cold enough for five layers, and ended it with the daffodils in full bloom and Cardiff in T-shirts.

The big winners? Ireland. The big losers? Italy. But what of the other categories in between?

Best Match
Until the final match of the entire championship, it looked like being a simple choice between Ireland v France in round one and France v Wales in round three. Then along came that extraordinary finale in Cardiff. How can you top drama and a denouement like that?

Worst Match
Unfortunately, there were a few to choose from. Seldom has a five-try romp been as depressing as England's win over Italy, while Scotland's squeeze past the same opponents was one to scare the grandchildren with. Ireland v England at least had some drama going for it.

Quickest Transformation In Supporters' Expectations
England walk out to play France with the boos already perched on the lips of the Twickenham unfaithful. They walk off 80 minutes later to a standing ovation of the sort not seen since those heady quarter/semi-finals in the World Cup.

Most Unfortunate Debut
Poor old Geoff Cross. The toast of his enormous family when he got the nod to replace the injured Euan Murray for Scotland's opener against Wales, he lasted just 25 minutes before taking Lee Byrne out mid-air and suffering the ignominy of being stretchered off concussed and yellow-carded at exactly the same time.

Angriest Man
Would you want to have been sitting next to Martin Johnson after Danny Care got sin-binned at Croke Park?

Most Frightened Man
Danny Care after being sin-binned at Croke Park.

Most Frequently Used Seat
The one in England's sin-bin.

Most Ridiculously Optimistic Decision
Some would say cycling from Cardiff to Paris in just two days and expecting to get there in time. At least that one came off. But will Mauro Bergamasco ever forgive Nick Mallett for persuading him to play scrum-half for Italy against England? Will Mallett ever forgive himself?

Most Spectacular Try
Take your pick from a handful of aesthetic beauties - Riki Flutey's second against France, Francois Trinh-Duc's in Rome, Tommy Bowe's in the same city and Imanol Harinordoquy's in Dublin. Then there was Lee Byrne against France, Max Evans against Wales and Maxime Medard on at least two occasions. Hats off all round, and then thrown in the air.

Kidney and ODriscoll

Least Spectacular But Most Important Try
An easier choice, this one - either Brian O'Driscoll's burrow over against England, or his five-inch drive versus Wales. A combined distance of less than two yards, but enough to secure a place in the history books for the captain and his team.

Biggest Tackle
We weren't short of smash, let's be honest. But for the fact that you could hear the hit in Honfleur, Mathieu Bastareaud gets the nod for his annihilation of Jamie Roberts in the first half of France v Wales. Wrecking-ball meets wrecking-ball at full pace. Ouch. Shudder. Ooof.

Best Hair
Who said rugby hasn't moved with the times? For his overgrown hedges of sideburns, Italy scrum-half Paul Griffen deserves enormous respect and a stout pair of clippers. When he's done, perhaps he can lend them to Maxime Medard to sort out his own lamb-chops. (NB memo to Andy Goode: you can't fight a receding hairline forever. Stop running your hand through those lank curtains and embrace the number one.)

Player of the Tournament
For always going forwards in a team going backwards, Sergio Parisse deserves all the plaudits Rome can find. Paul O'Connell was similarly immense. But in a year when he led from the front as his country ended that awful 61-year wait, how could we ever vote for anyone but Brian O'Driscoll?

Not-Player of the Tournament
It's a harsh category, this one. No-one sets out to play badly, and every one of us endures off-days and stinky patches. Will Scotland skipper Mike Blair look back at the 2009 championship with great pleasure? Probably not.

Quote of the Tournament
That man O'Driscoll seemed to have it in the bag when he threw a Cantona pre-England: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

His coach Declan Kidney almost matched him at the death, however. At his victory press conference, with the Six Nations trophy sparkling away within touching distance, he just couldn't get the fog of disbelief out of his balding head.

"Declan," said one wag, teasing his reticence in recent weeks, "will you talk about the Grand Slam now?" He tried, he really did but could produce only a comedic succession of headshakes and phews before looking helplessly across at his captain.

"Ah, you take over," he said, shaking his head at the wonder of it all.

The Any Other Business Awards
Don't tell me that you can't come up with a few categories of your own. I won't believe it. Get stuck in.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Most talked about rugby topic over the last 2 months:

    The six nations comes close, Irelands grand slam was huge, Gatlands insane babbling, but lets be honest in relative terms it was Danny Cipriani.

    He did absolutely nothing, but somehow appeared in every article. And low and behold he is the 'first British Lion' to be ruled out of the tour!

    I must be missing something.

  • Comment number 2.

    'The alternative Six Nations awards'

    'Player least trusted by his team-mates?':
    Gavin Henson. "Charlotte, they won't give the ball to me so that I may kick it - (a) out of the stadium, (b) slicing into touch, (c) into posterity, (d) anywhere close to the goalposts, (d) down to Sth. Africa".
    And this happened not once, but twice.
    OK, so his teammates might not care much for him, but he always has his myopic journalist Stephen Jones to fly his flag.
    That's a true measure of a player -- how his teammates value him!

  • Comment number 3.

    Most Ridiculous Rule
    Lots to choose from here, whilst (correctly) monitoring the binding in the scrum stringently, apparently a non-straight feed can't be seen by the referee or the touch judges.
    The 'mark' is now redundant under the new ELV's and should be removed forthwith.
    However, the winner has to be players getting pinged for not rolling away from the tackle when stuck under a pile of bodies. This has to change in the future. If you have four players over 96 kilos (approximately 15 stone in old money) lying on your legs, you won't be able to roll away from the tackle area. Witness Mike Tindall being sin-binned for this when it was impossible for him to extricate himself from the pile.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not player of the tournament? Lee Byrne, Shane Williams, Andy Powell

    "England walk out to play France with the boos already perched on the lips of the Twickenham unfaithful"

    Disgustingly innacurate.

    Try of the tournament? Flutey's second v France.

    Most over-hyped team? Wales

    Most under-rated team? England

  • Comment number 5.

    Biggest let down - Shane Williams

    Most Underrated Player - Mike Tindall

    Stupidest Comment - Warren Gatland (Wales hate Ireland or something like that)

    Player I most wish was British - Parisse (my player of the tournament - i would rather have him than BOD and POC together!)

  • Comment number 6.

    The "Too Big For His (Rugby) Boots" Award

    Not content with getting on the wrong side of most rugby players and fans outside of Wales, Henson decided to mouth off his own team-mates after each game. Not a good idea, even if he were God's gift to rugby, which he ain't. Nice one Gav.

  • Comment number 7.

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

  • Comment number 8.

    Absent Rugby Coverage award

    To the BBC. Miss the game, and you haven't got any chance. Whilst the Beeb are happy to show repeats of One foot in the Grave and 10 episodes of Eastenders a week, they cannot muster up enough time to have a match of the day style 6 nations coverage.

    But they will stop Sky from having one.

    I thought I would turn to the interactive efforts, only to find Rob Curling of Turnabout fame providing as rugby knowledge as Nick Mallet.

    Very very poor Mr BBC.

  • Comment number 9.


    Banter9 - "Player I most wish was British - Parisse (my player of the tournament - i would rather have him than BOD and POC together!)"

    Which tournament are you talking about Banter9? :)

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Griff, many apologies, this fact was not broadcast audibly from where I was watching so I was not to know.

    If it's any consolation, he seemed to be completely mesmerised by the atmosphere when walking out with Ryan Jones. I think that that memory will do him proud at least - even if I didn't.

  • Comment number 12.

    Number 8,
    You seem to have the internet, is iPlayer too modern for you?
    All coverage was up there for a week after.

  • Comment number 13.

    Never mind Danny Care...for all of about 60 seconds, I don't think you could top Paddy Wallace's terror for potentially throwing away Ireland's Grand Slam chance.

  • Comment number 14.

    Orbandsceptre27, I sort of agree with Banter9. Parisse was incredible in every game this 6N. The only reason I only 'sort of' agree is that I'm Irish!

  • Comment number 15.

    Biggest Idiot This and Every Year - dr.nightmare for his incredibly crass and distasteful comment about the mascot's hair. He should know that this young lad has only 6 months to live and it was his dying wish to be a mascot. He probably won't be around for the next 6 Nations. Proud now?

  • Comment number 16.

    Not Player of the Tournament

    Mike Blair?

    What? No way, he was one of the better Scotland players for sure, probably one of the better scum halfs too. I don't think anyone particularly let their side down or looked out of their depth so I can see the struggle in this category. Danny Care perhaps? Cipriani for all his fame never being picked?

    Also Danielli's try should be mentioned in the best try category, better than Max Evan's anyway.

  • Comment number 17.

    best commentator.

    Brian Moore

    worst commentator

    Eddie Butler for getting every ones name wrong
    or Lawrence Delalio for not giving perise man of the match against scotland

  • Comment number 18.

    How can Chabal NOT get the hair award???

  • Comment number 19.

    15- give dr. nightmare a break, he said sorry! The award for 'least willing to forgive' goes to... tonyfard.

  • Comment number 20.

    Most Relieved Man: Paddy Wallace. Oh, to have had a penny for his thoughts as Jones was taking that kick.

  • Comment number 21.

    Worst Member of BBC Presentation Team:
    BRIAN MOORE - why doesnae he just just up for a bit! All he does is moan, moan, moan and he very rarely has anything constructive to say even if he does come up with the odd classic quote

    Best Member of BBC Presentation Team:
    AUSTIN HEALEY - surprisingly good at his analytical stuff

    Most Nervous Rugby TV Presenter In History:
    COLIN CHARVIS - Whenever the camera was on him in his first match he looked like he'd just seen a ghost

    Best Quote:
    BRIAN MOORE - 'France are playing with a game plan that's been implemented by Inspector Clouseau'

    Underachiever:
    MIKE BLAIR - Nominated for 2008 IRB World Player Of The Year award but had a poor tournament; was favourite for Lions 9 jersey but now may not even get on the plane

    Comeback King:
    JOE WORSLEY - Now nailed on for a spot on plane to South Africa; who'd have predicted that at the start of the tournament?

    Most Desperate To Lose Job:
    MARC LIVREMONT - For his inexplicable tactics and selections throughout the championship (apart from against Wales)

    Most Modest:
    WARREN GATLANDS - Claimed his job wasnae safe after the French defeat

    Why Were They There?:
    GEOFF CROSS - Possibly one of the shortest Test careers in Scottish rugby history
    STEFFON ARMITAGE - A good player, who will undoubtedly play for England in years to come, but why was he picked over several better players for the Italy match?
    MAURO BERGAMASCO - Harsh but I think he deserved a holiday after Nick Mallett forced him to play scrum-half against England as he looked off form for the whole tournament

    Celebrity lookalike award:
    PAUL SACKEY - Dead ringer for Kele Okereke in Bloc Party, if maybe a little bit more muscular

    Lack of acceptance award:
    ANDY GOODE - Sorry mate, but you're definitely going bald

    Luckiest man:
    PADDY WALLACE - For obvious reasons

    Best fear-induced haircut award:
    DANNY CARE - Gave himself a no2 style shave before Scotland match, assumedly to try and make himself look more dangerous and persuade Martin Johnson not to get angry with him again

    Most surprisingly dropped player:
    FULGENCE OUEDRAOGO - Played well in first three games of championship, especially against Wales, yet not selected against England or Italy

    Worst fans:
    ENGLAND - Even when the French were being battered Twickenham was quiet

    Most optimistic cheating award:
    DANNY CARE - "I'll just shove this guy over at the ruck" he says, "the ref'll never see from his metre away vantage point"

    Player most wishing he played for a different team award:
    SERGIO PARISSE - Best 8 in the world...plays for Italy
    (MAURO BERGAMASCO also deserves a mention as no other 6N coach would have played him at scrum half surely)

    Most satisfying moment:
    SEBASTIAN CHABAL getting flattened by Andy Powell and Tom Shanklin in Paris

  • Comment number 22.

    Banter9 you are so right.
    you have to feel sorry for parise being italien he is the best 8 in the world and if he was british the the no8 position would be a no contest area as he would just walk straight in there such a shame that italy are neva rely goin to achieve anything and that he will not get the international silverware that he deserves

  • Comment number 23.

    Nickname for Andy Goode "Heathrow"... the runway is forever expanding

  • Comment number 24.

    shovin' it right up gatlin's aaahemm sorry... back down his throat Thanks warren for the pep talk

  • Comment number 25.

    Player deserving more praise than he's currently getting/most over looked consistent player:

    Donncha O'Callaghan.

    Have to say although POC played very well I also think DOC made a huge contribution throughout the tournament. This comes from an Englishman who has been critical of him in the past.

  • Comment number 26.

    Best typo above: "Mike Blair.........probably one of the better scum halfs.......".
    Biggest 6N rule omission: NO BONUS POINTS. A thought for next year?

  • Comment number 27.

    hmmm introducing bonus points-presumably for scoring four tries or more? Would mean that a team could win the grand slam but not necessarily the championship...whereas at the moment only the reverse is true..

  • Comment number 28.


    Unbeatablebigginge89 and Illumi-llama,

    Banter9 wrote - "Player I most wish was British - Parisse (my player of the tournament - i would rather have him than BOD and POC together!)"

    I have no arguement with how good Parisse is - but to say you`d rather him to O`Connell (best lock in his position in the world) and BOD (best centre in his position in the world) PUT TOGETHER is a bit silly.

    We must put things in context - Italy haven`t won a 6 Nations match this year and it`s easy to look great in a bad team. The proof of the pudding is in the eating - POC has a GS and was the backbone of both Munster European Cup wins. BOD will most likely be named Player of the Tournament and probably retain the Lions Captaincy. So to say you`d swap both for Parisse... Oh dear!

  • Comment number 29.

    Why don't you have an award for the worst commentators, summarisers and pundits? Do the BBC think that we the viewers are so moronic that we will lap up those whom they inflict upon us? We do not believe it is axiomatic every good player can make the transition to punditry. Thank heaven for Eddie Butler, Brian Moore, Keith Woods, Austin Healey and very few others. The rest, including the guy who introduces the Six Nations should be consignedc to the dustbin of history.

  • Comment number 30.

    Worst Rule Change
    Removing the rolling mall

  • Comment number 31.

    Boot of the tournament: Chris Paterson. Immaculate.

    Chops of the tournament: Maxime Medard. You beauties!

    Biggest disappointment: the scrums. What was going on? The referees looked as lost as the viewers sometimes. Players were getting penalised for illegal bindings just so the referee didn't have to officiate scrums any longer.

    One man team of the tournament: Italy. Parisse. What a man.

    Pointless punditry: Colin Charvis. I forget the exact wording (I was rather engrossed), but I swear at one point on Saturday evening he enlightened us with a revelation something along the lines of: "Ireland have come here to win today, and they're going to try and score to do it". I do paraphrase slightly, but the banality of his statement and mine are pretty much equal.

  • Comment number 32.

    Worst TV coverage of the 6N - BBC
    Am I not the only one to be incenced by the director trying to "jazz up" the coverage? What do I mean?

    Team X score a try. Cue about 6 replays, often missing the conversion and didnt we miss the subsequent kick off on some occasions?

    Player kicks ball into touch. Cue lingering shot of player, with banal onscreen comments, throw in missed.

    Player knocks on ball trying to do something subtle. Cue shot of player explaining to team mates how to do a double-dummy-reverse-scissors-out-of-a-tackle (DDRSOOAT in modern parlance). Miss scrum being set, collapsed and quick penalty.

    So what was good?
    Commentators (warming to theme): two particularily good ones Brian Moore, no I rarely agree with him but he does have a solid point of view THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS DISAGREE WITH. Austin Healy, a winner if he can stick with his insightful analysis. Too many others confuse opinion for insight and jargon for analysis.
    Opinion we can get by the bucketful here, what most of us lack is a modern insignt. Bin the personalities for analysts.

    Good blog, like being in a pub.

  • Comment number 33.

    Worst commentator: Brian Moore
    A partisan whinger, stick him in the stands if he's so desperate to watch his beloved England - but the BBC shouldn't be affording him a ticket. At least he's as consistent a commentator as he was a player; referees would commonly exit the field with Cauliflower Ears themselves, so ceaseless was his moaning on the paddock.

    Best commentator: Eddie Butler
    The only commentator to come close to the great Bill McLaren. Knowledgeable, neutral and informative - an example to all in his profession.

    Most over-rated player: Gavin Henson
    A few contenders for this one - Mike Blair was fairly ordinary, Danny Cipriani is a total passenger at international level (and whoever considers him an active contender for Lions service needs psychological help), but Gavin Henson's witless insouciance was perfectly encapsulated in the tournament decider. Never before has such talent presented itself so casually in a high-pressure match. He just didn't seem to give a stuff when he should have been the driving force behind a Wales recovery. Pathetic.

    Worst fans: Scotland
    As a Scot, it pains me to say it, but there's more passion in a plate of cold scrambled eggs than a Six Nations match at Murrayfield. Still, it's a bit too easy to lay the blame at the slippered feet of the tartan blanket brigade; the debacle with the anthem's second verse being sung a cappella sucks any sort of emotion out of the encounter and flattens any motivational advantage immediately.

  • Comment number 34.

    "but to say you`d rather him to O`Connell (best lock in his position in the world)"

    I understand what your saying. Personally I reckon Matfield shades it at lock for his incredible line-out presence but that's exactly why the Lions need O'Connell.

    "Biggest disappointment: the scrums. What was going on?"

    I hear you. This obsession with binding is a disaster. It's eviscerating one of the game's great traditions. 'Twas a time when all refs worried about was a straight feed and collapsing the scrum. I think the rot set in sometime during the 2003 World Cup Final...

  • Comment number 35.

    Number 28,

    Sorry, but O'Connell is not the best lock in the world despite his awe-inspiring six nations. That award would go to Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield, who will dominate the lineout against the Lions. No arguments about O'Driscoll though.

  • Comment number 36.

    Most drunk Presenter - John Inverdale
    I mean he was drunk on Saturday.

    The 'Who is he' award - Nick Mullins...yes...who?

    The Best of the BBC award - Austin Healey
    Yes he knows his stuff unlike Dawson who goes off on a rocker.

    Stadium Buzzing Award - Millenium and Croke - both great stadia and their fans stuck beside their teams...as pointed out even when we smashed France, how was Twickers quiet!

  • Comment number 37.

    Stickin up for dr. nightmare award: Me. He/She said they didn't know about the mascot's condition and apologised. What more do you ask?

    Most Deserving of the Grand Slam Award: Ireland. What a great team they've had for such a long time, it's about time they got some hardware to show for it.

    Forget the Angry Man award, best Comedy Moment Award is Johnno's reaction to DC getting binned!

  • Comment number 38.

    non player of the tournament?
    how about the whole scottish team if only hurling was played instead of rugby! and the by the way Paterson was your best player!

  • Comment number 39.

    Worst innovation that's gone on too long: crap music blasted out of the PA system after a try.
    Worst commentators: the France 2 team for making me think Tommy Vance was playing on the wing for Scotland and that the French scrum-half was called Sebastian Cheeseboard.
    Best statistic: Wales have lost a game when Gavin Henson started.

  • Comment number 40.

    Worst six nations blog???

    Stick to monkey tennis mate.

  • Comment number 41.

    weallknow - sorry, I should have elucidated, the points for a win would have to be adjusted to make it very difficult (but maybe not impossible) for this to happen.
    4 bonus points wins and a bonus point defeat to beat 5 boring non-bonus victories? May force teams to keep ball in hand a bit more and this may even start bridging the gap, nay chasm, between NH and SH teams. A chasm that seems ever wider after a weird and uninspiring 6 Nations, no disrespect to Ireland, well done and about time.
    Fear of failure and petty tribalism weighs far too heavily on the shoulders, particularly on those of pre-tournament favourites.
    Which brings me full circle to the issue of bonus points - reward a bit of enterprise. As I said before, worth a thought?

  • Comment number 42.

    Most hyped/overrated team ie: biggest disappointments

    15. Patterson
    14. T Evans
    13. Basteaureard
    12. Henson
    11. Williams
    10. Hook
    9. Blair
    1. Sheridan
    2. Hartley
    3. Vickery
    4. Hines
    5. Kennedy
    6. R Jones
    7. Barclay
    8. Easter

  • Comment number 43.

    bodforcaptain, can't say I agree with your "overrated/disappointing" team. I don't think Paterson should be there, for me Lee Byrne was far more disappointing, considering the hype that surrounded him before the 6N. Also Thom Evans was very good, would rather have Sackey there, he was massively disappointing before thankfully injury ruled him out. Can't really argue with Bastareaud, was a monster when his team were on the front foot but as soon as the came under pressure he started to fall apart. Agree with most of the team, although I think it's harsh to put Hartley in, considering he hardly got to play. Also Nick Kennedy was very good, in my opinion Borthwick should have been dropped not Kennedy. Agree with most of the back row, especially Easter, who I am definitely not a fan of.

    Best Player:
    SERGIO PARISSE

    Best Young Player:
    THOM EVANS - (What happened to Leigh Halfpenny??)

    Best Game:
    IRELAND-WALES

    Worst Game:
    ENGLAND-ITALY

    Most Surprising:
    JOE WORSLEY

    Biggest Disappointment:
    SHANE WILLIAMS

  • Comment number 44.

    i'm not sure but i think parisse was born in argentina so as far as that goes i bet he wishes he was playing for them now lol

  • Comment number 45.

    Bite you back on the bum comment award: Warren Gatland - “Probably, of all the teams in the Six Nations, the Welsh players dislike the Irish the most."

  • Comment number 46.

    Worse clearance kick (Wales v Ireland): Stephen Jones having just put Wales ahead kicks it clean out under the new ELVs, leading to the Irish onslaught and winning drop-goal.

  • Comment number 47.

    Worst decision: Stephen Jones thinking that he can redeem himself in the Wales Ireland game by kicking a penalty that was clearly out of his range.

  • Comment number 48.

    Worst captain's decision: Allowing Stephen Jones to think he can kick beyond his range in the Wales Ireland game instead of calling up howitzer boot, Henson.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hmmmm. Biggest disappointment... can ONLY be Danny Cipriani. From the new great star to not even making the squad. Has there been a bigger fall?

    Moment of the tournament: Martin Johnson making it clear that he would be having a word with Danny Care after the match. Suddenly, after that, discipline improved and England's results with it. Any suggestions what the conversation was after the match?

  • Comment number 50.

    CEMJones.
    That penalty was not out of Stephen Jones range. Look at the highlights and see where he kicked the penalty from just before half time to go 6-0 up. Why would he give the ball to Henson who has a bigger boot but not the same accuracy? Fact is he fluffed it when the pressure was on!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    I really don't get Gavin Henson. As a fly-falf/centre for years, I know a reasonable amount about the position and I fail to see what he offers.

    You could throw in a non-team of the tournament:

    Cross - poor fellow (he was the only Scotsman truly trying for those opening 25 minutes too)
    Hartley - I miss the point with him I think
    Castrogiovanni - the only thing he consistently did well was rubbing it in after the opposition conceded a penalty
    Nallet (c) - major disappointment as player and captain
    Hines - 57 varieties of mediocrity
    Jones, R - played himself well out of Lions contention
    Chabal - definitely not a 7
    Powell - another Welsh disappointment (don't believe your own hype)
    Bergamasco - say no more
    Godman - apart fropm ten minutes against England he showed nothing
    Williams, S - a real non-event of a tournament
    Henson - over-hyped, over-rated
    Jauzion - best centre in the world? un tournoi a oublier
    Sackey - had a few good years but way down the pecking order now
    Poitrenaud - back to the heady heights of the last minutes of THAT Heineken Cup Final

    Coach: take your pick from Mallett, Lievremont, Hadden or even Gatland, who all made major bopobs at various times

    Commentator: Jonathan Davies - I respect his knowledge and views on the game, but should not be allowed in the summarisers chair for Wales games as he is just too parochial. His justifiable anger at the aerial tackle by Cross contrasted sharply with his reaction when Byrne did the same thing against England - even Brian Moore is less biased, and that is saying something

  • Comment number 52.

    Re Stephen Jones kick.

    A 48 metre penalty after 20 minutes is one thing, but after 80 plus minutes of intense international rugby, your range is reduced.

    "Never up, never in"

    What truly puzzled me was the Welsh's unanimous decision to just stop playing once they had the advantage. Ireland could well have panicked and conceded another penalty closer in if the Welsh had continued to drive close...

  • Comment number 53.

    Best Comment About A Rugby Blog:
    sixmilesanhour's "It's like being in a pub."

  • Comment number 54.

    Team Most Likely to Beat a Southern Hemisphere Team?

    Meow???

  • Comment number 55.

    Biggest non-event: Scotland's entire campaign. I feel like they were hardly there. At least Italy provided some comedy.

    Worst positional selection: OK Bergamasco at scrum half is the obvious one, but Chabal at 7? Come on Marc, did you feel sorry for England?

    I feel Shane Williams is getting a bit of unfair stick. Had a good game against Scotland, missed one through injury then for the final three games he only ever got given the ball in awful positions, he's not exactly the man to hit it up the blindside with no space.

    Biggest disappointment for me must be Powell - totally failed to use his biggest asset, his pace. Seemed to just enjoy getting smashed back in the tackle and giving away penalties. Couldn't believe he got selected for the decider.

    And speaking of Mr Gatland - picking a mostly second choice pack against Italy. They may still be poor overall but their forwards are no mugs and wales should have lost that one. And for winding up the Irish. Bet his players thanked him for that one as DOC et al left dents in them.

    And I hear you #46 re S Jones' out on the full. After his DG I swore I'd never criticise him again, then broke my word 30 seconds later.

    A query re that rule if anyone can help me: does the carrying over not count if there is a breakdown between? at one point ireland had the ball just outside their 22 and got pushed back from the gain line, carrying it in. then they recycled and kicked it out on the full. was barnes just asleep or am i missing something?

  • Comment number 56.

    Re: the experts' Lion's picks: Woody, what planet are you on? Denis Leamy's a great blindside, but doesn't have a clue at number 8. He also did nothing during this tournament. How could you pick him ahead of Heaslip?

  • Comment number 57.

    Best Irish team-talk - Warren Gatland

  • Comment number 58.

    Least refereed Law.

    Standing offside at rucks---usually directly infront of the referee or touch judge!!

    How do the officials not see these offences more often--a player standing a metre infront of the back foot with a finger gently resting on one of the players involved in the ruck is,in my book, offside. Ping them and then card them until they learn the law.

    The ELV on 5mtrs back at set scrums is surely to try and create more space for the attcking backs to operate in---at rucks the officials too often allow space to be closed down illegally.

  • Comment number 59.

    Best comedy outfit - England. Those red and white jackets look an an economy version of something from a country and western film, except the RFU (after their own considerable expenses)ran out of dosh to strap the tassles on.
    Also, for Steve Borthwick - who lead his team into battle with his bonnet on at a jaunty angle.

    Oh, and for all the bloggers saying that Cipriani was a let down/overrated etc. Here's the news - he didn't play in this years 6N. Doh!

  • Comment number 60.

    Most underrated performance.

    Wayne Barnes Wales v Ireland.

    Thought the refs generally had a good tournament, but Mr Barnes had a particuarly good game in what could have been a very difficult match.

    Credit where it is due.

  • Comment number 61.

    Biggest Joke of the Tournament Award - that as a Saffa, there's going to be a team of players from the 6N to take on the might of the BOKS! From this years tournament it looks like a 3-0 thrashing and the Lions will be despatched back to the northern hemisphere with a few lessons in modern day rugby.
    For extra comedy value, shove henson on the plane and as for shane williams, if he's lucky, Steyn will drop goal him through the posts.

  • Comment number 62.

    The I'm not fit to lace his boots award. Gav. take a bow...Are we seeing the re-emergence of "player power" that eventually removed mike ruddock of his post, rearing its ugly head again?

  • Comment number 63.

    Most unfortunate TV moment:

    Producer cuts to Martin Johnson, just as England get penalised for another avoidable offence.

    The England manager then yells an three-syllable obscenity that is so obvious, I'm convinced I actually heard it, even though there was no microphone on him.

    Brain Moore:
    "Its a good job that I can't lip read..."

    What do you say in such circumstances?

  • Comment number 64.

    The Lack of Respect Award.
    Goes to the RFU.

    Before the England Scotland game 30 Desert Rats were presented with medals earned during their service in Iraq.
    They entered the stadium marching behind a military band. The men marched and the band played all the way round the stadium. At least I think the band were playing because the whole of the time the guys were marching the PA system was belting out pop tunes, drowning out the band.
    Once the men were in position, the band still playing, the pop music was switched off and a series of adverts were played on the screens and over the PA.
    Only when Princess Anne came out did this racket stop.

    This from an organisation that warns spectators that to make any noise during a kick at goal is not in 'the spirit of rugby'.

    To rub salt in the wounds when eventually the PA system quietened the 'sound system' for the bands went on the blink.
    In addition I am sure i heard the announcer tell the crowd that the medals were for service in Afganistan.

    The Lets Inconvenience The Passengers Award
    Goes to those companies that planned so much track maintenance work last Saturday that caused so many trains to be cancelled.

    As for the rugby I was able to get tickets for England France as well as England Sotland.
    Are these English green shoots we can see?

  • Comment number 65.

    Generic_Poster_1:

    Wayne Barnes made the correct call, as long as there is a breakdown, or the opposition touch the ball in the 22 after it has been carried back in, then the ball can go straight out on the full.


    hearnoseenospeakno:

    Good point, although I don't think there can be any arguments that the least refereed law is a straight feed at the scrum.

  • Comment number 66.

    Most Annoying Rule Changes? The E.L.V.s, the breakdown is a bit of a minefield, we have full back ping pong because players can't kick it out on the full bringing it back inside there own 22, the rolling maul is completely gone form the game.... come on lads, if it ain't broke, don't fix it....because you're almost ignoring existing laws to try and enfore others, allowing encroachment at rucktime because the ref is too busy telling people to roll away and stay on their feet and no hands etc. The linesmen could possibly play a bigger role in playing the offside line?

  • Comment number 67.

    best commentator.

    Brian Moore
    =================================================================================================================================================
    how god awful were the others if he was the best??

  • Comment number 68.

    Best 'lost in translation moment'

    When it was announced in the Stade de France that after getting injured Jim Hamilton was "coming ou" in the middle of the first half.

  • Comment number 69.

    Best moment - Brian Moore humming "March of the Gladiators" during the England italy match

  • Comment number 70.

    Most un-patriotic, miserable little man: Jeremy Guscott. After the destruction of France during the 1st half he was asked, how do you rate England so far - "Different"

    Best email read out on BBC - from a 15 yr old girl named Orla from Dublin "Guscott - you know nothing - shut it"

    The I know nothing award - Guscott "Ireland will choke"

    The "I hate Guscott" award - Me

    The rabbit in the headlights award - France - vs England 1st half

  • Comment number 71.

    total80. Parisse was born in Argentina to an Italian mother and father. His natural skills were identified at an early age and he was sent to Italy to enhance them. L'Aquila I think and I also think his father (or maybe uncle) played/coached L'Aquila. It was always going to be Italy for him because of his fathers pride in their heritage.

  • Comment number 72.

    Biggest Rugby Ignoramus Award:

    Any armchair pundit who thinks Eddie Butler is Neutral, Knowledgeable and Researched or a good commentator in anyway. The guy got Care confused with Ellis for the opening five minutes of the England France game. C'Mon!!! There hadn't been any injuries, the game had just started, what happened to reading the team sheet Eddie?? He even thought it was Care after a number of tight shots on the scrumhalf! Also he prefers annunciating French names than talking about the rugby.

    Some armchair pundits need to spend more time in the armchair with those flappy things on the sides of their heads open methinks!

  • Comment number 73.

    The Best Coach of the tournament: Has to be Kidney! Look at the difference in "team spirit" of the Irish compared to last year.

  • Comment number 74.

    Eddie Butler = Neutral!!??!?!??

    "So how many will Wales win by" was one of Eddie's neutral questions. They are all partisan and myopic; that's what makes it such great viewing. I also think Moore is great value for money. I rarely agree with him, but he is always entertaining.

  • Comment number 75.

    Has anyone ever watched Sky coverage of rugby? Worst coverage from the BBC? Worst commentator in the form of Brian Moore? Try advert-ridden, rubbish-spouting "Tom Varndell can run the 100 in 10.8 seconds in his socks/how Doug Howlett loves to score tries" Stuart Barnes.

    The BBC offers uninterrupted coverage, with input from all nationalities (except Italian for some reason). It is perhaps shoddy at times, but super Saturday was 6 hours of pure rugby - no adverts and fully live. If you think you'd rather pay £45/month to watch it on Sky, why don't you watch it on the Rugby Club?

    I personally disagree with everything Jonathan Davies says - he is the most biased of all with no redeeming features (at least Eddie Butler has dulcet tones), Brian Moore refuses to watch the modern game from any other standpoint than those of the amateur 'glory years' and with utter disdain for any match official. However, the beauty of the commentary is that they are opinionated - and opinions are like a**eholes, everyone has one.

    I can't stand the talk-you-through-the-rules describing what's on screen commentary. People are moaning on this board about missing of action, but want greater analysis from the commentators. There'd be no time for rugby if we had Austin Healey describing every moment of the match with slow-mos and fancy imagery. Don't get me wrong, I love this aspect but in short interludes. Pub discussions between Eddie Butler and Brian Moore are what make the BBC coverage so organic; and there's always someone to disagree with.

    BBC blogs and coverage top notch. Tournament turned out a good'un. Ireland finally saw the light, got rid of Eddie O'Sullivan and won the tournament with 'boring' England-style rugby. Winning ugly is a tough thing to do these days with people crying out for expansive, flair rugby. My Irish flatmate is apparently vehemently against kicking and drop, which he was not afraid to share with me every match since November 22 2003. Boy how the boot is on the other foot now. It's a shame Ireland couldn't have got Kidney in sooner and they could've been the dominant force of Northern Hemisphere rugby rather than consistently failing to compete on the international scene with any sort of consistency.

    Biggest challenge to face any international side: British Lions vs. South Africa this summer. Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell are nothing in the face of pure South African talent in every position. They have the ability to shut these players down; if the Lions rely on the them, as Ireland have done, it's all over. The Lions need big-game players in every position, including 16-22. This simply means a larger English contingent than those offered by the BBC pundits.

    Worst hemisphere of rugby: Northern.

    Most obvious omissions from the pundits' Lions squads: Rikki Flutey and Delon Armitage (save for Keith Wood). Lee Byrne was average at best, the Wales ICs are one-dimensional at best (I'm refusing to acknowledge the divisive character that is Gavin Henson as a viable candidate), and Rob Kearney is as solid as Delon Armitage, but without the attacking options of the latter.

  • Comment number 76.

    'Award to all those armchair players who couldn't kick snow off a pixie'

    Goes to all those contributors who slagged Jones for missing that last minute penalty.
    This was not the same as casually kicking an empty Coke can into the gutter after a 5-min walk around to the local store.
    This 'miss' happened after 80 mins of one of the most gruelling match seen in a while.
    The pace, the committment, the hits, the control.
    And then to say . . 'he bottled it'.

    As an Irishman I was glad he missed.
    As an ageing sportsman I can empathise with the humanity involved.
    From Welsh supporters he should get better recognition.

    At moments like this you see the true value of a player.
    There is no God-given right to always succeed.
    Even the first superstar, Gabriel, succumbed to a Ronaldo moment, and fell to his destiny.

    So, step forward all you invincible, 24-stone, balletic, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-playing outhalfs who know what it's like to live in the turmoil that is international rugby . . . . . because Mr Gatland would like to have you sit on his bench for next season.


  • Comment number 77.

    "The Best Coach of the tournament: Has to be Kidney! Look at the difference in "team spirit" of the Irish compared to last year."

    Kidney?! Are you taking the p*ss?

    Actually I agree..I have just been hoping the opportunity would arise to say that...

    Best late shout for a Lions berth?

    The afore-mentioned Kidney!

  • Comment number 78.

    Since when has a 26-6 win been a "squeeze"?

  • Comment number 79.

    "We must put things in context - Italy haven`t won a 6 Nations match this year and it`s easy to look great in a bad team."

    How about this comment regarding Parise as the most ridiculous post of the week? Of course it's not easy to look 'great' in a bad team - Parise was simply excellent week-in, week-out and not by Italian standards but by any measure of excellence. Quite simply he'd be an automatic Lions choice at number 8 were he British or Irish.

  • Comment number 80.

    Most Oscar-worthy moment.

    Ronan "Hollywood" O'Gara's dive against Ryan Jones at the start of the Wales v. Ireland match.

    The name "Hollywood" seemed popular amongst fans from all four home nations I was in the pub with - even the Irish!

    We were all expecting a speech from him at the end to rival Kate Winslet's!

  • Comment number 81.

    PERSON MOST LIKELY TO HAVE SLEPT WITH THE COACHES WIFE: Josh Lewsey!

  • Comment number 82.

    number 13 is spot on about paddy wallace!!!
    and "banter9".......what on earth? both Paul O'Connell and Drico are in another league to parise[great player that he is]

  • Comment number 83.

    Best and Worst refereeing performances of the Tournament.
    Best is tricky as several worthy candidates. As pointed out above, Wayne Barnes did well with the final game, and Mark Lawrence should get a mention for an excellent job in the Fra/Wal match, but my vote would go to Nigel Owens for calm and assured handling of the Ire/Fra game on the first weekend, not least as he kept a feisty and ferocious game going completely fairly while still applying the laws. Give him more games next year.
    Worst is easier. How could anyone compete with Jonathan "I haven't got a clue, but I like what I do" Kaplan? Come on, I am English, but even my Welsh friends agreed he had a nightmare.
    Most predictable refereeing abdication? The hapless Stuart Dickinson playing "Blue-White-Blue-White..." with the scrums in the Eng/Fra game. I don't think we got a proper scrum till about the 60th minute!

  • Comment number 84.


    Fight we would most like to see:

    Brian Moore V Eddie Butler

    I thought they were disspointingly cordial this year.

    Pundit or commentator who is most neutral

    Sorry no winner of award this year

  • Comment number 85.


    Best slower down of the ball without getting caught:

    POC

  • Comment number 86.

    The 'Oops, I should have read the previous message' Award goes to me and apologies to dr.nightmare who did say sorry so I in turn apologise for having a go at him.
    The 'Worst Coverage' Award - BBC - pointless replays, poor timing (re: pre-match build-up for France v Wales - where was it?), 'experts' - why have so many?
    'Biggest Hype' Award - Gavin 'I'm so good it scares me' Henson - who wants his opinion anyway?
    'Worst Moment of the 6 Nations' - being kissed by so many Irish men (yes, MEN) when Ireland won the GS - no fit women around - poor show! I was in tears for lots of reasons!

  • Comment number 87.

    Biggest surprise- Looking at the final table and finding England in second place!

    Most partisan moment of commentary- Eddie Butler's dissapointment as O'Gara's drop goal goes over!

  • Comment number 88.

    Dropgoalangie, you know I would *swear* that Danny Cipriani started at least one of the autumn internationals. And went from white knight to right wally, hence his striking lack of presence even in the England squad. Instead of making Jonny Wilkinson look human, his contribution to Englands campaign was... approximately zero. Now if THAT isn't a let-down, what is????

  • Comment number 89.


    Tim_bid - have to disagree with you about Rob Kearney mate. He`s been Leinsters most offensive back all year (playing from full back). Ask any Leinster fan, he`s been shredding defenses all season, also great under a high ball. However Lee Byrne is still ahead of him in the pecking order for the Lions.

    The Irish game plan was much more forward-orientated with Fitzgerald and Kearney getting little opportunity to attack with ball in hand. Expect Kidney to work more on back play in the near future.

  • Comment number 90.

    Best 'Colemanballs' question..... from Mark Somebodyorother on Five Live on the Saturday evening after Ireland won the Grand Slam, when talking to an elderly Irish supporter...." Were you still alive when Ireland last won the Grand Slam?"

  • Comment number 91.

    Most dissapointing factor of the 6N- Scrums- This was just boring the amount of mistakes made in scrums.

    Best kicker- O'Gara, Yes he had his bad matches but overall he was the best.

    Best team- Ireland- a well disurved grand slam

    Biggest let down- England.

    Best commentator- Austin Healy- i only wish we could see him more, but maybe in the next 6N?

    Biggest shock- England being second and Wales eventually coming in 4th.

    Scariest moment- Being Irish i think that this has to be the penalty at the end of the Ireland-Wales match.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Best commentator: Eddie Butler
    The only commentator to come close to the great Bill McLaren. Knowledgeable, neutral and informative - an example to all in his profession"
    What!! The only thing in common is that he's a Celt!!

    IMHO he is very poor and not a patch on Brian Mooore, Nigel Starmer-Smith or John Inverdale.

    He made me laugh when he mistook Harry Ellis for " Danny Care" for the first 15 minutes of the last match until Moore had a quiet word in his shellike!


    Of cousre Sky have the best Rugby coverage but it does cost money!

  • Comment number 93.

    As far as the many comments regarding the BBC coverage go, unfortunately I have to agree that the coverage is just not up to scratch.

    For one thing it is some of the most biased analysis and commentary you are likely to hear (coming in second to ITV's coverage of ANY England soccer international!! Doesn't this performance just bring you back to '66???)

    Gusscot HAS to go. His sheer ignorance is unbelievable for someone who was such an amazing player in his day. And I must say, as an Irishman, Woods is letting the side down with some of the most shockingly cliched hyperbole I've heard, never mind for his Lions selection. Seriously Keith, Leamy at 8?? Armitage at full back???? Are you having a giraffe??? The boy armitage is a good player, but he is a BOY! I never even heard of him before the England Italy game. At least Kearney has been around for a year or two!

    If you want some in-depth analysis, decent commentary (check out Ryle Nugent and Tony Ward when O'Gara's drop kick goes over!) and alot of laughs then you should watch the rugby on RTE or at least have a look at the highlights on the website. George Hook (the hooky-monster), Brent Pope (popey) and Conor O'Shea (The toff) give a great analysis and believe me if any Irish player is under perfoming they are the first ones out with the scathing comments!

    Plus, Georges biblical quotations always go down a treat!!! :)

    But, when all is said and done, good blog Tom!

  • Comment number 94.

    most overrated player of 6n - delon armitage
    dont get me wrong fantastic potential and he is definatly 1 for the future but he is far from the next jason robinson. he contributed nothing to the england side apart from his 3 well taken tries and a good break againsy the french defense. to be perfectly blunt the idea that he should be taken on the lions tour is quite frankly laughable when the likes of byrne and kearney are in form.

  • Comment number 95.

    Dirtiest underpants - Paddy Wallace in the 89th minute in Cardiff

  • Comment number 96.

    Worst Coaching Decision;

    Whilst Bergamasco at 9 will go down in rugby folklore, shurely the Welsh decision to utilise arguably the best back division in the North by hoofing the ball up the middle in the hope that someone will drop it has to be up there.

  • Comment number 97.

    Ok, here goes.

    Look alike award to Simon Danielli - the spit of Mickey from League of Gentlemen

    Worst Commentator : Brian Moore by a mile and I'm English! granted England did'nt have a good tournament but it would have been nice for Mr. Moore to give them some credit for doing the odd thing right.

    Most surprising commentator : Johnathon Davies, previously so biased to the Welsh but this year much fairer - keep it up but please work on the voice!

    Biggest BBC mistake: Not taking a leaf out of ITV's book from the 2007 World Cup and accepting that your commentry team is poor and enlisting some help from Sky Greenwood, Barnes and Harrison would have made the coverage so much more listenable.

    The "I've not realised I'm playing the wrong sport for my limited talent award" : Chris Patterson, hasn't he realised that if he switched to American football he could get paid obsene amounts of money to do what he is good at i.e. kick simple kicks over the post. If I'm right there are no difficult kicks in US footie so he could keep his stats up without having to resort to letting Godman kick the hard ones.

    The "luckiest man to keep his place" award: Phil Vickery - say no more

    The "Biggest laugh" award : Wales came forth -4th- between 3rd and 5th, no as good as the winners, second or third team, only just better than Scotland, three places worse than last year.

    The "Where are all my mates?"award: any Scot who makes the Lions tour (if any do)

    Best Squad Selector : Martin Johnson for not giving into media pressure and picking pretty boy Ciprianni

    Finally and most importantly , "Best team" : Obviously Ireland. Again I'm English through and through but it was a pleasure to watch the Irish this year and good for the sport.

  • Comment number 98.

    WillyGilly

    Byrne and Kearney were over hyped and they under delivered.
    Armitage overdelivered. He has been a strong performer for LI for 3 or 4 seasons - not a newcomer.

    Thankfully the Lions are being selected by smart coaches - so I am certain he will go and the test place will be 50/50 between him and Byrne.

    Byrne would be a better player if he could stop that silly jump he does when he comes to a standstill before trying to beat someone.

  • Comment number 99.

    Player most commonly abused in the forums and harrassed in the media - yet still played a solid tournament - Gavin Henson.

  • Comment number 100.


    Henson
    played 3/5?
    marks 2/5

    Blew a try when tring to run through rather than drawing the man and passing - kind of a critical skill/judgement for a centre.

 

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