Six Nations: Wales flanker Dan Lydiate is player of the tournament

Wales flanker Dan Lydiate has been named Six Nations player of the tournament after a pivotal performance in their 2012 Grand Slam triumph.

Lydiate, who won man-of-the-match awards in wins over Scotland and France, took 25% of the 30,000 votes.

He beat Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who secured 12% of the vote, while Italian captain Sergio Parisse finished third with 11.6% of the vote.

"It's something I didn't expect to be honest," said 24-year-old Lydiate.

"The feeling of being a Grand Slam winner, I thought nothing could top that.

"To receive this award now I can't put words to it. I'm so happy and so chuffed.

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It tops off an amazing competition for me and for Wales

Dan Lydiate

"I looked at the trophy - you have Shane Williams and Brian O'Driscoll on there. Legends of the game. It seems strange for me to pick up the award. It's a massive honour to me.

"It's always nice to get pats on the back but I didn't expect anything like this.

"It tops off an amazing competition for me and for Wales."

"To be part of such a talented Wales team and win the Grand Slam in Cardiff on Saturday was incredible in itself but to then be voted player of the championship is absolutely unbelievable."

Wales dominated the Six Nations player shortlist as captain Sam Warburton, wing Alex Cuthbert and scrum-half Mike Phillips were nominated.

Scotland duo David Denton and Ross Rennie, French trio Julien Malzieu, Yoann Maestri and Imanol Harinordoquy and Ireland's Donnacha Ryan were also nominated.

All players winning man-of-the-match awards during the first four rounds of the Championship were automatically placed in contention for the award.

Lydiate's reputation was enhanced during the tournament for his number of big defensive hits culminating in an impressive display in Wales' 16-9 Grand Slam clinching triumph over France.

And Wales captain Sam Warburton hailed Lydiate's displays, especially against France.

"Dan in the French game was absolutely phenomenal," said Warburton.

"I think he has had games like that in the past but has never had the recognition for it.

"His tackle count and work in defence is always the best when you look at the stats after a game.

"I've never seen anybody in so much pain after a game. Afterwards his body is in a mess.

"He doesn't feel pain during a game - he has the heart of a lion."