Team of the Tournament

  • Mark Orlovac - BBC Sport journalist
  • 20 Mar 07, 01:45 PM

m_orlavac_6666.gifLondon - So after five weekends of thrilling action, the dust has settled on another Six Nations campaign.

Before the tournament started, our team of BBC Six Nations bloggers sat down to select a combined team of the tournament and we did the same three games in.

Now hostilities have come to an end, the votes have been painstakingly counted and we can exclusively reveal what we think is our definitive starting XV.

Triple crown winners Ireland provide six of the team, with champions France and Italy having four players apiece.

Youngster David Strettle is England's only selection while Wales and Wooden Spoonists Scotland miss out altogether.

Six players from the original team have kept their places, and interestingly five of them are in the pack.

Let us know what you think of our selections, what we've got right, what we've got wrong, and let us know how your Six Nations XV would look.

Team of the Tournament15: CLEMENT POITRENAUD (Fra) (selected by Gareth Lewis, James Standley, Rob Hodgetts, Mark Orlovac)
“The Frenchman was effective in attack, joining the line well, and solid enough in defence, though England exploited a few weaknesses” – Rob Hodgetts

“Not infallible in defence - see Scotland's first try on Saturday - but a silky runner who looks to be getting back to his best” – James Standley

Also received votes: Kevin Morgan (Wal) (Andrew Cotter, Bryn Palmer); Girvan Dempsey (Ire) (Phil Harlow, Sean Davies, Jim Stokes)

14: DAVID STRETTLE (Eng) (GL, BP, James S, RH, MO)
“Thrown into the cauldron of Croke Park against Ireland for his debut and handled the pressure superbly. He looks as if he has been playing on the international stage for years” – Mark Orlovac

“Makes the frame for his Twickenham debut against France. Hungry, pacy and a threat every time he got the ball” – Rob Hodgetts

Also received votes: Sean Lamont (Sco) (AC, PH); Shane Horgan (Ire) (SD); Vincent Clerc (Fra) (Jim S)

13: BRIAN O’DRISCOLL (Ire) (GL, AC, BP, James S, PH, SD, Jim S, MO)
“Not a vintage tournament for the Lions skipper but his influence on the Irish side cannot be understated” – Mark Orlovac

“Ireland’s captain was not quite at his brilliant best during this tournament, but still head and shoulders above any rivals for the position. His class allows those around him to operate at full throttle, while his defensive game is up there with the best in the world” – Phil Harlow

Also received votes: Yannick Jauzion (Fra) (RH)

12: GORDON D’ARCY (Ire) (All)
“The outstanding back of the championship. Not the biggest but has dazzling footwork and great vision in attack and pound for pound he hits as hard as most in defence” – James Standley

“Nobody else was close at inside centre. D’Arcy almost always crosses the gain-line, and you can’t have enough skilful, entertaining players like him in a team. A pleasure to watch” – Phil Harlow

11: VINCENT CLERC (Fra) (GL, SD) (Selected because he also received a vote for best No 14)
“Scored the try that ended Ireland's Grand Slam dream” – Gareth Lewis

“Just holds off the challenge of Shane Horgan who had a bad day against Scotland. Clerc has been a threat throughout” – Jim Stokes

Also received votes: Dominici (Fra) (AC); Chris Paterson (Sco) (BP); Sean Lamont (Sco) (James S); Denis Hickie (Ire) (RH, Jim S); Jason Robinson (Eng) (PH, MO)

10: RONAN O’GARA (Ire) (AC, BP, James S, PH, Jim S)
“The tournament's leading points-scorer. Tries, penalties, conversions. Just not quite enough of them” – Andrew Cotter

“David Skrela was a reassuring presence for France, but the Munsterman raised his game when it mattered” – Bryn Palmer

Also received votes: James Hook (Wal) (GL, RH); David Skrela (Fra) (MO, SD)

9: PIERRE MIGNONI (Fra) (GL, AC, BP, James S, SD, Jim S)
“Clever, resilient and pacy and kept the back-rows busy. Should have been used throughout the Championship” – Jim Stokes

“For his break on the final Saturday which set up Jauzion's try” – Gareth Lewis

Also received votes: Harry Ellis (Eng) (RH, PH); Alessandro Troncon (Ita) (MO)

“Italy’s success was very much based on their excellent pack, and Lo Cicero was at the heart of their forward effort. Never gave an inch in the scrum, and showed huge appetite in the rucks and mauls” – Phil Harlow

“What a selection of props Italy has! His absence from the Ireland game with flu doesn't detract from the rest of his tournament” – Andrew Cotter

Also received votes: Olivier Milloud (Fra) (James S, RH, Jim S, MO)

2: RAFAEL IBANEZ (Fra) (GL, AC, BP, James S, RH, PH, Jim S, MO)
“France will be thanking their lucky stars that the 34-year-old came out of international retirement. Provided superb leadership, and was a real menace with ball in hand, while his throwing was a key part of the best line-out unit in the tournament” – Phil Harlow

“The evergreen championship winning skipper survived a monstrous Alix Popham tackle without even blinking” – Gareth Lewis

Also received votes: Rory Best (Ire) (SD)

3: CARLOS NIETO (Ita) (James S, RH, Jim S)
“An uncompromising tight-head with a penchant for the grittier aspects of the game. A formidable scrummager and bloodthirsty defender who leads Italy from the front – literally” – Rob Hodgetts

“Italy have unearthed a front row to compete with anyone and Nieto was an admirable deputy for Martin Castrogiovanni” – James Standley

Also received votes: Sylvain Marconnet (Fra) (GL); Martin Castrogiovanni (Ita) (AC, MO); John Hayes (Ire) (BP, PH); Pieter de Villiers (Fra) (SD)

4: MARCO BORTOLAMI (Ita) (BP, RH, MO, AC, James S, Jim S)
“Paul O'Connell had a monstrous game against England but was otherwise muted. Bortolami was superb throughout” – Bryn Palmer

“The Italian captain is a pain in the neck – in a good way. Bortolami is an imposing line-out presence, a thunderous tackler and enjoys a good romp in the loose. Wales’ Alun Wyn-Jones also had a good series but was shaded by Bortolami’s magnetism” – Rob Hodgetts

Also received votes: Martin Corry (Eng) (GL); Lionel Nallet (Fra) (PH, SD)

5: PAUL O’CONNELL (Ire) (GL, RH, MO, James S, Jim S)
"The critics were on his back but he showed how much heart he has by producing a ferocious display against England" - Mark Orlovac

"The Irishman is developing into a true warrior and the Irish line-out is a shadow of itself when he’s not there. O’Connell is a talismanic force for his forwards and helps the Irish pack become greater than the sum of their parts" - Rob Hodgetts

Also received votes: Alun-Wyn Jones (Wal) (BP, PH, SD); Nathan Hines (Sco) (AC)

“A breakdown bandit that infuriated the opposition; also proved his fitness and support skills in the rout in Rome” – Bryn Palmer

“The Irishman comes out on top after a consistent tournament as a member of a formidable back-row” – Rob Hodgetts
Also received votes: Serge Betsen (Fra) (AC, James S, MO); Mauro Bergamasco (Ita) (Jim S)

7: DAVID WALLACE (Ire) (AC, BP, James S, RH, PH, SD, Jim S, MO)
“Everywhere for Ireland. Up there with the very best in world rugby” – Andrew Cotter

“Pace to burn, reads the play beautifully and always first on the scene at the breakdown, Wallace is integral to Ireland’s success” – James Standley

Also received votes: Mauro Bergamasco (Ita) (GL)

8: SERGIO PARISSE (Ita) (GL, AC, BP, James S, RH, Jim S, MO)
“Strong and athletic he has been the real find of the Championship” – Jim Stokes

“The Italian shades a competitive division with a combination of brute force, an appetite for the ball and an eagerness to get involved at the breakdown” – Rob Hodgetts

Also received votes: Denis Leamy (Ire) (PH, SD)

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:36 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Mutt wrote:

Not going to nitpick about team selection, but wasn't Chris Paterson the tournaments leading points scorer? Or did he just beat the Scottish tournament points record? 61? 65? something like that?

  • 2.
  • At 05:38 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • coops18 wrote:

Good line up, there can't be too many real complaints about that - though I think Jason Robinson should get in at 11.

Ellis, Leamy, Dempsey, Wyn Jones and Castrogiovanni are all victims of very close calls, so could probably count themselves as in the 'championship squad'. Was impressed by Skrela and Corry as well.

  • 3.
  • At 05:40 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • AodhODuinn wrote:

If flannery was fit, he would have made a difference to Ireland, for his line out alone. Ireland for revenge against France in paris in sept, then the french to knock the all blacks out on a back-lash...

  • 4.
  • At 05:49 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Lewis wrote:

Can't argue with the forwards though surprised Taylor and Chabal weren't in the frame.

Sean Lamont and Horgan were the best wingers by a mile.

Strettle was good against france (and the french didn't even show up that day) but that was about it - How can you include him, especially when you justify excluding Horgan on the basis of just one bad game in which nobody played well?

Would of included Paterson for his goalkicking too (although i'm not sure in what position) especially after ROG's misses against Italy and how important they turned out to be.

  • 5.
  • At 05:57 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Jackraskal wrote:

1: Lo Cicero
2: Ibanez
3: Nieto
4: Nallet
5: O'Connell
6: Wallace
7: Rees
8: Parisse
9: Ellis
10: Skrela
11: Hickie
12: Darcy
13: O'Driscoll
14: Strettle
15: Dempsey

I no that Wallace is out of position and is usually an openside but I couldn't split Rees and Wallace. They where both world class and no blindside really impressed me. Plus I have seen Wallace play blindside for Munster in the past (though he is a natural openside).

  • 6.
  • At 05:58 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Simon Evans wrote:

Mostly agree with that but not even a mention in voting for Martyn Williams ? Alun-Wyn Jones just shaded as he was Wales' player of the tournament

  • 7.
  • At 05:58 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Steve Smith wrote:

I'm inclined to agree with Mike Cleary in the Telegraph who goes for Jason Robinson.

Is there also a question mark about the front row - the Italians sometimes relied on 4 props per game,so were the performances of the duo picked watered down by that fact, especially as Cleary's team picks a third Italian prop?

Agree with O'Gara overall - let's see how James Hook develops in a pressure situation which England didn't create at the weekend.

  • 8.
  • At 05:59 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Ronan wrote:

I would have to say, that you've done a good job in that team selection. Excellent Italian props & back-bone, Irish back-row, & a great leader hooking.

Backs almost write themselves. I think that Strettle really was the find of the tournament.

Of the nearly's, Allesandro Troncon, Girvan Dempsey & Sean Lamont had fine tournaments, and would consider themselves unlucky not to be in this team.

I wonder how this 15 would stand up in comparison to the All-Blacks. Thank God the AB's always bottle it at the World Cup, or there'd only ever be the one winner.

  • 9.
  • At 06:03 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • steve wrote:

How can you leave out the leading try scorer from the starting line?

  • 10.
  • At 06:04 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • steve wrote:

How can you leave out the leading try scorer from the starting line up?

  • 11.
  • At 06:06 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • CC wrote:

Pretty spot on in my opinion.

I would go for Morgan at FB, Poitrenaud is still too flaky for top class international rugby.

Glad Easterby got the nod, he is such a class and consitent performer and his link up play against Italy was a great contrast to how he ruled the breakdown against Wales.

4 Italians in the Pack! - Parrise is an awesome find for this year

  • 12.
  • At 06:09 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Owain Chick wrote:

Martin Williams must be the most under rated player on the planet!

He's top notch! Always first man there!

  • 13.
  • At 06:16 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Aled wrote:

Can't belive Popham didn't even get a vote! and that Paul O'Connell got in ahead of A.W. Jones after one immense game against England he was fairly poor for the rest of the Championship and missed the last game through injury. Horgan has also got to be in ahead of Strettle, as great a talent as he is Horgan scored more tries, created more and played more games. Other than that I agree with the selction fully. Also, I would like to add that even though Poitrenaud fully deserves his place as the best FB it strikes me the lack of talent and calibre of player who play in that position for each nation and that this is probably the weakest area of the 6N with regards to personnel on show. Can't belive Kevin Morgan got some votes - wot a one trick pony at internatinal level if I ever saw 1 he just catches it and hoists an up and under!

  • 14.
  • At 06:25 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • steve wrote:

England don't get carried away with Strettle. At the minute he's a one hit wonder and one to watch for the future, the only englishman who should be included is Robinson, back from retirement - 4 games 4 try's - in a terrible english side

  • 15.
  • At 06:27 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • The Trin wrote:

No major complaints about that, other than: -

* Maybe Horgan in for Strettle..... sorry England! I think Horgan's physicality, aerial skills and ability to offload out of the tackle have been VITAL to the success of Ireland's backline.

* Paul O'Connell is probably picked based on reputation and A-W Jones could count himslef unlucky

  • 16.
  • At 06:31 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Graeme Harrington wrote:

I think that Hickie had a great tournement. Look at the tackle against Scotland and attacking was better than he has been for a while. otherwise cannot complain, generally good selection. Wallace was my player of the tournement only just ahead of D'Arcy.

  • 17.
  • At 06:33 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Derek Fallon wrote:

My Team:

Same Pack as above. Don't think O'driscoll played enough to get into the team. He missed out against France, and was taken off against Wales and Italy. But Ireland definately missed his leadership. Strettle did well but to have him in instead of Horgan? Eh I think not.

Interesting to see if a Lions team picked today would be all Irish?....

  • 18.
  • At 06:40 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Massif Heed wrote:

From a Scottish perspective, hardly anyone comes close to a team of the tournament. However, I'm very surprised Simon Taylor didn't receive votes for the back row. He was excellent all championship, outstandingly consistent, and after a run of injuries is finally developing towards being considered a world class player.
Sean Lamont recovered well from his abysmal first game against England. That's it from us I'm afraid!

P.S. Hines shouldn't have received votes over Murray - you only realise how much Scotland need Scott Murray when he's not there eg against England in the opening game. Al Kellock is an able replacement for Hines, no-one can replace Murray.

  • 19.
  • At 06:43 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • cac wrote:

agree with all, but strettle?? great performances but not the best 14 of the tournament.

  • 20.
  • At 06:46 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • dai wrote:

not sure how you could leave out kevin morgan, dwayne peel and maybe hook who i think proved themselves despite an unlucky tournament. then again i am obviously biased ;-)

  • 21.
  • At 06:47 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

Much the same except perhaps Paterson or James Hook at fly-half - leaning more towards Paterson for the goal-kicking. Incredible how the team is all but made up from three teams - and I wouldn't even have included Strettle, with Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie both with better claims.

  • 22.
  • At 06:56 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • John Tyrrell wrote:

Vincent Clerc and POITRENAUD? come on. Hickie and Dempsey were far more threatening in attack overall and certainly Dempsey was head and shoulders above Clement at fielding the high ball.
Strettle just about deserves his place above Horgan.
The rest of the selection above looks solid, but including Clerc and Poitrenaud just reeks of making sure the 6 nations champions were suitably represented.
Ireland were the best team in the Championship, and Hickie and Dempsey deserve their inclusion.

  • 23.
  • At 07:02 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

You may be interested to know, as an expert, that Scotland weren't "wooden spoonists".

  • 24.
  • At 07:12 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • rory wrote:

almost perfect but i can't ever see strettle nonchantly push a kiwi out of his path. you can be sure that horgan is the man for that! and don't expect the kiwi wingers to be perfect gentlemen in pursuit of the scores. tit-fot-tat i say!

  • 25.
  • At 07:16 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • dugs07 wrote:

Can't agree more with Parisse at no8. He was a constant threat, head and shoulders above the rest.
On current form I would put him as the best No8 in the world.

  • 26.
  • At 07:18 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • thomas wrote:

John Tyrell, if Ireland were the best team in the tournament, why didn't they win?!
I have to disagree about Nieto, he was dominated in the first match and Castrogiovanni proved himself to be a far better prop. Personally I also thought that O'Connell didn't do enough but it's a good team overall.

  • 27.
  • At 07:18 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Marty wrote:

11: VINCENT CLERC (Fra) (GL, SD) (Selected because he also received a vote for best No 14)
“Scored the try that ended Ireland's Grand Slam dream” – Gareth Lewis

No need for it lads, no need. Poor justification.
Denis Hickie should be there.

  • 28.
  • At 07:22 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Greg wrote:

I think a pretty good selection at the top of this article. A couple of issues though:
1. ROG - I think the Kiwis and Aussies are right when they say he is a lemon. Great when he is protected, but awful flaky when he isn't. Even when protected, a liability in defence. I think Wilkinson has shown that fly halves today must be able to tackle; certainly looking at the young talent (bar Ian Humpreys)in Europe, this seems to be a consistent point - even the tiny Ryan Lamb tackles like a centre. Deep down, I think ROG lacks spine and whilst he has had a good tournament, to turn a blind eye to his glaring deficiencies is a mistake - they have been on show too often when the heat is on. For this reason, I would have plmped for Skrela with Hook a late contender.

2. Great call on Bortolami - I think too many underrate this guy. He, Thion and O'Connell the standard setters at the moment.

3. Surprised at Harry Ellis not being the first choice scrum half - he was England's only consistent source of imagination and go forward, all the more impressive given that he played behind a variety of No. 8's and often behind one going sideways or backwards!

Looking to the World Cup, I have been touting France for 3 years now as I genuinely believe that France has the greatest pool of talent to pick from; they have some sensational players across teh park bar depth at fly half. That said, I think French rugby will be that much better off without Laporte. However, for teh time being, I have come up with this summation: "France are an unbelievably talented side that steadfastly refuse to consistently play to their abilities". There you go, my excuse come November ready made!

  • 29.
  • At 07:24 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Ceri wrote:

Wouldn't really complain about most selections, there were plenty of good players on show if very few good teams, but think that Strettle and Ellis vastly over-rated- Strettle had a few good runs, but much less impact and effectiveness than Horgan or Lamont, and I think people are makingthe mistake of judging Ellis on a few good breaks- a lot more to scrum-half than that, and he just is not good enough at international level

  • 30.
  • At 07:30 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Brian Molko wrote:

Where is Andy Farrell?

  • 31.
  • At 07:46 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Jordan wrote:


Tom Rees at 7? really? He had a fantastic game against the French but was completely outclassed by Martyn Williams in Cardiff.

David Wallacehas been the most outstanding forward this season. Has to be first choice at openside.

Overall, the BBC team is pretty fair. My main contentions would be how Skrela was not picked at 10 (notice how England gained the ascendancy when he left the field at Twickenham) and 11-15 has to be entirely Irish.

Gordon D'Arcy without any doubt the player of the tournament. Rarely failed to break the gain line; formidable in defence and at the breakdown; and that half volley pass that made Dempsey's try against England was the play of the season.

  • 32.
  • At 07:48 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Jordan wrote:


Tom Rees at 7? really? He had a fantastic game against the French but was completely outclassed by Martyn Williams in Cardiff.

David Wallacehas been the most outstanding forward this season. Has to be first choice at openside.

Overall, the BBC team is pretty fair. My main contentions would be how Skrela was not picked at 10 (notice how England gained the ascendancy when he left the field at Twickenham) and 11-15 has to be entirely Irish.

Gordon D'Arcy without any doubt the player of the tournament. Rarely failed to break the gain line; formidable in defence and at the breakdown; and that half volley pass that made Dempsey's try against England was the play of the season.

  • 33.
  • At 08:06 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

The 1st of the non-latin teams overepresented as usual (dude, it's the BBC)...although unusually the Italians are as usual France is given what's left...and as usual they don't mind because they're champions...

A tad harsh to exclude Hook/Skrela. O'Gara was consistent but nothing spectacular. Easterby and Wallace, nothing to shout about. Betsen and Bonnaire got France their defence and lineout clicking which was a big part of them being champions. O'Driscoll makes it on reputation, we didnt see that much of him. O'Connell was disappointing at times. Nallet was immense throughout. But really my only complaint is not seeing Andy Farrell at 12. His prestation was, er, illuminating.

  • 34.
  • At 08:14 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Jeff Smith wrote:

Wouldn't it be great to see this team against the best of the Southern Hemisphere players in a North Vs South game?

  • 35.
  • At 08:16 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • edd wrote:

I Dont thin strettle shud be there, agree that most of the players are french irish or italian as they were the best teams, mabye a little harsh not 2 have Alun Wyn Jones in there... if the results ahd gone wales's way people wud be raving about him, still a great talent unearthed

  • 36.
  • At 08:21 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Ed2003 wrote:

The selected 15 is fair enough. These things are always hard to judge because average players are made to look good when playing in good teams and vice versa.

Strettle or Horgan take your pick really. For me Strettle has impressed literally every time he has had ball in hand so I think he just edges it.

What you have to remember is that most of the time Horgan or Hickie recieve the ball they are already in yards of space with the defence on the retreat. Also, since when has the amount of tries scored become the measure by which players are judged? Most tries which wingers score are just finishing off a team move.

  • 37.
  • At 08:22 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Mike wrote:

I have to agree with most of the people in the ream of the six nations, but it is hard to see that some players go a mention when they were OK at best. I am Welsh but a think Mr K Morgan cant do it for Wales and seeing him voted for ,when Martin Williams had none. Shocking. That also goes for Alix Popham who was so good for Wales. Stood out as Wales best.

Would have liked to see Sean Lamont in the staring 15 but you cant have everything. Who would have guessed in January that Italy would have 4 in the starting team with another 3 waiting in the wings. Well done Italy

  • 38.
  • At 08:24 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Jackraskal wrote:

Jordan agree with alot you say and you obviously know what your talkin about but Reesy was in a pack goin back and still was the England stand out player against Wales. UI agree totally with the fact that Darcy is player of the tornament. But I can't think of any blindsides. Any sugestions Jordan?

  • 39.
  • At 08:30 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Peter L wrote:

Pretty good team though I feel Horgan would be a better bet than Strettle!

  • 40.
  • At 08:38 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

1. lo Cicero
2. Ibanez
3. De Villiers
4. Alun Wyn Jones
5. O'connell
6. Betsen
7. Wallace
8. Parisse
9. Troncon
10. O'Gara
11. Strettle
12. Darcy
13. O'driscoll
14. Clerc
15. Poitrenaud

  • 41.
  • At 08:38 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • dafyd wrote:

these always create good debate, in the backs i agree that robinson should have been in - a strike rate of a try per match. think lamont would gain a place on the bench for his powerful running and all round game, wish we had a winger like him in the wales side, one of ours is a greedy glory hunter who needs to think more of the team. in the forwards i would have included john hayes at tight for his scrummaging and work at the ruck/maul - he does what a prop should be doing!! also simon taylor maybe for the back row for some thumping tackles and never say die attitude - a cert for the lions in south africa

  • 42.
  • At 08:43 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • McZinzan wrote:

Being Scottish I like to be pedantic, so.....according to the stats, the Scots were the best line-out unit of the championship, not the French, although I would would not contend that they should be part of the team! Strettle's selection is a joke in front of Robinson, Horgan and even Lamont, who all worked their socks off through the whole championship.
I too think ROG is over-rated and Scotland were the only side to target him directly in a game and it showed in the Irish performance. The Kiwis will not be so forgiving should they meet in France! I also think the French back division would have more players in the team if Laporte had not used so many! Jauzion in particular is at least as good as Darcy.

  • 43.
  • At 08:52 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Chris Bayliss wrote:

What an interesting set of selections, and I would scarcely argue with any of them, even though a couple are pretty marginal. I think Jauzion was good and might have made the team if France had been a little more adventurous, especially against England.
It says something that Italy have far more players selected than England, but their forwards were certainly excellent. Like several other people, I'm especially glad Parrise is in, I thought he was outstanding in every game and probably the player of the tournament - can't we find him a qualification for England?!

  • 44.
  • At 09:29 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Peter L wrote:

36 McZinzan
target him they did with late hits and sly off the ball stuff!!!!

  • 45.
  • At 09:53 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Robert Brown wrote:

Sean Lamont should be in the team, there is no better player in the 6 nations at breaking through the line.

He should be first pick, although probably the only Scottish pick, with maybe Simon Taylor on the bench,

  • 46.
  • At 09:59 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • kav086 wrote:

for goodness sake, as well as strettle did play in the 3 games he was in (1 good move against ireland) surely he didnt deserve to get in ahead of horgan or lamont?

  • 47.
  • At 10:06 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • kav086 wrote:

for goodness sake, as well as strettle did play in the 3 games he was in (1 good move against ireland) surely he didnt deserve to get in ahead of horgan or lamont?

  • 48.
  • At 10:10 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Robert Brown wrote:

Sean Lamont should be in the team, there is no better player in the 6 nations at breaking through the line.

He should be first pick, although probably the only Scottish pick, with maybe Simon Taylor on the bench,

  • 49.
  • At 10:11 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

" * 1.
* At 05:36 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
* Mutt wrote:

Not going to nitpick about team selection, but wasn't Chris Paterson the tournaments leading points scorer? Or did he just beat the Scottish tournament points record? 61? 65? something like that?"

Think must've been the Scottish tournament record. I've said enough on these blogs, ROG was top points scorer as mentioned above - 4 tries (joint with Robinson), top scored in all his games etc etc...

  • 50.
  • At 10:18 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • spencer wrote:

Although o'gara did play well throughout the six nations im suprised james hook isn't there. He proved against England that he is as the commentators were saying, He's a old head on young shoulders. His place and out of hand kicking thoughout kept England under presure.

Also another player people don't seem to rate much. Tom shanklin. He sets such a high standard every game no-one realises how good he is.

Martyn williams i think was probably better than easterby but easterby was good. tough call.

  • 51.
  • At 10:18 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Brian Crowley wrote:

Andy Farell???
That's oviously a comment just to wind people up.
Dennis Hickie was the player of the tornament for me. Think that tackle on Lamont. Think pace. Do you remember him covered in so much of his own blood that he couldn't see and he still managed to get tackles in before play stopped?

  • 52.
  • At 10:30 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • spencer wrote:

Although o'gara did play well throughout the six nations im suprised james hook isn't there. He proved against England that he is as the commentators were saying, He's a old head on a young body. His place and out of hand kicking thoughout kept England under presure.

Also another player people don't seem to rate much. Tom shanklin. He sets such a high standard every game no-one realises how good he is.

Martyn williams i think was probably better than easterby but easterby was good. tough call.

  • 53.
  • At 10:36 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Brian Crowley wrote:

Andy Farell???
That's oviously a comment just to wind people up.
Dennis Hickie was the player of the tornament for me. Think that tackle on Lamont. Think pace. Do you remember him covered in so much of his own blood that he couldn't see and he still managed to get tackles in before play stopped?

It's hilarious the amount of folk on here saying how surprised they are that certain Welsh players didn't get the vote. Come on now, lads. Wales were on the cusp of winning the wooden spoon. A bit of perspective here.

  • 55.
  • At 11:55 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

I think Dempsey earned a place at fullback and would have picked Skrela and AW Jones/one of the French locks instead of O'Gara and O'Connell respectively. Otherwise agree. Player of the tournament David Wallace.

  • 56.
  • At 12:09 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Andrew Lo Cicero?

Strettle's selection is nonsense. Horgan was head and shoulders above him.

  • 57.
  • At 12:14 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • dafr wrote:

I know as a pair, you don't get better than D'Arcy and O'Driscoll, but Tom Shanklin? A class player. Like Shane Horgan, their defencive play is amazing. Robinson had a good 6 nations finishing everything.
A Wyn Jones? can't get better, while O'Connell was average for what he can do. Really impressed with H.Ellis, stuck out with a pack under so much pressure.

  • 58.
  • At 12:24 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ryan Cullen wrote:

The team is pretty much right for me...not sure bout Poitrenaud or Bortolami, would have Dempsey and Alun Wyn Jones personally, however that is not my point.

You look at that team and you ask many would even get into the New Zealand team...O'Driscoll and Darcy perhaps, O'Connell maybe and Wallace at a push alhto the NZ back row is quite truly awesome. Apart from those few players nobody else could really put up a reasonable argument for me anyway. Does this scare everybody else as much as it does me for the prospects of the world cup when the sum of Europe's talent can barely compare with New Zealand's emabarassment of riches.

  • 59.
  • At 12:26 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Rick wrote:

Troncon, Hickie, Jauzion, at 9,11,13 respective.
Strettle wouldnt be there for me either, probly will next year though!

  • 60.
  • At 12:31 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ryan Cullen wrote:

Sorry forgot to mention...James Hook at fly-half. App people think one performance against a none too impressive England team qualifies him for the team of the tournament. He without doubt is a talented player and the Paterson calls are absolute rubbish. Paterson is a great goal kicker, however without that he really isn't even in the same league as the others for me, light weight and doesn't really break the line on a regular basis. Severely overrated.

  • 61.
  • At 05:54 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ben Morgan wrote:

Strettle is of course in there as tokenism? I must have missed half the games then because I don't remember him doing much apart from looking fast. Sure he has promise but team of the tournament? Don't make me laugh. Not even a mention from anyone for Martyn Williams or Alix Popham either? They've been as good as anyone on the flanks in this tournament and frequently playing without much help from anyone else.

I've no real objection to Wallace or Easterby, they were both good too but not even in the "others receiving votes" part? Ridiculous. I'd say categorically Martyn Williams has been the best openside in this tournament and Popham has been right up there with Easterby or anyone else you'd care to mention.

O'Connell seems to be in on reputation as by his standards he's been pretty inconsistent. He was comfortably outplayed in Cardiff by 21 yr old Alun Wyn-Jones playing out of position, that should at least cancel out his stormer against England.

Perhaps your lot only watched England's games though.

  • 63.
  • At 07:56 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Fair enough i suppose. However if one was to pick a six nations team today to play new zealand would parisse honestly be ahead of leamy and would strettle be ahead of shane horgan. I'm english so this isn't any form of bias on my part. Serge Betsen would probably get the nod over easterby also.

  • 64.
  • At 08:00 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Dom wrote:

I would take out clerc and put robertson (Italys winger) in. If he was getting good ball he is an brillant zippy player.

  • 65.
  • At 08:10 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

Can't disagree with many of the selections (without putting my Welsh goggles!) but isn't Gordon D'Arcy the most over-rated player in the SN?

One try this season to add to his burgeoning tally of 3 - I know a centre does so much more but BO'D controls games, D'Arcy drifts in and out.

An average SN with few World Class performers (hence so many Italians in the XV, they did only finish 4th); Skrela was immense for France and should be in; Strettle is in because he is English (did he come to Cardiff??); Farrell in for D'Arcy (well you started it!) and Ellis is unlucky to miss out as was a constant threat for England.

And for Wales? AWJ and Popham unlucky but fair... but if Corry gets close then things are getting silly!

  • 66.
  • At 08:45 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Louis Parperis wrote:

Wyn Jones

I think this is the only team to satisfy the blinkered chauvinism of a significant proportion of those posting to this site. The fact that, both as a team and as individuals, the Welsh players weren't good enough is already being discounted by the myopic Taffia. The best team of the tournament, which managed to overcome the enormous handicap of the most bizarre coach in world rugby, was France by some distance. They did a number on Ireland not because of the last minute or so of one game, but because the focus and composure of the team was undimmed throughout. In Gordon Darcy, Ireland had the stand out player of the tournament, but the team looked sub-standard against both Wales and Scotland and seemed unable to adjust its game plan to cope with what was happening on the pitch and had referees been more accurate in penalising the Irish forwards for entering rucks & mauls from the side, both games would have been lost. Kiwi forwards won't worry too much about referees missing infringements - they'll sort matters out for themselves, nor will O'Driscoll be accorded the deferential respect shown to him by the Home Nations' centres once Ireland meet any of the southern hemisphere teams. Based on what we've just seen, a long overdue second RWC is destined for the Land of the Long White Cloud, unless Monsieur Laporte joins the and of the living.

  • 67.
  • At 08:46 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • LeXVdeRob wrote:

For all those complaining about the selection, it's just a very difficult choice to make, I think it's a fairly good 6N team. I'm French but I wouldn't have gone for Poitrenaud, he can be a very good runner, but he worries me in defence, he's lost us a few games in the past, we need Blanco back or something. I would have gone for Hickie or Morgan.

I think Strettle is over-rated, players will have figured him out by now, he's like J Robinson, he's good on the wing with some pace, but otherwise he'll just sidestep to no avail and dive into the forwards. He's also very annoying and I think he will be a target for hard tackles and possible injuries if he is chosen for the WC. I know BOD is untouchable, but he didn't impress during this edition, maybe he is good at leading Ireland, whatever his performances, but I'd like to see him lead French and Italians.

You can't argue with the forwards selection, unless you base yourself on Wales' last match.

Anyway, it was a very close tournament, I'd be curious to see what would happen if we started a new 6N in a couple of weeks...

  • 68.
  • At 08:52 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

Close to my ideal team, so no complaints. I would say that a number of people posting on this board appear to have quite a narrow field of view about their own nations players...

A statement like "I'd say categorically that Martyn Williams has been the best openside in this tournament..." suggests blinkers worthy of the Grand National. Martyn Williams is a good player, but David Wallace, Mauro Bergamasco and Serge Betsen all have much better claims to the team.

  • 70.
  • At 09:17 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

Thats a good team and probably the only thing i would say is thast Hickie deserves a spot. That being said the two wingers picked did have a great tournament. Who do the pundits reckon for player of the tournament. Wallace and d'Arcy i cannot separate

  • 71.
  • At 09:18 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Simon P wrote:

I like the team. Just about what i would have picked with, perhaps, room for Lamont on a wing and Kevin Morgan at FB.
Honorable mentions for Wyn-Jones and Leamy. Interesting that back 5 of the scrum is a real pool of strength in the NH i think.
What about a new game - Lions vs NH non-Lions (Fra & Ita)

  • 72.
  • At 09:21 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

This team has obviously been chosen with team performances masking individual performances. Martyn Williams the Welsh flanker was outstanding throughout the tournamount obviously the irish flankers played well but that is too easy when you have a good team behind you. The Welsh front five looked shakey in almost all performances bar at the millenium statium against England. For Williams still to perform well without a platform is a true hard fought performance.
How can D'Arcy be justified against the tried and tested Yannik Jauzion who makes the other French backs look plain no competition between the two, is he there simply to complete the pairing with o'Driscoll? Crazy selection.
Also being English there is no reason i would pick Strettle over Horgan who had a blistering tournamount. Strettle played well in his games but no better than Lamont in his or even clerc.

  • 73.
  • At 09:26 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • coops18 wrote:

Jees judging by some of the comments here you would think that the Welsh won the championship! Sorry but overall there were four better sides than you.

Having said that, Popham, M Williams, Peel, Hook and Mark Jones all had good tournaments - everyone except Hook missed out because they were shaded by two or three players in very competitive positions, whilst I reckon Hook might have been pushing if he had played more than one game at 10.

Re Post 29:
Ellis and Strettle overrated?! Perhaps you failed to see how Ellis still provided good service and made breaks even when playing behind a pack that was often going backwards - I think Mignioni edges him as 1st choice 9, but he would be the Lions scrum half based on the tournament.

Strettle on the other hand is not the finished article, but it is very difficult to overrate his talent. He made yards every time he got the ball and stood up well in tackles - he is more of a threat than Horgan or Lamont with the ball in hand, although both of them impressed as well.

  • 74.
  • At 09:34 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • griff wrote:

Wheres Mike Tindall, an astute rugby brain,great outside break,pass off either hand,pace to burn and game breaker of the highest order...YES-I'm JOKING

  • 75.
  • At 09:37 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Michael Ryan wrote:

Forgive me if I am wrong but the team selected seems to show a short term memory lapse on the part of the selector. Although Wales had a disastrous six nations i seem to remember Ireland's back row being played of the park as were England's by the welsh i.e. Martyn Williams, it was not easy to perform to his incredibly high standards as part of a retreating pack at times but still head and shoulders better than anyone else in his position in the Northern Hemisphere. Kevin Morgan was superb played on to half time with a broken jaw always sound under the high ball, a corner stone in defence and instrumental in many an attack.

Do not mind our players being totally underated though as they always are (Tom Shanklin the best player on Lion's tour prior to injury). As this can only have a positive result with them going out to prove a point when it comes to the World Cup. The team of so called nobody's will become somebody's.

Was Strettle actually playing against Wales because I did not see him as per many members of the Irish side when they came to the millenium the only difference that day was one Brian O'Driscoll otherwise Ireland would have been beaten i am sure of.

  • 76.
  • At 09:41 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • patrick wrote:

In reposne to 65..

D'Arcy the most over-rated player in the 6N? He was the stand-out back all tournament, even when Ireland weren't playing well he was. He has far more influence on directing Irish play these days than BoD, he provides go forward ball and he controls the defensive line.
As for half-back there was only two that truely delivered. Mignoni and the auld boy Troncon.

  • 77.
  • At 09:43 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • chief wrote:


whats ridiculous is that welsh are still one eyed enough to think that their wooden spoon wonders should get in a team of the tournament. Wales were a joke.

  • 78.
  • At 09:49 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mick wrote:

Not a bad selection.

I think Martyn Williams, Alun Wyn Jones, Simon Taylor, Sean Lamont, Harry Ellis, Jason Robinson, Serge Betsen, Imanol Harinordoquoy, Christophe Dominici, Shane Horgan and Dennis Hickie all had excellent tournaments and could easily have scraped in.

I think had Hook started at fly half, he might have been there, but O'Gara scored 4 tries and bar the Italian game kicked perfectly, so his choice is probably fair.

Great six nations. I don't think any team played consistently well, but it made for very exciting stuff.

Roll on the world cup. Hopefully the NH rugby can pull a few surprises like last time.

  • 79.
  • At 09:51 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Beef wrote:

Strettle?? Cant be serious. Lamont, Horgan, Robinson and Hickie all ahead of him. To those touting Hook, one game and out half is not enough to get that position in a team of the tournament! Skrela, O'Gara is a close call but ROG prob just shades it.
Stuart #65, Gordon D'arcy is arguably the best centre in world rugby at present. You abviously know SFA about Rugby to suggest he is overrated. Centre is all about breaking the gain line and putting your team on the front foot. D'arcy does this every time.

  • 80.
  • At 09:51 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Some really insightful comments fellas. An englishman selected, and all of a sudden the team's a joke, the pundits have only been watching the english...absolute drivvle. One or two chips on shoulders that need removing. Shane Horgan is a bosh ball centre, with a serious lack of pace...not, on any day, a world class winger. This is supposed to be a team of the tournament. The fact that Ireland were the pick of the home nations is no justification for selecting their players per se. Strettle has looked electric and dangerous everytime he has been given an inch of space. Anyone who has the ability to make the Twickenham "faithful" make a little noise must be doing something pretty special. It is the selection of Vincent Clerc on the other wing that more concerning. Surely Sean Lamont should get the nod.

  • 81.
  • At 09:52 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • davido wrote:

AodhODuinn states that Jerry Flannery would have made a difference, especially in the line out. Just looking at the stats, Ireland won 78 out of 88 lineouts during the tournament, which equates to 88.64%. If you take out the Italy game, where admittedly Rory Best had a bad day in the line-out, the stats are 66 won out of 72 which equates to 91.7%. If Flannery is so good that he would make a difference SEPECIALLY IN THE LINE-OUT, he should take up darts!! I think the weakness against Italy is much the same for Rory Best as it was for O'Gara, the different ball used. Oh, sorry, I'm an Irish supporter and I just said O'Gara has a weakness!! Will I ever be forgiven for this grave error...

  • 82.
  • At 09:56 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • drum'n'bass wrote:

CALL ME BIAS...but i think its a little harsh that Wales dont get a look in this side. Not one team beat them convincingly, we even led the champions by 13 points away until they pulled away in the second half. Ireland could of been a different story, a lack of finishing and referring decisions cost us, the better team did however win. I would say O'Connel got in this side on reputation and surely Wyn Jones deserves that spot.

No that ive had my Welsh rant i think Dempsey is more relaible and a better technical fullback than Poitneaud. I also want to reinterate a point made earlier, surely you cant pick props that only play half a game. You wouldnt pick a player who missed two games of the six nations for this team. Horsman, Milloud, Marconnet all looked destructive over more than 60 minutes of rugby. The wings could be a throw up between 6 players all have been mentioned knowone really standing out.

Stanout player of the tournamnet was D'arcy. The world is now scared of that centre divison

  • 83.
  • At 10:02 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • C. Jones wrote:


"...Wallace, nothing to shout about"

Are you being serious? Did you watch any of Irelands games? He was absolutely outstanding throughout the tournament, and probably the only pick most people would agree on.

And as a Welsh supporter, no national bias clouds my appraisal.

  • 84.
  • At 10:07 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

i'd put denis leamy in at no 8. he was outstanding throughout! even though i'm irish i'd probably pick strettle over horgan- horgan played very well but strettle was one of the few englsih to play well v ireland and was outstanding against france. he's quicker than horgan too (not by much) but those few seconds are crucial!

  • 85.
  • At 10:11 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

Matt (comment 72) your only excuse for having jauzion above d'arcy is either blindness or sheer stupidity.. D'Arcy was the player of the tournament for most people, something that could not be said of jauzion who was slightly below his own (very high) standards. D'arcy now looks like the best 12 in the world. Also Michael (comment 73) if memory serves our backrow did outplay yours with Leamy and Easterby to the fore. You couldnt score a try against us and yet the only reason we won was BOD?

  • 86.
  • At 10:16 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ireland Forever wrote:

I do agree with most of the selection although Strettle should not be there, Horgan is head and shoulders above him in talent and for his towering performance this year. Do we really need a token englishman in this lineup. Strettle is an outstanding player but doesn't come close. Alex Popham unlucky not to be there.
Overall though, a good and fair selection.
Roll on the world cup !!!

  • 87.
  • At 10:20 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

Anyone saying D'arcy is overrated; did you watch Ireland v Italy? Jauzion is probably better all round on his day but in this tournament I'd pick D'Arcy.
Agree with the Welsh claims that M Williams and Popham at least deserve mention, if not inclusion.
If O'Connell gets in based on one immense performance, perhaps Hook should be there at flyhalf too...? I'd go for Skrela though.
Wings are a tough call.

  • 88.
  • At 10:37 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

matt no 80. i agree with you! i'm irish and i'd pick strettle over horgan any day. strettle stood out in a team of mediocrity! french game aside! he is a real jem and a great find for england. also would have picked leamy at 8 as him and wallace were both outstanding!

  • 89.
  • At 10:44 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • jamie wrote:

everyone has there favourite players, but why do you insist on swapping players positions to get them in the team?

why does bergamasco get mentioned for 6 and 7 when he only played 7? and o'connell has a mention for 4 and 5 when he only played 5? Lamont and Patterson were mentioned for both wings when they never swapped through the tornament.

wouldn't it be fairer to say the best 15 was... and the best 14 was... and so on.

  • 90.
  • At 10:51 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Martin Bailey wrote:

Easterby was great but he is a tenth of the player Simon Taylor is. Let's ignore the Scots once more.

  • 91.
  • At 10:53 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Derek Fallon wrote:

Re Post no 65:-"Farrell in for D'arcy". Oh sweet Lord...

  • 92.
  • At 10:55 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • FERGUS wrote:

Interesting selection - few will crib about most nominated.

Cannot understand how Matt(72) can argue against D`Arcy - he was - by a mile- the most effective and classy centre in the 6N. Dave Wallace was clearly the outstanding forward.

Great to see Italy come of age - time to bring Argentina on board to establish the best tournament of all.!!!!

Being Irish I must congratulate the French team on winning the championship - they were the best squad by far. Had Ireland won on Saturday - we would have been very fortunate. We are happy with our considerable squad to face the WC without the unrealistic burden of being one of the main contenders - I cannot see ANY of the teams looking forward to meeting us.

Cannot finish without thanking Mc ZINZAN (42) for confirming, what we all recognised, that ROG was targeted by the Scots.Our respect for the Scots. has been jaundiced by the incident - Hadden is a very poor and ungracious host, Scotland may well languish in the lower regions of the 6N if such attitudes are allowed to fester.Is Hadden suggesting that ROG was felled by one of his own team mates or - possibly? - the referee??? Play hard but play fair!!!!! The Scots are assured of a WARM welcome in Dublin next year.!!!!!

  • 93.
  • At 10:58 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Beef wrote:

#80 Matt

I suppose Lomu, Sailor, Tuqiri were all "Bosh Ball Centres" too!

  • 94.
  • At 11:01 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Big Col wrote:

What's all this about James Hook?!

C'mon boys, one reasonable performance at 10 is hardly going to qualify him for inclusion in a team of the tournament over ROG. England weren't exactly the best we've seen them at in that game either.

But, of course, we've beaten the English and that, for some of you, may be enough to paper over the cracks but the truth of the matter is that we grossly under-performed in this years 6N. A-W Jones, Popham & Martyn Williams had great tournaments and in better teams may have warranted inclusion but aside from that we have very little moan about and very little to hope for going into the RWC.

  • 95.
  • At 11:03 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Shmunkie wrote:

I'd much rather have Robinson or Lamont on my team than Strettle (at the moment at least).

Thing that gets me is people suggesting Betsen for team of the tournament - were you watching the French games. In comparison to what he is capable of (world class performances) this tournament was probably his worst. For the first time he didn't top the French tackle count and, almost unheard of, he missed two easy tackles at key moments.

Shame about Popham and Taylor as well - both deserve a mention, but not the team

  • 96.
  • At 11:14 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • William Johnson wrote:

Lo Cicero

  • 97.
  • At 11:15 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ian Blanchard wrote:

Generally agree pretty much with the selected team, although query the selection of Strettle based on three games, one of which he hardly got the ball (Wales). I think he will be a very good player, but think Lamont played better in a poorer side (edges Horgan because of his pace).

As an Englishman, I can't make a serious case for any of the England pack, given how they capitulated against both Ireland and Wales. We badly need a more dynamic front row (Stevens Thompson? Sheridan, with a fit Vickery as back-up). The young back row has promise but needs more experience and nous (Rees is not yet the new Neil Back)

Martin Williams was unlucky to be fighting for the same position as Wallace. Both extemely good players, but on this 6N Wallace looked better; possibly helped by being in a better team.

Hook looks good, but falls into a similar category to Strettle; may well be the outstanding 10 of the future but didn't have enough chance to show that yet.

Overall though the tournament was a bit of a mixed bag from all the teams, and there were few consistently outstanding performers, so a case can be made for a few players based on their better games and against on their poorer performances (e.g. Paul O'Connell)

  • 98.
  • At 11:23 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Howard Poth wrote:

My Six Nations Team Of The Tournament

15 Clement Poitrenuad (Fra)

14 David Strettle (Eng)

13 Yannick Jauzion (Fra)

12 Gordon D’Arcy (Ire)

11 Jason Robinson (Eng)

10 Ronan O’Gara (Ire)

9 Harry Ellis (Eng)

1 Olivier Milloud (Fra)

2 Raphaël Ibañez (Fra, capt)

3 Martin Castrogiovanni (It)

4 Donncha O’Callaghan (Ire)

5 Marco Bortolami (It)

6 Simon Taylor (Sco)

7 David Wallace (Ire)

8 Sergio Parisse(It)

  • 99.
  • At 11:24 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • mello wrote:

anyone care to suggest a six nations worst team of the tournament? Or maybe a most disappointing team of the tournament?

  • 100.
  • At 11:25 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • bob wrote:

agree with most of line up... corry is a much better at lock than the backrow. i think strettle did just about enough to get into the team, his defence was superb and he put in some great hits. Hook would probably get into team if he played more games at flyhalf but o'gara had some great games. surprised that chabal didn't play that well, he was closed down in the england game.

  • 101.
  • At 11:26 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • seb bench wrote:

my team forwards: ibanez,nieto castrovani bortalami, o'connel leamy easterby wallace backs: ellis o'gara o'driscoll d'arcy strettle robinson morgan

  • 102.
  • At 11:27 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mark, Paris wrote:

This is all so subjective it's untrue, as people see different things in different players. No-one knows the ins and outs of every position, and therefore for an ex fly-half, centre and full back like myself, my forward picks are always going to be of less value than my back picks, but here goes.

Essentially a lot of the team I would agree with, but:

Dempsey outshone Poitrenaud for me at full back. More consistent and more dangerous overall.

Clerc would be on the bench and Hickie has to play, as does Strettle, on the wings. My French friends agree with me here, Strettle was the find of the tournament, Hickie was possibly the player of the tournament.

Centres and half backs no problem at all.

Up front, Ibanez has the hooker slot sewn up, and I'd not even try to pick props.

Second row O'Connell was anonymous for the first two games and out for the last one so how does he get in there? Bortholami and Nallet/Thion for me.

Back row I'd agree with Parisse is sheer class, Wallace was outstanding and Easterby tops the blindsides.

  • 103.
  • At 11:31 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • gordon clark wrote:

how did Hook do against France? or Ireland? was he a factor in those games? ROG wasn't vintage during the 6N I'll give u that but David Skrela was by far the best 10. probably the missing part of the puzzle for France. Wales fans have to stop building up their players before they achieve anything. Gavin Henson anyone? as for Strettle he was very impressive but would he have stood out as much in the Irish side? he was the only English back to try things early on against France and that's what gave they confidence to go on and win the game but hickie was amazing throughout the tournament.

  • 104.
  • At 11:40 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • phil Mckenzie wrote:

15 Poitrenaud
14 Clerc
13 Jauzion
12 D'Arcy
11 Robinson
10 O'Gara
9 Troncon
8 Parisse
7 Wallace
6 Bergamasco
5 O'Connell
4 Thion
3 Horsman
2 Ibanez
1 Lo Cicero

  • 105.
  • At 11:43 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • triple crown "chokers" wrote:

a bit surprised marcus horan didnt get at least a mention! was one of ireland's most consistent. also i know bartolami was exellent and it's great more italian players are getting recognised but o callaghan wasnt even mentioned! maybe there should be best subs too- geraghty, flannery etc!

  • 106.
  • At 11:43 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • John White wrote:

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France 46-19 Scotland

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Previewing your Comment
1. Milloud
2. Ibanez
3. Castrogiovanni
4. Bortolami
5. O'Connell
6. Taylor
7. Wallace
8. Parisse
9. Ellis

16.Best Villiers

Squad for best for 6N.

Strettle was no way as good as Horgan. Fact. Tries, runs, off-loads, they all point to Horgan.

Castrogiovanni should get the nod instead of Nieto.

Second row, Nallet was better than Wyn Jones, hence his bench position. Wyn-Jones has given himself a great platform to move forward from though. Comparable to someone like O'Callahan.

Fly-halves pick themselves - Hook played at 12 for most of the tournament, and against England his performance was set-up by forward dominance.

Dempsey scored more tries than the other full backs, so has to be included. I'm fond of Paterson at full-back but he didn't play there until Southwell got injured.

Robinson has to be included for pace, tries and the electricity he creates when he gets the ball.

Taylor was a rock for Scotland and is an under-rated player in my opinion. Popham played very well and is an able ball carrier, hence his bench position.

  • 107.
  • At 11:53 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Patrick wrote:

Hmm, some dodgy selection there in my opinion.

Strettle played how many games? Scored how many tries? Hard to see him in a head of Sean Lamont, Horgan, or Hickie. Certainly one for the future, but I dont think he merits team of the tournament.

In the pack, dont see how Nieto got ahead of DeVilliers, he had another great year, and Paul O'Connel, though undoubtedly a classy operator, did not have a vintage year. Nor did Easterby, though I felt Wallace was certainly immense this year.

Team of the tournament really, in my opinion looked something like this:


  • 108.
  • At 11:53 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Michael Ryan wrote:

Comment 73

Four better teams than Wales. I agree four teams finished higher than Wales, one of which was played of the park at the millenium and I genuinely saw nothing to fear from them in the distant future. The Italians would have finished below wales if it had not been for a number of momentous unjust refereeing desicions (draw perhaps fair result there) Bergamasco the try scorer still being on the field in order that he could bring down a supporting man off the ball when a try was beckoning as well as score the try, never lone the most shocking call of all time by Chris White even he would have found it difficult to make England win against wales.
So two teams now better than Wales the Irish were worried at the Millenium as were the French at the Parc.
Although Wales had a bad six nations I still saw enough to give me hope that there maybe a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Can the same be said for others.

  • 109.
  • At 11:53 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • AP Marshall wrote:

i think williams at 7 if just for the england game

  • 110.
  • At 11:54 AM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Jon Jenkins wrote:

Sorry but a French no9 ....France dont even know who is best at that position ! and for Strettle sorry what did he do again ????

  • 111.
  • At 12:00 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • .......... wrote:

not being biast seeing that im welsh but where is James Hook he should be on there because he does what a fly half does (which isnt kicking but hes effective at that) but being creative on the field for the backs to play off and play rugby!! and where is Martin Williams he has shown for the last few years he is a world class flanker up with the best like Richie McCaw fair do's the others have showed there rugby and are amazing players but don't be a moody english about us beating you by leaving the Welsh out of it

  • 112.
  • At 12:02 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Jacky Mann wrote:

Could anyone please comment on the ammount of forward passing, which as a result of poor control by officials has corupted international rugby. It beggars belief that at local club level this is punished, while international it seems to be acceptable.I felt heart sorry for the Itaian team against Ireland as four of the tries Ireland scored had forward passes involved.

  • 113.
  • At 12:12 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Sims wrote:

If you _have_ to pick an England back then it should be Robinson, not Strettle. But I'd go for Lamont ahead of either. And I'd have thought Horsman was worth a mention at tight-head.

How about a team of under-performers (ie reputation not fulfilled)from the 6N?:
15: Lewsey
14: Dominici
13: Jauzion (harsh, I know, but he can do a lot better)
12: Farrell
11: S Williams
10: S Jones
9: Cusiter
1: D Jones
2: ??
3: Vickery
4: Grewcock
5: Murray
6: Worsley
7: Betsen (see Jauzion)
8: R Jones

Bit stuck on a hooker: even Matthew Rees hit his jumpers more often than not...

  • 114.
  • At 12:12 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Alistair Vant wrote:

I think Hook should be at 10, if only for his performance against England. No outstanding 10's in the tournament until the last game where he made Toby Flood look like he was back playing schoolboy rugby again. Northern Hemispheres answer to Dan Carter!!!

  • 115.
  • At 12:17 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

Not going to complain too much about the side but as a Welshman I am amazed that neither Martyn Williams or Ian Gough get a mention. Now I know Wales lost 4 games and in certain games struggled for possession but Williams is the best openside in the northen hemisphere by a country mile. He didn't set the tournament alight like in previous seasons but he's still the best and would be the Lions 7 if that team was picked tomorrow. And as for Gough he was immense in defence and his workrate for a lock forward is superb. Not saying they should definitely make the final team of the tournament but definitely should have been in contention and deserving of a mention.

  • 116.
  • At 12:20 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • MadAboutEwe wrote:

Not sure why Kevin Morgan received votes, he was very poor this tournament.

And Dave Strettle? Great talent, but he didn't even play in the first 2 games, and was pretty quiet against Wales.

And for the guy who wanted to see how James Hook coped in pressure, he obviously didn't see him bring Wales back from a 20 point deficeit to clinch a draw against Australia, or kick the winning conversion against Sale in the Heinekin Cup.

O'Connel gets in on reputation alone. Suprised Popham didn't receive votes, Parise was a non-factor against France and England.

  • 117.
  • At 12:25 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

On the whole a fair selection. However, while selection here is based largely on what a player has done in certain matches you also need to look at those moments when a team's back is to the wall. When England were suffering in Cardiff there wasn't an awful lot coming from Strettle - it was Jason Robinson who delivered and (unless we're gettin pedantic about right & left wing) gets my vote for this and other great performances. There was also a mesmeric moment when JR & Shane Williams came face to face - the Northern Hemisphere's two Billy Whizzes - where's the slo-mo replay!
There's also the odd comment about Kevin Morgan being a one trick pony!!! Sorry but he chooses great angles of running, generally good hands, has pace, excellent under the high ball, brave and most of all intelligent. While I don't think he quite makes the 'tournament team' (one poor pass I remember) he's a quality player - so you're entitled to your opinion - but I'm afraid you're wrong.

  • 118.
  • At 12:27 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Houlet wrote:

Far too many Englishmen in the side again!

  • 119.
  • At 12:31 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Quatermass wrote:

As a level headed Welshman can't have too many complaints about the team selected. Front row spot on. Second row also (although O'Connell was not at his imperious best IMO and AW Jones excelled - would make bench). Parisse has no competition at 8, Easterby superb at 6 but Bergamasco is a real pain in the backside and I would probably put him there for nuisance value. Wallace a shoe in at 7 despite M. Williams consistent high standard.
Troncon would have to be my 9 for his control more than anything but Mignoni and Ellis offer real options. 10 I am really struggling with, just cannot bring myself to pick ROG (I like a bit of flair at 10), agree it is too early for Hook, which only really leaves Skrela who hasn't really set the place on fire either.
BOD is BOD and D'arcy is his perfect foil. Disagree with both wings. Any two from Horgan, Hickie, Robinson would do me. Full back, Poitrenaud probably shades it.
4 Italians and no Welsh - what have I done??

  • 120.
  • At 12:38 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • jim wrote:

I agree with the post that suggested that outstanding individual play may have been lost in the team's mediocrity.

Agree that Martyn Williams should be in.

I think that Ellis or Troncon are both higher than Mignoni.

Disagreed that O'Gara should be picked over Skrela particularly after his disaster off the tee on Saturday.

Disagreed that O'Connell should be in at all. I think that England aside, his performances were average this tournament, borne out by Ireland's struggle to put away Wales and Scotland.

On the whole though, a good assessment of the tournament. My reaction of "surely not" to some of the selections was tempered when I considered the opposition. A clear case of "best" not necessarily meaning "any good".

Given the problems that Australia and SA are having too at the moment, my only concern is that this WC will not be remembered for being won by one of the best AB sides ever but for the mediocrity of all the other sides.

  • 121.
  • At 12:39 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • gfrazer wrote:

Post #90 - you HAVE to be joking re Easterby & Taylor. & "Let's ignore the Scots"? Well you did claim the wooden spoon this year, so exactly how many Scottish players would you say deserve to be in the team of the tournament? I'll answer for you - NONE!

  • 122.
  • At 12:43 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • bigpony wrote:

As an Englishman I can't believe I'm going to say this, but Alix Popham shone for me throughout the tournament, playing in an under performing team. Certainly should have been considered.

  • 123.
  • At 12:44 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • LarneUlsterFan wrote:

Reading these blogs gets on my nerves, Jason Robnson is the only England player worthy of a place in this team, he is the only world class player left in that team! Tom Rees is one for the future but should not be in this team when u look at the amount of outstanding back rows in the 6N. Had Mike Catt played more then maybe he could have sneaked it but the English can not say much about us Irish making our team out to be better than we are, we know how good we are and yes it is better than every other team in the tournament!
Wales don't deserve anyone though a few were unlucky ie Ryan Jones, Dwayne Peel. the Italian pack is overrated as they only won 2 matches and got hammered in 2 of the others! France are strong but i don't think they played well enough consistently to win the tournament!

D'Arcy was by far and away the best player of the tournament and ppl who are discrediting O'Dricoll's influence on a rugby pitch should look back at the lions tour of 2005 which fell apart after his injury. Is it a coincidence that Ireland lost the only game of the 6N which he didn't play in and Ireland were running in tries for fun against Italy until he came off then Italy beat Ireland by 2 tries to 1 withgout him (though Eddie O'Sullivan didn't help with his team selection)

Anyone who would like to argue against D'arcy being the star man of the tournament please do so as i am bored in work at the minute and would like something to make me laugh!

  • 124.
  • At 12:45 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Granty wrote:

McZinzan, good to see that you know your positions. Darcy plays 12 and Jauzion plays 13.

  • 125.
  • At 12:46 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • kenboss wrote:

lads strettle is there for the soft english input into a pathetic season and set up, if anyone in their right mind could have their pick of wingers the lad would not get a mention, as for him above horgan well its a serios case of man against boy, but this is a BBC site so a token few gestures towards england are always necessary, just remember the bbc published in the fantasy team that worsley was the best 6 in the tournament before hand, am apart from best, easterby, leamy, and wallace and thats only the irish contingent, lads i wouldnt look to much into it, there is no english player capable of making the irish or french teams and they are the only teams that will do anything in the world cup, its just a shame that ireland france and argentina are in the one group while minnows england, scotland, wales and italy all get it handy enough

  • 126.
  • At 12:48 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Adieb wrote:

I am 100% english but i totally agree i would have definetly picked horgan or maybe lamont above strettle also i think i would have picked alix popham at 6 above easterby and maybe a.w jones instead of o'connell. He had one big game against us the rest he was entirely average. I think Wallace is one on the best 7's worldwide but Tom Rees will be up there with him in a couple of years

  • 127.
  • At 12:57 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • grandslam Gav wrote:

Ref Fergus article no 92.

Fergus what planet are you on??

There was no malice in what happened to O'Gara, it was only your manager shouting his mouth off without thinking, (WITH NO PROOF!!)after his game plan was severly tested.
And as for being bottom of the 6 nations, you should know that "every dog has it's day!"you were crap for 10 years"
As for a warm reception in Dublin next year" Bring it on" i and many more thousand Scots will be there looking forward to the warm hopitality we always get from the Irish!
Fergus dont be bitter i am sure boy wonder will get worse at the World Cup.

  • 128.
  • At 01:01 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Chris Watts wrote:

Brian O'Driscoll has clearly been picked in this team on reputation. In my eyes he had his most non-effective 6 nations yet, admittedly this was due to injury.
No James Hook? Surely one of the tournaments biggest plus points!
Harry Ellis was Englands most attacking threat, head and shoulders above any scrum half in the competition.

  • 129.
  • At 01:04 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

I don't think it very sensible to pick players in positions that did not play there but realise the issue. What I think most interesting would be how your team would change if it was best on individual game performance.

here's my selection:(tournament best first, individual-game best second)

15: Dempsey, Morgan (v Ireland)
14: Clerk, Lamont (v France)
13: O'Driscoll, O'Driscoll (v Wales)
12: D'Arcy, Jauzion (v Scotland)
11: Hickie, Dominici (v Wales)
10: O'Gara, Wilkinson (v Scotland)
9: Mignoni, Ellis (v Scotland)
8: Parisse, Leamy (v England)
7: Wallace, Williams (v England)
6: Easterby, Taylor (v France)

Don't know much about front five but full marks for Corry agreeing to play there.

Best individual in the tournament - O'Gara, proved once and for all he can handle the hits and big games and dominated behind a weak platform (v France for example). Best individual game - Wilkinson v us, heartbreaking but outstanding

  • 130.
  • At 01:05 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

A lot of people seem to be anti-Strettle on here, saying he didn't do much, or only stood out in a poor team. Admittedly, England were poor this year, but every time Strettle got the ball he looked dangerous and made ground. If he had been in say the Irish or French teams, then I feel we would not be having this argument as he would have been the top try scorer in the tournament.

  • 131.
  • At 01:10 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Y DDRAIG COCH wrote:

Reply to 77.
If Wales are a 'joke' how come we beat England?

Which team was a joke that day??

I think the selection is pretty spot on by the way. Nice to see that some Italians feature.

  • 132.
  • At 01:16 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Chalmers wrote:

I think the likes of O'Driscoll and O'Connell seem to be in the side based on reputation rather than their actual performances this tournament. Apart from his game against England, O'Connell looked pretty average in his other performances, would definitely pick A Wyn Jones over him based on this tournament. At 13 can you honestly say that O'Driscoll was more impressive than Jauzion or even Shanklin this tournament, while Jauzion played at 12 it would be worth shifting either himself or D'Arcy out to 13 to include the two best centres of the tournament.

For those of you who think that Horgan or Lamont deserve a place on the wing over Strettle, Horgan had poor games against both the French and the Scots and Lamont had a shocker that led to Robinson's try in the England game. Strettle looked a threat pretty much every time he had the ball in hand.

I would give the other wing spot to Hickie over Clerc, would put Betsen ahead of Easterby, Milloud ahead of Lo Cicero and Castrogiovanni ahead of Nieto. And while their weren't any stand outs at 15, I feel that Poitrenaud's poor defence means the shirt should go to either Morgan or Dempsey.

Player of the tournament has to be between Wallace, D'Arcy and Ibanez.

  • 133.
  • At 01:19 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Bill wrote:

Good selection, and the same "nearlys" as most.

Poitrenaud's attacking threat just about justifies his inclusion. Dempsey would be my choice though.

Calls for Martin Williams are probably based on his past performances. In this tournament the only 7 really challlenging Wallace was Bergamasco.

James Hook would be at 10 if he'd had more time in that position. He is the category of player who can "win games by himself" and there are only a few of those around. He will be a great.

I thought Simon Taylor was outstanding for Scotland and in a better side would get to show the attacking abilities Graham Henry recognised 7 years ago. He's also better at 8...

I also thought Martin Corry was very good for England in the second row and is benefiting from all the changes in the England setup.

Strettle is clearly a talented finisher but have to agree that Hickie was the outstanding winger. Lamont is untouchable for his ability to run the ball back from his 22. He seems to just waltz through tackles... However a winger's first job is as a finisher, so surprised not to see Robinson in there.

As a Scot I was pretty shocked when I heard what happened to O'Gara. I hope it was not deliberate.

  • 134.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • mczinzan wrote:

My reference to ROG being 'targeted' by the Scots seems to have been picked up by several posts. By this I meant the back row pressured him throughout the game, I saw nothing irregular in anything that the Scots did, neither did the ref, touch judges, nor citing commissioner!! Certainly no different from Dan Parks being targeted by the Irish back-row in Dublin last year. Lot of one-way streets in Ireland lads? The incident at the end is utter nonsense and if you look very closely at the television footage, Hines is not in contact with ROG long enough to have done anything devious. As for the utterances from O'Sullivan, merely an attempt to hide a poor Irish performance. Mr McCall and Mr Collins will not be as forgiving!

Can I also refer you to the 70/80/90s 5-Nations games being shown ESPN Classic, there you will see some true targeting of stand-offs! Ahh the good old days.

  • 135.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

I think the team is fair, cannot really disagree. A sign of the wind of change to see only 1 Englishman in there, and a kid at that.

Somebody asks:
'Where is Andy Farrell?'
Answer: WHO???

DAVID WALLACE was without doubt the man of the tournament. A lot say Darcy but we expect that from him, as he has (along with King Brian) set the bar so high for himself, but Wallace has always being good, but his 6 Nation performances where world class. Even George Hook was raving about him!!!

  • 136.
  • At 01:30 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mark, Paris wrote:

# 103

Gordon, Skrela has no power in either his kicking, running or defence. He was controlled but not "the missing link" for France, that will be Beauxis, who will start in the World Cup with Mignoni I think.

I think a lot of the suggestions are just ill-conceived as people played 1 decent game in those positions (Hook at 10, Corry and O'Connell in the 2nd Row) but it's what makes it all the more fun I guess

  • 137.
  • At 01:32 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Alistair Vant wrote:

In reply to Tim Sims how can you possibly say that Ryan Jones was dissapointing. He was the best ball carrier in the tournament. If you were to select a lions team now he would be in it, without doubt.
Can't believe Dwayne Peel hasn't been mentioned either, even the southern hemisphere big guns would have him in their teams!

  • 138.
  • At 01:34 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Joshua Edge wrote:

I think this team is a load of rubbish. It has no Welsh players init which is a joke. It makes a change that there is only 1 english player init and he is a joke anway. You didnt pick any welsh players? why? i dont get it there are a few class players in that team that are better than most of the players in that team.

  • 139.
  • At 01:36 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

John Hayes? John Hayes???? I wouldn't pick John Hayes in a John Hayes look-a-like XV!! I can't believe that he even got a mention!!

Ok, rant over!!

I am pleased at the inclusion of many Italians. They certainly had their best 6N tournament so far and I hope that they can build from here to make this THE premier championship: north or south of the equator!!

I agree that Strettle was probably the only Englishman to leave the tournament with his head held high, I would choose Jauzion over BOD to partner Darcy in the centre and I think that Troncon was the outstanding scrum half of the 6N.

I think that the looming RWC had a big effect on the 6N's this year. The only team, for my money, that improved their credentials during the tournament is Italy. They have built on their performances from previous years and showed their dogged determination to full effect, and got the results to match.

Ireland need to address their reliance on a couple of key individuals. Their whole game plan, cohesion and decision making capability seems to go out of the window if these players are missing!

France only really woke up in the final game: when they knew exactly what they needed to do! Again, the French seem to react to the performance of a few key individuals e.g. Chabal, Ibanez, although they don't have the same level of reliance on these players as the Irish.

The Scots started well but never grew to fulfil their early potential. If Patterson gets injured or doesn't perform, then they struggle to even compete in matches!

The English? As the team selection above reflects, there were not enough stand-up-and-be-counted performances. There were some good performances from some players new and old, but not enough to suggest that the corner has been turned. Reports of retaining the RWC are pie in the sky!!

The Welsh just didn't make the grade this year. Before the tournament, they were being billed as the strongest challenge to the Irish title hopes. Unfortunately, they struggled to make it out of the blocks! They were unlucky with the confusion at the end of the Italian match but, in truth, they should never have got themselves into that position in the first place. All credit to the way that the whole team addressed what must have been a devastatingly disappointing situation!

How long ‘til the RWC . . . ??

  • 140.
  • At 01:43 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • john wrote:

i think that johnny wilkinson woz the best player in hte 6 nations

  • 141.
  • At 02:00 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • triple crown "chokers" wrote:

grandslam gav talking about fergus being bitter is really rich coming from some scottish fans who cant stop banging about eddie os. dont want to bring this up again but while i feel the whole o gara thing was more than likely an accident something definitely happened to make sure ronan had to be put in the recovery position. come on! m not calling the scottish team dirty or whatever i'm just saying clearly players dont get put into recovery positions unless something happened. as for eos he shouldnt have spoken out the way he did but if your player was blue in the face the concern is only for the scots coming next year, they're always welcome in ireland! here's to a less controversial match next year!

  • 142.
  • At 02:11 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • dafyd wrote:

who are we trying to kid- dwayne peel and ryan jones were nowhere near their lions form and havent really been since the tour. I personally still think cusiter was the best scrum half on the lions tour. anyway to the present GIVE MIKE PHILLIPS A CHANCE PLEASE!! oh and popham at 8 and charvis or j thomas at 6

  • 143.
  • At 02:13 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Fogarty wrote:

Anyone who mentions Olly Morgans name in this debate about team of the tournament needs their head seen to. He was awful!

Antway here is my team of the tournament:

15. Dempsey
14. Robinson
13. O'Driscoll
12. D'Arcy
11. Hickie
10. O'Gara
9. Troncon
1. Milloud
2. Ibanez
3. Castrogiovanni
4. AW Jones
5. Bortolami
6. Easterby
7. Wallace
8. Parisse

O'Driscoll only in, cause lets face it who else really played well at 13 this season? Skrella and leamy were quite unlucky to be left out!

Player of the tournament - David Wallace

  • 144.
  • At 02:15 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • mz wrote:

I feel like some justice has to be done to the French team over here (I'm not French, even though I am currently in France). No offense to the Home Nations, but they won... However I will start by challenging this nonsense about Skrella. The only way he got into the team is that his father is a former glory and in the management of the French Federation. This guy is awful, Johnny Wilkinson type but without the kicking abilities, which comes to awful, like I've said (same to Andy Goode and Charlie Hodgson, especially the English will understand what I mean). You should have seen Ibanez at the end of the game against Ireland... luckily France won, otherwise Skrella would have been dropped through "injury". ROG is far better than him and is the right choice for me, Skrella never had a break through the defense line throughout the tournament.

Regarding the pack, I am not a specialist, but when you win 36-3 against Italy (a match I didn't see, but neither the others it seems to me) and you clearly dominate every other pack (the English excepted), it seems like nonsense to have only Ibanez in, luckily for him that he was the captain and/or he plays for the Wasps. Coming back to the England - France game, allow me to say that the great surprise was that the English pack was not destroyed by the French and that wrongly induced the idea of having the things the other way around. The difference has been done by the backs that day, when the English were fed with balls by their own 9 and 10 and also by the French 9 and 10, who kicked almost every ball they had and failed to use their own backs. Regarding the Italian choice in the pack, it seems to be made on the display of the Italian pack against the Home Nations (that don't take away the world class player status of Parisse).

Coming to the backs, I think that the fact France has such an enormous pack, outshines their back line, which is not the case for Ireland, Wales and Scotland. That is why, they are not so decisive as in the Ireland case, and not because they are weaker, although I acknowledge the fact that O'Darcy and O'Driscoll are one of a kind (the "twins" as they call them in France). And that is one of the strong point of the French team, compared to Ireland, which heavily relies on the fitness of everybody in their back line and especially O'Driscoll. As for the full back position, the Poitroneau choice is just consistent with the rest of the choices, which advantage the attacking skills of the players. If you want a world class player, than watch out for Martin Hernandez, you can see him playing in HCup for Stade Français and in WC for Argentina (I'm not Argentinian either).

For the WC I hope that at least Michalak or Traille are fit, so that Skrella takes a break, while the second choice should be Beauxis, which has a huge potential and he already won a world cup with the French U21 team. And to all of you which are worried about the ABs, the fact that they have almost no opposition in their group will be their doom, just like every other time. I would be more anxious about Australia and South Africa, which are far better WC focus teams.

  • 145.
  • At 02:18 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Finlay Gillon wrote:

In my opinion the best player was of the six nations was Harry Ellis. He was awesome in the Scotland match and i think that both defensive and attacking attributes have improved. Being a Scotsman it is hard to admit but England had a decent six nations, unlucky to finish mid-table, but i think that they will put up a gud fight in the world cup. Sean Lamont had a great tournament too.

  • 146.
  • At 02:20 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mczinzan wrote:

Granty (124)

Will that be the same Jauzion who played inside centre for France in the last three games?

Nice to see you actually watch a match!

  • 147.
  • At 02:23 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

#93 Beef

I'm clearly missing some subtlety in your argument. Jonah Lomu and Wendel Sailor have never played in the centre. Lote Tuqiri has, and was ineffectual. Shane Horgan has regularly been played in the centre, and that is his most effective position, where he can use his attribute to be effect. However, Ireland have a couple of half decent centres who seem to get selected in the centres ahead of him.

  • 148.
  • At 02:38 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Liam wrote:

Philbert mate you clearly know zip about rugby if you don't understand why people are talking about John Hayes. Anyone who knows about rugby knows he is the key to Ireland's lineout being one of the best in the world. But this year he was excellent in the scrum despite being targeted. He was immense against England (who were talking up disrupting ireland's scrum). In the loose he was so much better than previous years.

Also Jauzion for BOD??? Jauzion was anonymous this year the championship in my view and the new guys - Beauxis, Skrela and Clerq eclipsed him. BOD has only lost one international game he has played in since June - that was against France.

Also Troncon whislt he prefromed well lets not get carried away he is not better than Mignoni/Stringer/Ellis/Peel/Cusiter. Troncon gave Italy solidity where they needed it but he wouldn't get into any other team in 6 Nations.

  • 149.
  • At 02:56 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Stuart Wylie wrote:

In a tournament in which it seemed that almost any team, on their day, could beat any of the others I would have expected the selection to have been spread out more evenly between the nations.

Ireland were defeated by France, all but beaten by Scotland, and fortunate to profit from weak refereeing against Wales (a game in which Easterby was, I believe, given three 'final warnings' for illegally killing the ball - perhaps this is why he was selected!),yet have players nominated in 13 of the 15 positions. All I can say is that their other two players must have been incredibly poor!

  • 150.
  • At 03:05 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

I agree with #142 Dafyd - give Mike Phillips a chance. I've never seen him play badly, and while Dwayne Peel is excellent I've seen him go missing a few times. Would be nice to have the strength in depth of Wales, but I feel that the selection order is wrong!

  • 151.
  • At 03:06 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • gfrazer wrote:

Stop calling for Welsh players to be included in the Team of the Tournament - they won one game! Against an equally poor team of muppets!

  • 152.
  • At 03:13 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

Liam 148 (I'm guessing that you're Irish, yes?) John Hayes . . . one of the best in the world . . . I haven't laughed so hard in a long, long time!

John Hayes may fall into the day's gone by mold of a prop: slow, lumbering and only good for lifting in the line and 'taking the hit' in the scrum, but the modern game demands more of its front row!! Carrying the ball into contact, clearing out at the breakdown, forming the defensive line around the fringes . . . in essence playing like the old back row forwards and still doing the dog work in the line and in the scrum.

Too often, Big John arrives at the breakdown just in time to colapse on top of it!

Big John, like George Chuter, suffers from the same problem: they're just not quick enough of mind or body to compete in the modern game of rugby.

  • 153.
  • At 03:13 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Dan lucchese wrote:

champs of the 6 nations:

15 Girvan Dempsey
14 David Strettle
13 Brian O'Driscoll
12 Gordon D'Arcy
11 Chris Paterson (kick)
10 David Skrela
9 Pierre Mignoni
1 Arndrew Lo Cicero
2 Rapheal Ibanez (Capt)
3 Martin Costrogeovanni
4 Marco Bortolami
5 Paul O'Connell
6 Mauro Bergamasco
7 Paul Wallace
8 Sergio Parisse (champ of the tournament)

chumps of the 6 nations:

15 Josh Lewsey
14 Mark Jones
13 Marcus Di Rollo
12 Gareth Thomas (Capt)
11 Shane Williams
10 Stephen Jones (chump of the tournament)
9 Dimitri Yachvilli (kick)
1 Duncan Jones
2 Rhys Thomas
3 Adam Jones
4 Robert Sidoli
5 Scott Murray
6 Serge Betsen
7 Martyn Williams
8 Ryan Jones

  • 154.
  • At 03:22 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

"BOD has only lost"??? So, Ireland really are the one player team that everyone says they are after all!!!

Ok, answer me this: which of the 6N's teams performed better than their billing this year? Which of the teams stepped up under the direction of their scrum-half? Which scrum-half managed to deliver against all expectation? Yea, you're right: Troncon's probably not worth having in your team after all!!

  • 155.
  • At 03:23 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

Ellis? No. He makes two movements almost every time he passes, which is poor for a scrumhalf at club never mind international level. He is great on the break; maybe England should consider him on the wing.
This 6N Mignoni was equally dangerous in attack (the break for Jauzion's try against Scotland was absolutely superb) and his pass is much better.

  • 156.
  • At 03:30 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Surely Ellis should have been there, he passed well, made some great breaks and tackled pretty well too in every game. Glad that Parisse was in there. I thought was the best player in the best pack of the tournament. If Italy had backs as good as their forwards they could be right up there. Not sure about O'Connell though, we all know what a great player he is, but apart from the game against England I thought he was disapointing.

  • 157.
  • At 03:30 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Beef wrote:


I disagree that Horgans best position is the centre. French match a case in point. He has proven in both blue and green shirts that he is an excellent finisher which is a wingers job.
My point is that you dont have to be a twinkle toes like robinson or williams to make a world class wing. Do you not class Lomu, Tuqiri or Sailor as world class?

As usual no-one outside of Ireland even considers Shane Horgan or Peter Stringer.
Too big & slow Shane and too small & predictable Peter, are rated the best in the world by our captain none other than
Brian O'Driscoll.
Maybe he's wrong ??

  • 159.
  • At 03:32 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • BA wrote:

Here's my team of the tournament lads:

15. K. Morgan
14. Strettle
13. O'Driscoll
12. D'Arcy
11. Robinson
10. O'Gara
9. Mignoni
1. Milloud
2. Ibanez
3. Castrogiovanni
4. Bortolami
5. Wyn Jones
6. Easterby
7. Wallace
8. Parisse

16. R. Best
17. Lo Cicero
18. O'Callaghan
19. Bergamasco
20. Ellis
21. Skrela
22. Clerc

I don't think there can be any qualms with this team, all of them played consistently well throughout the tournament, something that O'Connell, Hook and Lamont failed o do.

  • 160.
  • At 03:37 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Gwilym Cooper wrote:

eliis = best english player of the tournament and should be in there

  • 161.
  • At 03:38 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

How Castrogiovanni doesn't make the first XV is beyond me. And how John Hayes' names can be mentioned in the same breath is mind-boggling! I must say I agree with Philbert - surely only Mrs Hayes would make her little boy first choice in team of the tournament?! As for the rest, I'd probably swap Milloud for Lo Cicero and Dempsey for Poitrenaud but there's not much in it. Also, if I had to pick this team to play tomorrow, I'd probably ditch Darcy for Jauzion. Darcy did play well and probably does deserve to be in the team of the tournament, however, eventually, class will tell and Jauzion has that in abundance!

  • 162.
  • At 03:40 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Harry Pendleton wrote:

My team

1.Lo Cicero
3.De Villiers

  • 163.
  • At 03:41 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • kenneth wrote:

Simon Taylor shuld hav been in the pack!! time and time again he puts in a display! always there 2 make try saving tackles aswel!!

  • 164.
  • At 03:47 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Thompo02 wrote:

15. Paterson
14. Sean Lamont
13. O'driscoll
12. Jauzion/D'arcy
11. Horgan
10. O'Gara
9. Migoni

good pick of forwards wouldn't change them

  • 165.
  • At 03:51 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

Something to note: it's quite a compliment to Jauzion that some are naming him in their team of the tournament and others as one of the disappointments. Irish though I am, I think he's been the best centre in the world for 2 or 3 years now. He might not have been at his very best this 6N but everything France do behind the scrum revolves around him; if he gets injured it'll be a massive blow for them.

Anyway, here's my anti-team of the tournament:

15 Lewsey
14 Lewsey (ouch)
13 Di Rollo
12 Farrell (harsh because I don't think he was all that bad)
11 S Williams (for pure selfishness)
10 Godman
9 Cusiter
(not picking a front 5 because I don't have a clue, and I suspect a lot of posters here don't either)
6 Worsley
7 Lund
8 R Jones

  • 166.
  • At 03:56 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Dave Mac wrote:

I agree with most of the selection, I do think Dempsey i playing the best rugby of his life and Martyn Williams was at his destructive best As much as Strettle and Clerc played very well I think the only reason Hickie and Horgan have been overlooked is because you dont want an entire Irish backline as both these players were stunning through every minute they played

  • 167.
  • At 03:57 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

philbert watch any munster match and you see the might and presence of john hayes! he's a complete legend and a great player!

  • 168.
  • At 03:57 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

In defence of John Hayes:
He's usually solid and Ireland certainly don't have anyone better; fingers and toes crossed he's fit for the world cup! Also this year he's been a bit more conspicuous than usual so probably deserves a mention.

  • 169.
  • At 04:08 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Froggie wrote:

Aren't your teams a joke ?

As one said, it is a bit amusing for french people.
Yes, our team didn't play at its full potential, Laporte changed 5 players per game, and key players were not there (captain Pelous, Michalak, Castaignede, Elissalde, and so on : 14 players injured in the beginning of the tournament).

What else ? Oh, I remember : it's the third SN title we won out of 4, and we lost only 3 matches out of the last 20 in the 6 nations...

So continue to think that Ireland is the best team of the tournament (they lost all their matches against France since 2003), that Lamont or another is better than our old Dominici or Clerc (how many irish or welsh men tried to stop them ?)...

To be the outsider is the best place to be for a french team, actually...

  • 170.
  • At 04:09 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Brimmy and will wrote:

Our team:
15. Poitrenaud
14. Strettle
13. O'Driscall
12. D'arcy
11. Clerc
10. O'Gara
9. Ellis
1. Lo Cicero
2. Ibanez
3. Nieto
4. Bortolami
5. O'Connell
6. Rees
7. Wallace
8. Parisse

16. Best
17. de Villiers
18. Wyn Jones
19. Easterby
20. Troncon
21. Skrela
22. Robinson

We think this was the team of the 2007 six nations.

The underachievers:

15. Lewsey
14. Dominici
13. Di rollo
12. Farrell
11. Williams
10. S.Jones
9. Cusiter
1: D Jones
2: Hall
3: Hayes ( a bit harsh but can't think of anyone else)
4: Grewcock
5: Murray
6: Worsley
7: Betsen
8: Easter

They (The above) really were rubbish!!

  • 171.
  • At 04:15 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Benjamin.Lee. wrote:

Where is Jason Robinson the winger who can dance his way through any defense in the world and Harry Ellis England's most consistant player in the six nations campiagn?

  • 172.
  • At 04:19 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

Why is it with the Welsh claiming James hook as their great white, Yeah of course he had a great game against a poor England team, but c'mon comparing him to O Gara in this tournament is a bit demented. O Gara is much more than a kicker he was the class playmaker i the tournament and was it not a missed Hook tacckle on O Gara that lost them the match against Ireland. His kicking might not have been at his usual stanadard on Saturday but his distribution and astute brain more than made up for this. George Hook has made a bigger contribution to this tournament than his namesake James, C'mon 2 points get a life Wales.

  • 173.
  • At 04:26 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:

1.Lo Cicero

Any Complaints?

  • 174.
  • At 04:42 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • marc wrote:

rite, wales were not good... scotland played well against ireland... were probably unlucky!! anyone doubtin the influence of brian o'driscoll clearly doesnt watch rugby!! he makes the gain line everytime he gets the ball and hits pound for pound probably as hard as any back in world rugby!! there's so much more to being a 13 than just scoring tries!! i think that u guys are just tryin to get him out of a team... the welsh guys sayin m. williams above wallace.. catch yourself on!!! most silly thing iv ever heard!!! dont think john hayes should b near the team!! just not good enough... rory best will have pushed ibanez close.. his throwin was brilliant apart from 20 minutes against italy!! and on the ground he was everywhere!! as for strettle over horgan, i rite?? dempsey is the most under-rated attacking player in the tournament... must have been close with Poitrenaud. the only england player who deserves to be in is robinson, top try scorer with u'll never guess who... the so called "one-dimensional" ronan o'gara!! one good game from hook at ten and he deserves to be in!! no chance.. o'gara is the 2nd best 10 in the world...

Player of the tournament... Gordon D'arcy!! x

  • 175.
  • At 04:42 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

no 9 would definiely put either harry ellis or peter stringer in as no 9 instead oftroncon to be honest! no 14 strettle or horgan were far better than lamont. no 8 denis leamy.

  • 176.
  • At 04:45 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

no 169 would definitely put either harry ellis or peter stringer in as no 9 instead oftroncon to be honest! no 14 strettle or horgan were far better than lamont. no 8 denis leamy.

  • 177.
  • At 04:48 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

Does anyone know if there will be an Official RBS player of the tournament, and if so when it will be announced?

I'd be in agreement with either D'Arcy or Wallace, but I'm not sure which.

  • 178.
  • At 04:50 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

Andy you must be the biggest idiot that ever posted on this site.
John Hayes would probably rip ur head off and eat if he heard those comments, and Darcy would Dance all over you and Jauzion

  • 179.
  • At 05:01 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:


Jonah Lomu; clearly world class. I certainly wouldn't put Sailor in that group, and Tuqiri is a maybe for me. I agree, wingers can come in all shapes and sizes, but what i want to see is someone who creates an air of excitement when he receives the ball...and that is something i don't think Horgan does. He carries very well, and, sure, he can power his way over the line, but that is true whether he plays on the wing or at centre. Watching Strettle play, for England or Harlequins, you want the ball to get to him because you expect something to happen...much the same as with Brian O'Driscoll.

  • 180.
  • At 05:22 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

Emerald Star (161) - I take your point about Big John in that he may put in the performances for Munster. However, like many before him and the many that are sure to follow, he does not have the necessary 'extra' to bridge the gulf between League and International games!

However, as Ulster am (168) says, Ireland certainly have anyone else knocking on the front row door to take his place! Eddie OS must be praying that Big John makes the RWC. What a sorry situation to have to be in given the strength elsewhere in the Irish team!!

I also agree with a number of the other posts here that list the many players that failed to live up to pre-tournament expectations. Farrell is the obvious front runner for being singled out. Sure he's only played a handful of 15-man games, but he doesn't have the luxury of time to take a few years to adapt his game. Lewsey was poor but I'm hoping he was just having a bad day (few games) at the office! His league form suggests that it could just be a temporary blip. Shane Williams is another! We're used to seeing him terrorising the opposition but his radar was off all tournament!

I'm sure the later 2 will bounce back soon enough. As for Andy F, will he ever make the grade??

  • 181.
  • At 05:23 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Will wrote:

RBS Six Nations 2007 Squad of the Tournament:

15.Girvan Dempsey

14.David Strettle

13.Brian O'Driscoll(Vice Captain)

12.Gordon D'Arcy

11.Jason Robinson

10.Ronan O'Gara

9.Harry Ellis

1.Andrew Lo Cicero

2.Raphael Ibanez(Captain)

3.Martin Castrogiovani

4.Martin Corry

5.Paul O'Connell

6.Simon Easterby

7.David Wallace

8.Sergio Parisse

16.Rory Best
17.Carlos Nieto
18.Alun Wyn Jones
19.Tom Rees
20.Pierre Mignoni
21.David Skrela
22.Shane Horgan

Coach- Eddie O'Sullivan

  • 182.
  • At 05:26 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • john dingley wrote:


Lo Cicero
R Best

  • 183.
  • At 05:30 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mike Crotch wrote:

i feel that England were amazing and wales were awful. Robinson was playa of the tournament

  • 184.
  • At 05:33 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Humps wrote:

Granted D'Arcy and Wallace had great tournaments but i dont think you can leave Corry out of the mix. He showed great versatility to switch from 8 to 4.
I think people can get carried away with the champagne rubgy and fail to recognise the impact of those in the engine room grinding out results. Corry had a fantastic tournament, for me he was arguably the one stand out player of the tournament.

  • 185.
  • At 05:39 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • TYLAR wrote:


  • 186.
  • At 05:41 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Massif Heed wrote:

Interesting that Scott Murray has appeared in a couple of the 'anti-teams' or 'chumps' of the tournament. Fair enough he didn't set the heather on fire, but line-outs are a second rows bread and butter, and Scotland, as a fellow countryman has already pointed out, were the best ball winners in the competition. The line-out was also a significant factor in Scotland's opening defeat to England, when Murray wasn't playing. I doubt many of the second rows playing in the Championship would agree with your verdicts.

  • 187.
  • At 05:51 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • seb bench wrote:

15. K Morgan
14. J Robinson
13. B O'Driscoll
12. G D'Arcy
11. D Strettle
10. R O'Gara
9. A Troncon

1. A Lo Cicero
2. R Ibanez
3. C Neito
4. M Bortolami
5. P O'Connel
6. S Easterby
7. D Wallace
8. D Leamy

16. D Villers
17. R Best
18. A Wyn Jones
19. S Parrise
20. H Ellis
21. D Skrela
22. Y jauzion
23. V Clerc

  • 188.
  • At 05:58 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Abdullah wrote:

15. Paterson
14. Strettle
13. Shanklin
12. D'Arcy
11. S. Lamont
10. Skrela
9. Ellis

8. Parisse
7. Wallace
6. Taylor/ Easterby
5. O'Callaghan
4. Bortolami
3. De Villiers
2. Ibanez
1. Castrogiovanni

  • 189.
  • At 05:59 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Abdullah wrote:

Lamont was immense for Scotland throughout. Clerc ahead of him? no chance. And im surprised Paterson didnt get in a vote to play at FB. Also Shanklin was so much more effective at 13 than O'Driscoll. Wales really missed his presence at the start of the tournament. I breathed a sigh of relief when he was on the bench against Scotland.

  • 190.
  • At 06:17 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Michael (179) and Paul (180), Sorry gents, if I'd known it was your girlfriend I was talking about I would've been kinder. You're right of course, John Hayes probably would turn me inside out at scrumtime. It's just that, I don't pretend to be an international prop. Hayes is a limited performer who is constantly outperformed by the (often mediocre) opposition - remember the Lion tour? The Munster-Leics match in January? The saddest indictment is that he is apparently the best that Ireland have to offer. God help you should he get injured before the RWC. One assumes Mary McAleese will be wearing '3' instead!
As for Gordon Darcy you simpletons, re-read what I wrote. I happen to be a fan. However, given the choice between Darcy and Jauzion I'd choose Jauzion. Darcy had the better tournament but Jauzion is the better player. Try taking off the emerald tinted glasses and emerging into the light. Not everything wearing green is golden!

  • 191.
  • At 06:25 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Danny wrote:

Would agree with the forwards, should have been an irish 11-15, not too sure about ROG either, skrela is very good at controlling games so should be there. I think strettle ahead of hickie is a farce. Apart from that it been pretty fair enough.

  • 192.
  • At 06:29 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Pinja wrote:

Go on Scotland!u rock.Lamont was immense!deffinately agree wiv u Abdullah. Pinja

  • 193.
  • At 06:29 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ali wrote:

Nice spelling bob, and a great team selection as well!

In seriousness, im glad to see bortolami get the recognitoin he deserves, i may be biased as a gloucs fan, but he was one of the best italina players, and lead them spectacularly.

Also, james hook played 1, admittedly very good game at 10, yet you expect him to be in on the basis of that? For me, ROG and skrela were the most consitant 10s, and troncon was also impressive.

  • 194.
  • At 06:45 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Macca wrote:

I have got to say for the most part the team was fair. There were some unlucky players in tough positions such as Leamy at 8, Horgan at 14,Hickie at 11, Betsen at 6, Skrela at 10 and Wyn-Jones at 5. These were all close calls. All of these could have gone either way. Strettle and O'Connell being in the team is a joke. Horgan and Hickie were far better performers in the 6N while O'Connell is probably only there for the England game- otherwise poor. O'Driscoll is there because of inspiration and the fact that a half fit O'Driscoll for half of the Six Nations is still better than all the other 6N teams can produce at centre .

My God! Some of you people don't know the first thing about rugby.

  • 196.
  • At 07:32 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Dicko wrote:

6 Nations Squad of Tournament

15. Dempsey (Ire)
14. Paterson (Scot)
13. O'Driscoll (Ire)
12. Jauzion (Fr)
11. Strettle (Eng)
10. Skrela (Fr)
9. Migoni (Fr)

8. Paresi (It)
7. Wallace (Ire)
6. Taylor (Scot)
4. Bortolami (It)
3. De Villiers (Fr)
2. Ibanez (Fr)
1. Castrogiovanni (It)


16. Ellis (Eng)
17. Wilkinson (Eng)(if fit)
18. Lamont (Scot)
19. Clerc (Fr)
20. Horgan (Ire)
21. Popham (Wal)
22. Lo Cicero (It)
23. Hall (Scot)

  • 197.
  • At 07:52 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

This blog is about team of the tournament and not about who may play well in the next weeks, month or years!!

You are entitled to your opinion but Jauzion did not have a better 6 nations than D'Arcy and this is the second 6 nations in the last 4 years that D'Arcy has been the form centre so to say Jauzion is an outright better player is complete crap. D'Arcy is the form centre in the world at present and I hope he proves you wrong come the WC.

  • 198.
  • At 07:52 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • rapidbluesbrother wrote:

Re: comment 103

Actually, James Hook was instrumental in Wales's second try at the Stade de France while playing out of position.

  • 199.
  • At 08:02 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Mike Roberts wrote:

Post number 149 is so true that it husrts!
I feel as an impartial supporter of the game, that the Irish have been too heavily praised for what they have achieved. They have come on a massive amount and probably will be (along with France) the top European contender for the world cup. However they should have done much better with the talent they have.
The Scotsman Lamont has had a brilliant 6 nations and deserves more praise. Without him and Patterson's kicking form Scotland could have done (even) worse that they did.
Wales' James Hook should be in instead of O' Gara. Even though O' Gara is very good, he scored some great positional tries finishing off moves that he started, the talent surrounding him was a step above and Hook perservered without this.

  • 200.
  • At 08:13 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • joe joe wrote:

comment 182 has the best team so half english half irish and i think its really unfair no scottish made the team. there is a comment further up whichsays all the under achieverss, why is joe worsley rubbish one of enlands best. my english squad would be:

15:jason robinson

14:mark ceuto

13:josh lewsey ( not in form. stronger from the last world cup no longer the finnes for a winger/FB, but runs straight strong good lines)

12:mike catt. proved he still has what it takes even though he might have been slighty flaky in some patches.

11: david strettle

10: johhny wilkinson

9:harry ellis ( cant think of any one else, any ideas)

8:laurence dallgio(so expierenced and strong,again not based on form)

7:Lewis moody or tom rees (need help both class moody brings flare and lots of passion to the squad, rees rock solid looks very expierienced)

6:joe worsley ( body every where tackling like mad)

5:alex brown (has one hell of tackle and works very hard)

4:martin corry ( not his strongest position but is also very expierinced)

3:phil vikery

2: george chuter

1:andy sheridan

any comments on team.

why do ireland not play neil best, he turns ball over like nobodys bussiness. anybody got a team for what ever country u support: just add

  • 201.
  • At 08:23 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Louis wrote:

I beleive that Tronchon had a great tournament. he showe dhis experience in many matches and proved his worth for italy. i disagree with the amount of italian forwards chosen. Although im english i still think Corry should be in there.

  • 202.
  • At 08:50 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:

I would agree that this is a pretty fair team based on the games. I do think we need to be careful about calling for the inclusion of players who only played 1 or 2 games out of a possible 5.

Even though I am irish, i do have to question the inclusion of O'Connell and BOD....we can blame the loss to france on BOD's absence, but I think it is a rather myopic stance to take.

Post 158 - If BOD said that Stringer and Horgan are the best in the world, then he must have suffered one too many blows to the cranium. There are better players at those positions in the 6N's, let alone in the SH.

If Robinson is so good at dancing through defences why didn't he score more tries? ROG, the weaklink of Irish rugby scored as many tries as Mr. Robinson did.

All in all some reputations were enhanced in this tournament, others suffered and will need to be rebuilt at the RWC...also, other stars will Lomu in 1995 and Wilko in 2003.

Roll on September and come on Ireland...get your finger out!!!!

  • 203.
  • At 09:02 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

ireland for the world cup!!!

  • 204.
  • At 09:03 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • adam o connor wrote:

#140: absolute genius (note hint of sarcasm)!

I agree, for once, with the majority of choices although i think Leamy should be at no.8. Close call between Clerc and Hickie but I agree as Ckerc won them the tournament with his try vs Irish. Also think Wyn-Jones ahead of O'Connell as O'Connell only performed as well as he could've vs England.

Ireland: Overall I think the Irish were the best team but inconsistency and naivety cost them dearly, especially vs France and Italy. They had many superb individual performances throughout including Leamy, D'arcy and especially Wallace. Poor performances vs Wales and Scotland cost them dearly. Will probably be knocked out of QF by NZ!

England: Poor in general and very inconsistent as was problem with most teams. Good individual performances and players for future, Flood, Geraghty and especially Strettle who outperformed all. Can't see them as any threat to NZ or Aussies etc but will make it out of easy draw.

France: Made the most of easier games with high victories vs Wales, Scotland unlike the Irish. More consistent than their usual selves except vs England but what can we say they won again and have the best chance out of Europe to win the tournament especially with home advantage.

Wales: A very disappointing tournament for them as they hoped to have a chance of a high or even 1st place finish. Unlucky against Italy but did well when they wanted vs England. Poor overall.

Scotland: Were, along with Wales quite disappointing and showed no improvement or weren't very exciting to be honest. Went close vs Ireland but never deserved the victory as they were at least trying to play 'total rugby'. I also show bias as I expected them to push France a little bit closer and I'm going to hold a grudge forever.

  • 205.
  • At 09:07 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

comment 191 John Hayes is a heineken cup winner, two time heineken cup runner up and three time triple crown winner. now he won a heineken cup with munster who dont exactly have the best backs in the world so your indictment of his ability is bot myopic and completely ignorant of fact. He is certainly not the best scrummager in the world but he still beasted the english pack and while he would not be in the team of the tournament he hits a massive amount of rucks and his tackling is as good as any prop in the world. these are simple facts that you have failed to take into account.

  • 206.
  • At 09:36 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

Post 29, has been hitting the Brains SA a bit much. Strettle, Ellis, Robinson and Rees, should be some of the first names on the team sheet.

Strettle was the most exciting player of the tournament. Ellis is now a genuinely world class scrumhalf, him playeing behind a rampaging english pack would be scary for any team, keeps all opposing back rows playing honest and watching for breaks.

Rees will Captain England to glory in the RWC in 2011 to lift the All Black Shrowd that currently covers the game. This guy will be better than McCaw.

You heard it here first!!!!!!!!

  • 207.
  • At 09:39 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

All these claims for Jason Robinson to be in the team...why? He finished off four tries that any winger in the tournament would have scored in the same position. By the same token D'Arcy's low international try record shouldn't count against him in the slightest (as at least one person suggested earlier); creating a try is every bit as important as scoring one and D'Arcy creates lots. Anyway, I didn't think Jason Robinson was very impressive, I'd have about six other wings ahead of him.

  • 208.
  • At 10:01 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Timmy wrote:

why is everyone making such a big deal about tom rees? 1 good game..

  • 209.
  • At 10:09 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

I think Ian Gough had a very good tournament was one of the very few Wales players that stood out as a consistent performer. And for him to be noticed in a well beaten pack up until the England game was very commendable. Godo on ya Goughy

  • 210.
  • At 10:18 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

#206, Ellis 'genuinely world-class'? He's aggressive, fast, good in defence and dangerous around the fringes, but he also spends too much time buried in rucks and his pass is too slow. Has no one else noticed that he picks the ball up THEN passes it? That's something scrum-halves are trained not to do at school level. I think he's still far from being a complete player, though he could certainly become one.

  • 211.
  • At 10:35 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ah wrote:

Dempsey shouldn't get in the ireland a weak link in my opinion. A carthorse is a good description, a severe lack of pace for the international seen will soon be exposed i'm sure! He is very sound under the highball and a reassuring presence in the back division, but too conservative! Where is his attacking threat when having to run the ball back at the opposition when deep in his half? Yes the man collected a few passes and ran over the try line a couple of times but is that enough for an ireland team wanting to really challenge in the world cup.
And, to those talking about flannery he isn't in the team because he cant scrummage as well as best. The ireland team have suddenly looked more comforatble in the scrum since best became part of the fromt row. Furthermore, flannery is no better at throwing in and is of more use in the last 20 minutes as an impact player with his ball carrying skills!

  • 212.
  • At 11:02 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Bonux wrote:

... If only Castagnaide had been fit, he is a much better unit than Poitrenaud. He will be our first choice for the RWC while Poitrenaud will warm the bench. Poitrenaud has slightly improved his game although he is still weak in defence especially in the air. His selection is only relevant when he plays along with Clerc and Heymans, his too team mates from Toulouse.

I would not worry too much about the ABs at this stage. No doubt they are number one and fully deserve it. But every World Cup is a story of its own. All the teams will raise their game, all the teams will have two months for reconditionning. Until then, the players from NH will rejoin in their respective tournament and that's the best preparation you can get. Apart from the injuries factor, I can only see a great RWC at the horizon, and who knows maybe a few upsets...

  • 213.
  • At 11:11 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • ethan wrote:

I thought that O'Gara was immense in this years six nations, I always prefered Humphreys to him as i support ulster but now i know that the munster man is far better than Humphreys !!
(ireland wer the best team at the six nations!!!)

  • 214.
  • At 11:11 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Bonux wrote:

Good sense of humour John. Johnny Wilkinson best player of the 6N. I like that :-) :-) :-)

No, the sad thing about Wilko is that his body does not seem to cope well with bigger muscles than it should be. Lesson for the kids: don't do steroids or even creatine otherwise you might end up like your idol... broken apart that is.

Although Jason Robinson would prove me wrong ;-)

  • 215.
  • At 11:22 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • philip wrote:

Marty of France deserves consideration in the centre for any team of the tournament and I write that as an Ireland fan. I don't think anyone has mentioned him in this blog.

  • 216.
  • At 11:34 PM on 21 Mar 2007,
  • Bonux wrote:

You Pomy boys... 30 minutes of excitement in the whole Tournament and you see yourself lifting the World Cup. Guess you will do the job easier for the ABs. Good luck fro your game against Israel by the way.

  • 217.
  • At 07:23 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Matt wrote:

re 108

I'd say five teams better than Wales - they came behind four teams, and the only team below them in the table comfortably beat them!

How on earth they beat England I'll never know - Wales have just been dire the whole way through.

Although the tournament has been exciting, the quality has been poor. Ireland have played some great rugby but choked against France, likewise France against England. Likewise England against Wales, I suppose.

Ireland and France are capable of some great performances, but they can't string more than a couple together. That's what it's all about in the World Cup.

On the strength of this tournament, I don't think NZ, Aus, SA or even Argentina have anything to fear but each other.

  • 218.
  • At 09:05 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Fin Gillon wrote:

15. Paterson
14. S.Lamont
13. Brian O'Driscoll
12. J.Robinson
11. K.Robertson
10. J.Cook
9. H.Ellis
8. S.Taylor
7. Bergamasco
6. M.Williams
5. N.Hines
4. M.Corry
3. J.Hayes.
2. R.Ford
1. J.White

Best team of 6N.

  • 219.
  • At 09:12 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Jonas wrote:

Dempsey: The second quickest in the Irish squad! Fact!

  • 220.
  • At 09:18 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Sean wrote:

Strettle at 14 ahead of Horgan (or Lamont for that matter)nice try in Dublin in a team that lost by 30 points, Great win in a team that beat a French team that had beaten themselves before thay got off the bus at Twickenham and a great performace in a Loss to Wales...

THe kids got promise I grat you but lets judge on form over years not promise over 3 games.

Horgan at 14 and then some

  • 221.
  • At 09:21 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • gfrazer wrote:

Teams who were woeful this year (England, Wales, Scotland) should not have any representation in a Team of the Tournament.

  • 222.
  • At 10:04 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Phil Mccracken wrote:

Where is the scots??

  • 223.
  • At 10:36 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

why does everyone think argentina are some massive world beaters! ireland should definitely beat them in the wc. also matt as for ireland only being able to string together more than 2 good performance look at the autumn internationals. we lost one match unluckily in 8 games since the autumn internationals!to be honest we're in a better position than england, scotland wales and italy. not that we will win the wc, i'm not that naive but as seen from the last 6 to 8 months we have won more matches.

  • 224.
  • At 10:40 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Massif Heed wrote:

No.219 - gfraser "Teams who were woeful this year (England, Wales, Scotland) should not have any representation in a Team of the Tournament."

You're absolutely right. It's like when people said Michael Essien was a great player for Ghana in the last football World Cup - he played for Ghana so he couldn't be any good. Or when people say Roger Federer is a great player when he plays for Switzerland in the Davis Cup - Switzerland tend to go out in the early stages so he must be rubbish!

  • 225.
  • At 10:41 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • audrey wrote:

gfrazer. that makes no sense. england weren't as woeful as scotland and wales, and i'm going to stick my neck out and say scotland weren't as woeful as i felt wales were. I mean, great that Wales beat England, but Scotland beat Wales, so who knows whats going on.

Anyway, my point is, just becuase the team wasn't great, doesn't mean individual players weren't good. take sean lamont - he had a great tournament - just unfortunatly for himn, that wasn't backed up by the rest of his team. you can't suddenly not consider individuals on the basis of their team.

  • 226.
  • At 10:41 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Alain Ghibaut wrote:

Skrela easily at number 10, no Poitrenaud or Wallace and the rest debatable. what on earth are some people putting Jason Robinson in for as all my English rugby friends agreed he shouldn't have made England's starting line-up, he was awful by his standards.

  • 227.
  • At 11:19 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • crampers wrote:

good selection overall but i must admit the inclusion of d'arc and bod at centre is an awful choice should have went for the outstanding farrel who literally was out standing nothing less just OUT STANDING o gara at 10 what a joke man cant score tries his kicking is awful cant tackle cant break the gain line no support play and only 80 points for the tournament !!!!

  • 228.
  • At 11:19 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Ed2003 wrote:

a) This is a team of the tournament. Not form shown over 'years'.

b) Just because the overall team plays badly doesn't mean that every player performs badly. Saying that only players from teams which performed well should be included is a joke.

c) The person who said Ellis is a world class scrum half is either winding people up or knows absolutely nothing about rugby.

d) Anyone who labels the choices for this team as a 'joke' either have their nationalistic glasses on or don't know much about rugby. None of these selections are a joke. You can disagree with them but no other player is such a long way ahead of the selections.

  • 229.
  • At 11:23 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • John wrote:

Re: the comments about Di Rollo in the Underacheivers Team - that's a little unfair. In actual fact you've seen Di Rollo at his best, which just goes to show you what an awful rugby player he is.

Let's hope that's the last we see him of him.

You're always going to get major discussions round such a topic and there are some notable ommissions, but I still can't see how Strettle gets in the XV and how anyone could even consider John Hayes.

  • 230.
  • At 11:49 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Stuart wrote:

76 and 87

Regarding my earlier comments on D'Arcy being over-rated (see 65) I see there has been a response from Ireland...

... and if the best example you have is his display in the Italian match then that proves my point. Where was D'Arcy vs France, le crunch match?

Point made I think.

  • 231.
  • At 11:50 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Jim from Croydon wrote:

France are champions but isn't it amazing how few French backs are in the selections - maybe their Scrumhalf is the only really stand out player here (altho Peel and Ellis did well); but if Mignoni does not play it looks like the French team don't either.

All the sides had at least one off day - Ireland maybe had two (Scotland and France) - I still can't understand why going into a World Cup more players weren't used. Injuries and form changes are bound to occur ? so why not try all the options.

I notice that Frank Hadden said that the injuries to Scotland were a blessing in disguise as he has discovered some new guys and developed the younger players because he had no other option.

Also for Ireland (my team) do they really have a game plan if BOD is not playing ? and who is the cover in the second row - Hickie most have done OK in Italy options largely untried?

Strangely they seemed to have answered the front-row question - so paradoxically I think they are potentially weak in the positions of their two strongest players - BOD and P McC - because the back-up for them is not at all clear.

  • 232.
  • At 11:59 AM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Danny Davies wrote:

Worst team of the tournament!!

15. Hugo Southwell
14. Chris Czekaj
13. Matthew Tait
12. Andy Farrell
11. Josh Lewsey (great player - never seen him play so badly before)
10. Stephen Jones
9. Chris Cusiter (Italy game!)
8. Ryan Jones (Salvaged some pride v England though)
7. Magnus Lund
6. Betsen (class player - didn't do anything)
5. Robert Sidoli
4. Most rows in the 6 nations were awesome - O'Connell, AW Jones, Bortolami...
3. Vickery
2. Bryan Moore - worst commentator of all time
1. Tim Payne

You wouldn't go far wrong with the Italy pack and Irish backs. Strettle looks good. Lamont is a great player in a dreadful back line. Mignoni, exceptional like Ellis.

Horgan was immense. I wish Ireland would stop blaming mistakes and losses on BO'D being off the pitch. Deal with it!!!!

  • 233.
  • At 12:04 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Philbert wrote:

Is anyone else surprised by the fact that Wales, England and France all recalled players that were subsequently handed the captaincy??

  • 234.
  • At 12:17 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Mike Buckley wrote:

Not too much to complain about in that selection other than how the feck could anyone leave out Denis Hickie? His performances this season were simply superb, both in attack and defence. The ultimate all round winger. All the more impressive considering he is now entering the twilight of his career. Looking forward to more of the same in WC from him. Oh...and Parriso at No.8? Surely Chabal or Leamy?

  • 235.
  • At 12:20 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

john, really cant expect non munster fans to understand how much john hayes puts in! ireland dont even appreciate him half enough! he isnt called the bull for no reason! maybe not be included in the team of the tournamnent but he's definitely worth a mention. i'm telling you the man has heleped munster win the heineken cup, has helped get them to 2 previous finals and even get to at least the quarter and semi stages. he has also helped ireland to 3 triple crowns and is vastly underrated or even not rated at all. the significance of john hayes is that he is never even mentioned as important in a game in the sense thet bod, ronan, o connell etc are but we, the fans, appreciate him and waht he has done over the years! slating him is ridiculous!

  • 236.
  • At 12:20 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

#219: I heard David Wallace was the second quickest in the Irish team? That may have been a couple of years ago though. He did beat Sean Lamont on the outside!

  • 237.
  • At 12:21 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Sims wrote:

OK, how about a team of over-achievers - new discoveries or reputations enhanced?

15 de Marigny (not as completely rubbish as I always thought)
14 Lamont
13 Canale
12 Dewey
11 Strettle (wrong wing, but I'm sure he'd cope)
10 Skrela (or Hook, but France have been after a quality 10 for so long...)
9 Troncon
1 Best
2 Chuter
3 Horsman
4 Nallet
5 AW Jones
6 Popham
7 Bergamasco
8 Parisse

Centres are a bit questionable, I admit.

  • 238.
  • At 12:30 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • paul wrote:

You should stop this blog now the more it goes on the more cocky and ridicilus the English bloggers are getting for no apparent reason

  • 239.
  • At 12:35 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Eamon wrote:

Oh Come on. 6 Irish and 8 "honourable mentions". Only Stringer doesn't get a vote. Were this correct we would have won the Grand Slam easily and not have struggled to wins against Wales & Scotland and lost to France at home. France won the Championship and have got only four players. Despite their rotation policy they had the best players. Italy came 4th and were trounced by France - how can they have equal number of players to France in the forwards when France beat them up up-front ? England came 3rd and have only 1 player - can't be right !!!

  • 240.
  • At 12:39 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

jerry flannery is a much better hooker than best! he's been injured for ages and in that time best got into the team and so altho best has done a good job, flannery is outstanding. he was a real find last year and i firmly believe that he was a huge part in munster winning the heineken cup!

  • 241.
  • At 12:50 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

#230 Stuart:
D'Arcy may not have been great in every game but who was? He produced more moments of magic than anyone else I can think of, particularly the flick against England and the step on Bergamasco to set up tries for Dempsey, and he broke the gain line almost every time he ran the ball.
He may have a few too many superlatives thrown at him but he's still an excellent player.

  • 242.
  • At 12:53 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • david wrote:

I think people have to differentiate between

1. Best northern hemisphere team
& 2. Team of the six nations.

although there would be alot of similarities, reputation does count for 1. and not for 2.

1.Northern hemisphere team

15. Poitrenauad
14. Horgan
13. O'driscoll
12. D'arcy
11. Robinson
10. O'gara
9. Peel/Ellis/Migoni
8. Taylor
7. Wallace
6. Corry
5. O'connell
4. Pelouse
3. De Villiers
2. Ibanez
1. Castrogiovani

2. Team of the six nations

15. Dempsey
14. Hickie
13. Jauzion
12. Darcy
11. Strettle
10. O'Gara
9. Migoni
8. Parisse
7. Wallace
6. Easterby
5. Nallet
4. Bortolami
3. Le cicero
2. Ibanez
1. Nieto

I apologise if there is a small amount of irish bias.
I know you might have totally different opinions.
Oh yeah my knowledge of the pack isn't the best so im sure some of you will have problems with it.

  • 243.
  • At 12:57 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Huw Edwards wrote:

I cannot believe that there is not one wales player in the team Dwayne Peel was the outstanding scrum half of the tournament in my oppinion and he did not even recieve one vote from the pannel and even though strettlt played well against France i still see his inclosion to the side as stupid

  • 244.
  • At 01:12 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

How can the six nations team not include Chris Paterson? He is offically the best goal kicker in the world.

  • 245.
  • At 01:18 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • stephen law wrote:


  • 246.
  • At 01:22 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Sammy wrote:

Ireland should have won! Why didn't they just kick the ball in touch at the end of their game? Oh well, they wern't to know. I am a diehard Irish fan and I got really annoyed.

  • 247.
  • At 01:29 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Tommy Shinton wrote:

Throughout the tournement Lamont was easily better than Strettle who only had ONE good game.
Hickie also should be in instead of CLerc.

  • 248.
  • At 01:49 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • relumz12 wrote:

i wish the arguments could just be on the players and their form rather than deteriorating into nation vs nation every single time.

anyway, I thought the selection was pretty much spot on. quite an exciting side, and reflective of how the respective players actually fared over the course of the tournament, rather than their overall reputation which clearly clouds a lot of people's views.

Re the strettle vs horgan thing. come on guys, that is a good selection. strettle looked good in attack and also in defence, theerefore would warrant a chance to show what he's got. horgan on the other hand did very little of note over the tournament, also having far more opportunities to make an impact due to the general quality of those around him. "big" shane horgan is a useful player, but to make comparisons with lomu or even taquiri is rubbish, he's effective, but thats it, its not like anybody gets excited when he gets the ball. i cant wait till our management get rid of him

  • 249.
  • At 01:55 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • munster all the way wrote:

huw i agree dwayne peel is a very good scrum half but he was far from being the best scrum half of the tournament! peter stringer and harry ellis were both very good as well as troncon for italy! sorry but at the moment they are above peel but maybe that'll change when wlaes start performing again

  • 250.
  • At 01:59 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:

Emerald Star - your post on argentina is not particularly fair. They did break Irish hearts in 1999...thus meaning that they have gotten further in the RWC than Ireland has ecer managed. They also beat England at twickenham last autumn...and you can slag the English team all you like...that is still not an easy task. Underestimate Argentina at our peril.

Also, Munster fans...Best is the player on form...his lineout throwing, as pointed out by others was highly accurate...his work rate don't write him off in favour of your blue-eyed boy Flannery.

  • 251.
  • At 02:03 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Killian wrote:

I would have to agree with the majority on replacing Strettle with Horgan (only just). Horgan is a better all-rounder and one of the best wingers in the world, despite an average performance against Scotland. Hickie was also unlucky not to get the nod and O' Connell was lucky to get the nod. Man of the tournament-Wally!

  • 252.
  • At 02:39 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

gator i agree with your blog! i actually tried to stop the blog going thro but it was too late. what i meant to say was yes argentina are a very tough team and yes we lost in 99 and only won by a small margin in 2003 but ireland should come out on top in the wc altho itll be very difficult. their win against england was fantastic.

  • 253.
  • At 02:49 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Stephen S wrote:

cant complain too much although i would prefer to see horgan in the right wing position. Obviously a far better and experienced player than strettle although i dont want to take anything away from strettle as he had a good game against ireland under a lot of pressure. Im a diehard munster fan but i feel O'Gara didnt have a great tournament, but if he can play badly and still rack up the points i guess hes still settin a good standard. Stringer should have been benched in some occasions, i think issac boss has a lot to offer the irish squad and if he got on for more than one match im sure he would have taken the scrum half position on your team

  • 254.
  • At 02:51 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • ceri parker wrote:

15. Morgan or Dempsey
14.Patterson or Lamont
13.Darcy(out of position 2 play hook at 12)
5.Alun Wynn-Jones
3.De Villiers

  • 255.
  • At 03:01 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • gfrazer wrote:

#242 - Corry as the best number 6 in the Northern Hemisphere?? That will make me laugh for months!! The best number 6 in the Northern Hemisphere is Neil Best - nobody else comes close.

  • 256.
  • At 03:08 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Ed2003 wrote:

Darcy is an excellent player, probably the form center in the world at the moment. I'm just wondering why every keeps banging on about that little flick. It wasn't that skillful. I remember a memorable example of a flick like that but I wont say who it was; I'll just be labelled as an arrogant Englishmen looking backwards.

Also: Strettle had one good game? What matches do some of you watch?

  • 257.
  • At 03:25 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Shamrock wrote:

On the Rory Best v Flannery debate - I'm an Uslter fan & I think Rory Best is a great player who doesn't do a lot wrong. But Flannery, fully fit, is the best hooker in the Northern Hemisphere.

Ha !Ha !Ha ! Ellis at 9 ?

Got to be joking !

OK credit due there were some patches that he played well in but nowhere near enough to be the scrum half of the 6N .

Overall ,the other teams' 9s are still streets ahead I would put Mike Phillips ahead of Ellis but with Peel as Wales 1st choice he doesn't get enough game time to prove himself.

  • 259.
  • At 03:31 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • doney wrote:

these poles are always the same, welsh supporters with their massive chip on their shoulders. do you not realise that you had an aweful tournament! hook is class and will be better then any other outhalf in the NH by a long shot, but he only played one game at outhalf. he cant be considered. id actually go for skrela myself but its a tough call. i think dempsey should be full back as hes the most consistent. im not a fan of morgan, infact i think hes one of the weaker welsh players. martyn williams is also class but i think wallaces selection is probably fair. alun w jones is wales' best shout for selction in place of oconnell. oconnell is the best lock in the NH but he wasnt at his best for most of the tournament. i think its a toss-up between horgan nd lamont in place of strettle and maybe betsen for easterby. all in all its a fair selection no matter what the welsh public think. i think more french players wouldve been selected if it wasnt for their rotation policy

  • 260.
  • At 03:49 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Post 30 Brian (Where is Andy Farrell?)

I think a lot of people were asking that question throughout the tournament

  • 261.
  • At 03:51 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • JJT wrote:

Largely agree with post 33. Unbelievable that O' Driscoll gets into the team of the tournament. He was playing outside teh back of the championship and still barely contributed (yes maybe the Irish see him as a leader, I'll give you that one). High mistake count and massively over rated, evenwith a dearth of competition he shouldn't have been close to inclusion.

  • 262.
  • At 04:06 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • munster girl wrote:

crampers 227- o gara cant score tries? eh- is that a joke? he got a try against wales, against france against italy and scotland and as for his kicking, was it not his sublime overhead kick to horgan, that led to one of the tries v england? yes by his standards he didnt perform as highly but still finished top points scorer! not a bad haul for someone who according to you can't score any tries and woeful kicking!

  • 263.
  • At 04:09 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Rhys wrote:

How can you leave the current best scrum half in the world dwayne peel out of the equation?

  • 264.
  • At 04:20 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • kit wrote:

The team is meant to include those players who had the best tournament, yes? Problem is, whether a player plays well or not depends largely on the team around him, particularly the pack. With a pack going forward, most players of mediocre quality or above will look pretty good. Hence the prevalence of French and Irish players in the selection, even if there may have been better individual performances from players in underperforming teams. So you're never going to get a consensus.

The players we should really be identifying are those who played well despite the team as a whole playing badly.

  • 265.
  • At 04:28 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • munster girl wrote:

to be honest i'd rather have bod playing according to some people here "badly" in our squad than not. i think many non irish fans would agree with me. still bod made fewer mistakes than mike tindall and andy farrell.

  • 266.
  • At 04:30 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • sam gibson wrote:

How could anyone possibly leave out John Hayes;Rory Best/Jerry Flannery;Marcus Horan; Donncha O'Callaghan;Dennis Leamy;Neil Best/Simon Easterby;Peter Stringer/Isaac Boss; Gordon D'Arcy; Dennis Hickie; Shane Horgan/Andrew Trimble;Girvan Dempsey/Geordan Murphy ???!!!!!!

  • 267.
  • At 04:52 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Chopper wrote:

Can't just have a team of leaders -Jauzion in place of O'Driscoll - although if fully fit no one in the world can touch him.

Agree with most of the team with the exception of Martyn Williams and Leamy in place of Parisse and Wallace. Parisse was good but did he really make a lot of impact? Chabal played well for 40 minutes in three games - not enough.

As for Patterson - kicking penalties isn't really a criteria for a winger.

  • 268.
  • At 04:55 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • GleisionMal wrote:

Rhys, Dwayne Peel is the best scrum half in the NH. I'll agree with that, unsurprisingly, being Welsh.

But there's no way you can claim he was the best S/H in this 6 nations tournament - even if you allow for the disadvantage of playing behind a completely misfiring Welsh pack. All you can say is that he's recovering his form after a dodgy 12 month patch, and showed some real flashes again of what he can do on top form.

  • 269.
  • At 05:25 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • dafyd wrote:

rhys, have you watched any rugby over the last 2 years post 05 grand slam?? peel wasnt even the best sh on the lions tour! its about time mike phillips was given a chance

  • 270.
  • At 05:30 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • marc wrote:

i think neil best is an absolutely amazing player... probably actually my favourite player at the minute, but he had a knock before the start of the tournament when Easterby was coming in on top form so i think EOS got that call right. Had Simon not kept putting in huge games, i have no doubt Besty would have been brought back and probably killed at least 3 men, 2 bears and an alligator but i have no problems with EOS sticking with Simon thru the tournament cause he was awesome! in the same way i think bossy would have played has he not been injured the full month before the start of tournament cause all round he offers a lot more than Stringer.

  • 271.
  • At 06:07 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • luke williams wrote:

why isnt james hook 10 he is awesome he is far better than o'gara, hook has style something o'gara lacks.

  • 272.
  • At 06:33 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Nakul wrote:

Who said Andy Farrell? What 6 Nations were you watching?
How is Mauro Bergamasco not in the team? He's probably the best 7 in the world! Scrum half was quite a difficult one. I would have gone for Ellis or Troncon over Mignoni, as both of the 1st 2 were an inspiration to their teams, especially the Italian. Apart from that, no real arguments, except maybe Dempsey at 15.

  • 273.
  • At 07:14 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • andinov wrote:

Good selection, one thing.

I can't believe Hook isn't outhalf. O' Gara is a forwards outhalf. Compare what he and contepomi get out of the exact same back line. Hook is the most creative and attack minded out half in the northern hemisphere. He played well all tournament OUT OF POSITION and superb when he was at no 10. Imagine what he'd do with the bbc back line?

PS. I'm not Welsh just if you think i'm being biased

  • 274.
  • At 07:44 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

15 Girvan Dempsey - Good in defence and attack.
14 David Strettle - A real find who shone on the few times he got the ball. Pity England didn't get him it often enough.
13 Brian O'Driscoll - Not always up to his usual standards, but still consistently better than most this year. The loss of his leadership hindered Ireland at crucial times in the tournament.
12 Gordon D'Arcy - Possibly the best player in the tournament this year. Always dangerous.
11 Shane Horgan - Has improved a lot over the last few years, had a good tournament.
10 Ronan O'Gara - I've never really rated him, always thought him just a kicker, and wouldn't normally even have him in the Ireland team. Played really well this year though, so is there on merit.
9 Pierre Mignoni - Just played well, consistently.
8 Sergio Parisse - Usually where a number 8 should be, either in the ruck or waiting for ball beside it. Excellent.
7 David Wallace - Superb. Contender for player of the tournament, and certainly the forward of the tournament.
6 Simon Easterby - Very good, consistently.
5 Paul O'Connell - Wasn't up to his usual very high standards for the entire tournament, but even then was still good enough.
4 Marco Bortolami - The best 2nd row in the tournament.
3 Pieter de Villiers - Great scrummager, surprisingly quick on the wing!
2 Raphael Ibanez - Better than all other contenders.
1 Martin Castrogiovanni - Unfortunate injury, looked good before then.


Andrea Lo Cicero - More than adequate cover for either side of the scrum.
Mauro Bergamasco - Unlucky to be up against Wallace for inclusion (as is Martyn Williams) but great player, both as flanker and back.
Jason Robinson - I always feel he's too slow after the first 10yds, but as an impact player against tiring opposition... 4 tries this year also speak loudly.
David Skrela - France finally have a good solid fly half. Didn't really do anything wrong, but O'Gara just too impressive this year.
Sean Lamont - Best Scots player, always looking to attack, good in defence.
Rory Best - Solid hooking, good around field.
Mike Blair - good for the entire time he was on the pitch, which no other scrum half (Mignoni excepted) can say.

  • 275.
  • At 07:47 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

Hopefully this isn't a duplicate - I typed Mike Blair, while meaning Mike Phillips as my reserve scrum half. Now changed to Troncon.

15 Girvan Dempsey - Good in defence and attack.
14 David Strettle - A real find who shone on the few times he got the ball. Pity England didn't get him it often enough.
13 Brian O'Driscoll - Not always up to his usual standards, but still consistently better than most this year. The loss of his leadership hindered Ireland at crucial times in the tournament.
12 Gordon D'Arcy - Possibly the best player in the tournament this year. Always dangerous.
11 Shane Horgan - Has improved a lot over the last few years, had a good tournament.
10 Ronan O'Gara - I've never really rated him, always thought him just a kicker, and wouldn't normally even have him in the Ireland team. Played really well this year though, so is there on merit.
9 Pierre Mignoni - Just played well, consistently.
8 Sergio Parisse - Usually where a number 8 should be, either in the ruck or waiting for ball beside it. Excellent.
7 David Wallace - Superb. Contender for player of the tournament, and certainly the forward of the tournament.
6 Simon Easterby - Very good, consistently.
5 Paul O'Connell - Wasn't up to his usual very high standards for the entire tournament, but even then was still good enough.
4 Marco Bortolami - The best 2nd row in the tournament.
3 Pieter de Villiers - Great scrummager, surprisingly quick on the wing!
2 Raphael Ibanez - Better than all other contenders.
1 Martin Castrogiovanni - Unfortunate injury, looked good before then.


Andrea Lo Cicero - More than adequate cover for either side of the scrum.
Mauro Bergamasco - Unlucky to be up against Wallace for inclusion (as is Martyn Williams) but great player, both as flanker and back.
Jason Robinson - I always feel he's too slow after the first 10yds, but as an impact player against tiring opposition... 4 tries this year also speak loudly.
David Skrela - France finally have a good solid fly half. Didn't really do anything wrong, but O'Gara just too impressive this year.
Sean Lamont - Best Scots player, always looking to attack, good in defence.
Rory Best - Solid hooking, good around field.
Alessandro Troncon – Did very well for an old guy!

A team based not only on this year's 6N but on wider experience that can be pitched against SH opposition and do the business :-

5.Alun Wynn-Jones

  • 277.
  • At 08:12 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Danny wrote:

15. Dempsey
14. Lamont
13. O Driscoll
12. D'Arcy
11. Hickie
10. O' Gara
9. Troncon
8. Parisse
7. Wallace
6. Easterby
5. Nallet
4. Bortolami
3. Nieto
2. Ibanez
1. Milloud

Troncon isint technically the best scum half but this is team of the six nations based on performance. The Irish backs were the best overall apart from Horgan well below par against scotland and france. Went for more french players in the pack basically because apart from that one off game against england they were superb.

I dont believe in people raging on about Hook to be in at 10. He played at 12 for 4 games so how do answer that but theres no doubt he will be the best outhalf in world rugby at some stage in the future.

  • 278.
  • At 08:19 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

271 luke williams- yeah hook is a good player but no way better than o gara! hook played in 1 game all 6 nations.wheras o gara played all 5 games and altho they lost to france he was outstanding against them! italy wasnt his greatest game on the there's no way you could put him in as a player of the tornament as he only had one game! maybe next year thou. i agree he'll more than likely be up there with the grats but at the moment o gara is the best! and that goes for skrela too- even the french agree with that!

  • 279.
  • At 08:24 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Nathan wrote:

i was reading some on these and people still go on about wilko he played shocking so did farrel he made a big mistake swapping codes my 15 would be!


  • 280.
  • At 08:39 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

Under preforming team:
15. Lewsey
14. Dominici
13. Jauzion
12. Tindall
11. Williams
10. Jones
9. Cuister
8. Jones
7. Williams
6. Betsen
5. Grewcock
4. Cockbain
3. Vickrey
2. Best
1. Freshwater

  • 281.
  • At 09:39 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • Timmy wrote:

clerc? i think hickie should be there..

strettle?.. how about paterson or lamont?

lads your rubbish.

  • 282.
  • At 10:58 PM on 22 Mar 2007,
  • gavin wrote:


The 6N team of the tournament must be built around the Italian pack ( the most impressive such unit in the championship ) . The bench would be filled by De Villiers , Harinordoquy , Ryan Jones , Wyn-Jones . Ireland's 8 tries vs Italy and their thrashing of England showed a clinical and stylish dimension to their back line which goes from strength to strength . Replacement backs would be Beauxis ( Hook - are u for real , one game and he's the next Dan Carter !? ) who was much better than Skrela , Jauzion ( great player , not a great tournament ) , Clerc . Chabal and Betsen are immense players on their day but disappointed in this tournament . Scotland's players came to the six nations party too late , Wales have been unlucky with injuries and loss of form , I expect them to be in the mix next year . England are a conundrum wrapped inside an enigma . With the exception of Catt , all the positives to be taken from England's 6N tournament are for the rookies ... Strettle , Flood , Geraghty , Rees , Palmer all impressed .

Bring on France and le crunch .

  • 283.
  • At 08:12 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Beef wrote:

Why are people still banging on about Hook after one good game. If thats the case then why not select Jonny Wilkinson after his comeback performance???

A few people dissin poor John Hayes. I imagine most people on this blog have never had the privilage of scrumming down in the front row! While I accept he is far from the worlds best scrummager, his lifting in the lineout is immence. How do you think POC and DOC get so high. In the loose he is probably one of the best in the world. Not called the bull for nothing. He hits way more rucks than would be expected of a prop.

  • 284.
  • At 09:18 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

i am assuming that bod was just put in the team because of previously outstanding performances and not on his contribution to the tournament this year. No disrespect to one of the worlds greatest players but he was playing at half mast and just carrying one too many knocks to make your team.

  • 285.
  • At 09:31 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

I have to be honest this has got a bit petty. Isnt it about the individual performances of the tornament?? A few stand out players for me Troncon, James Hook, Lamont and Dennis Hickie

  • 286.
  • At 09:34 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • jkay wrote:

i agree with howard poth's team, he is the only person to put both strettle and robinson in the team as both played a mnajor part in the england six nations team and espescially against france

  • 287.
  • At 10:09 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Danny Davies wrote:

Will people stop banging on about Neil Best. Easterby was absolute class this 6 Nations and there was no place for Best in that irish back row. As for Bergamasco being the best 7 in the world I think you've forgotten about the likes of McCaw, Berger and George Smith.

Mike Phillips isn't good enough to tie Dwayne Peels boot laces.

Hook has had one good game - where he was excellent but better than O'Gara? I don't think so!!

I hope England keep picking Farrell in their midfield. If he keeps Mike Catt out, the more chance all the other teams have of beating England. Catt was class when he played and Andy Farrell seems to be struggling like Iestyn Harris did a few years back!!

  • 288.
  • At 10:26 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

250 -Gator

You say "thus meaing that they have gotten further in the RWC than Ireland has ever managed"

This is not true. They beat Ireland in a play-off for the quarter final, went on to play France in the Quarter Final and then lost.

THEREFORE, the furthest both Argentina and Ireland have got in a Rugby World Cup is the Quater Final.

  • 289.
  • At 10:48 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • hughser wrote:

for all of you saying dave strettle should not be there and shane horgan or sean lamont should lighten up.would you prefer to watch a young and unpredictable winger or horgan or lamont who are just big lumps who will run straight into opponents everytime.very dull players ion my eyes.

  • 290.
  • At 10:53 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

Shane Horgan Isn't the play everbody thinks he is! He can't pass the ball!

  • 291.
  • At 10:56 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • emerald star wrote:

mccaw is the best no 7 of the sh temas and david wallace is the best of the nh! he was outstanding this 6n.

  • 292.
  • At 11:01 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • hughser wrote:

anyone saying strettle should not make the team neeeds to lighten up in a big way.he is quick very elusive and very unpredictable.he also made countless try saving tackles.the other contenders are horgan and lamont both big lumps who run straight into opponents not adding any real excitement to the game.

  • 293.
  • At 11:06 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • theboyconroy wrote:

243. "The best number 6 in the Northern Hemisphere is Neil Best - nobody else comes close."

erm naw, the best blindside is Jason White.
Guiness Premiership Player of the Year 2006

  • 294.
  • At 11:31 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

To say Horgan is a big lump that just barges into people is either naive or ignorant. Or both. For a big lad he has got some nimble feet and pace to boot. He also has a great rugby brain and picks some great lines. His handling of the ball is superb, too.

  • 295.
  • At 11:34 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Shamrock wrote:

Ok guys - stop the BOD-knocking. I'm sure if we were to ask anyone who played against him during this tournament, they would completely disagree that he had a poor campaign. BOD and D'Arcy should both be in the Team of the Tournament because, as a pairing, they are the only 2 centres in the competition that would worry the Tri-Nations sides.

  • 296.
  • At 11:51 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Tim Sims wrote:

Hughser, re "big lumps" on the wing you could say the same about Jonah Lomu... not the most elusive winger ever, but didn't need to be (and no less exciting to watch as a result). Horgan has excelled at the highest level for years, and while Lamont will always struggle in a poor team winning little quality ball, at least he still looks for work. Strettle by contrast was anonymous in the 2 games where England were beaten up-front. He's a great prospect, sure, but still with a lot to learn.

  • 297.
  • At 11:59 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Anthony wrote:

I think the team selected by the beeb shows the players who have most exceeded expectations. The inclusion of Mignoni and Strettle ahead of Ellis and Robinson demonstrates this clearly. Ellis and Robinson both had a bigger influence upon positive results than the other two. The team selection also reinforces England not living up to everyone's expectations in the end.

  • 298.
  • At 12:14 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Shamrock wrote:

#293, I must admit that I forgot about Jason White - a truly awesome player, but I'd still have Best ahead of him.

How about this - a World XV, fully-fit & on form. Mine would be

N Best


  • 299.
  • At 12:15 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:


thanks for fixing my faulty memory.

Emerald star also pointed out that the original post that prompted my comments on Argentina was supposed to comment on their strength, not their weaknesses.

I have followed Ireland for more than thirty years, and agree with many that this is the best team we have had in years, if not forever. However, the pool stage at the RWC still worries me greatly, but trying to be optimistic maybe this is the year that we finally put our French and Argentine bugbears to rest.

Living in hope.

  • 300.
  • At 12:42 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Paulandall wrote:

For me, Robinson and Lamont are unlucky as both performed despite being the last in the queue in the 'get me a decent 3-quarter line' competition.

Strettle's a great find but..

  • 301.
  • At 01:17 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Gareth wrote:

I think after James Hook played 4 solid games in the centre and then schooled England at outside half he deserved a spot in the side.

  • 302.
  • At 01:44 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Chuck wrote:

Hi Gator,

No worries! I've been living in fear of this group for quite a while now, even when it was announced we'd be with France and 'Americas 1'. I was hoping maybe Argentina would think "hang on, we're going to be in a group here with France and Ireland... can we not perform against USA/Canada/Uruguay, let them take Americas 1 and we'll see how we fare as Americas 2 against Scotland/Wales"
- no disrepct Celtic brethren.

I hate playing Argentina not because I don't like them - they have some amazing players that I love to watch; Tiesi, Contempomi, Pichot, Leguizamon (although his faux-pas vs Wasps wasn't too great) - but because they are a bloody tough nut to crack! I think a defeat to them now would be more catastrophic as Lens '99. Back then signalled the end of a very bad era and since we have gone from strength to strength. You only need look at the 8 six nations championships since then to see that - we sit second on an "overall" table (ok, we haven't got anything to show for it bar three triple crowns but still, compared to the dark 90's, it's amazing!) whilst the 8 before that we would be bottom of a 5 nations one, by a long shot (we won 7 games in 8 years - '93 being a particularly vintage year with 2 victories).

Anyway, back to my point - to lose to them in '07 would prove far worse than '99. We are a team who are at the peak of their game and have aspirations to go higher. We shouldn't look at this game with fear but with confidence and KNOW we are going to win.

It wont be easy but it'll be epic I have no doubt (i remember chewing all my nails in '03).

However, another thing that worries me is that a few of the Argentinians play for Stade Francais don't they? They'll probably get a good bit of support from them and think we are playing them at Parc des Princes.

Still, by then we might well have beaten France and could be on a roll.....

And before you all think I'm getting carried away I said MIGHT!

  • 303.
  • At 01:45 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • LarneUlsterFan wrote:


Im a big Neil Best fan and i do agree that he should be ahead of Easterby for Ireland as he brings somethin different to the table which Ireland have lacked bar O'Connell. but i also would rather put Wallace at 6 in the world team cos he is pure class. The amount of link up play he does with the backs is amazing and you need him on that pitch!

As for your back line, I would have Gordon D'Arcy in any team in the world, especially if your gonna play BOD!

Don't know a lot about front 5 but yours looks as solid as any as i could come up with!

Best player in the world??? Dan Carter is by far and away the most effective player in the world, he carves up defences for fun!

  • 304.
  • At 02:57 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

Northern Hemisphere team fully fit and on form, not just based on this 6N:

15 Poitrenaud
14 Rougerie
13 O'Driscoll
12 Jauzion
11 Clerc
10 Hook
9 Peel
1 Lo Cicero
2 Ibanez
3 Castrogiovanni
4 Thion
5 O'Connell
6 White/Easterby
7 Wallace/M Williams/Bergamasco
8 Parisse/Leamy (would say Chabal too but he's either brilliant or awful)

Yes, back row is hard to pick...

  • 305.
  • At 03:24 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Flanker wrote:

62. At 06:40 AM on 21 Mar 2007, Navaneethan Santhanam wrote:

Ridiculous that Alix Popham, Ryan Jones & Dwayne Peel were not even mentioned

Alix Popham definately. As for Ryan Jones, No! I am a huge fan of Ryan but this hasnt been a good tournament for him. Apart for the game against England...he was anonymous.

  • 306.
  • At 03:27 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • AodhODuinn wrote:

On the world team, Only changes I would make Collins at 6. D'Arcy with picked O'Driscoll, and lo Cicero instead of sheridan.

  • 307.
  • At 04:26 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I wish people would stop putting Sheridan as 1st choice loose in the world. Impact for 10 mins then bye bye. I can't look at Mealamu on principle, but I think Flannery , and despite age, Oliver are better anyhow. Best No.1 has to be Milaud. The man's a menace. Hickie probably edged the left by class alone.

  • 308.
  • At 04:55 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

I would choose Welsh players from 1-15 as they are all gifted legends.

  • 309.
  • At 05:01 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Charlotte Hodgson wrote:

Radio 1 XV

Oooh Gary Davies
Janice Long
Dave Lee Travis
John Peel
Kid Jenson
Steve Wright
Noel Edmonds
Peter Powell
Annie Nightingale
Tony Blackburn
Jackie Brambles
Simon Bates
Andy Peebles
Tommmy Vance

  • 310.
  • At 05:03 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • ROG wrote:

Pick your world 15 after the world cup. This is the team of the 6 nations!!

  • 311.
  • At 05:24 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:


I live in SA and am hoping to get a chance to get to Argentina to see Ireland at work at the end of May.

It should be an interesting couple of games as Ireland will probably not have all their starting line-up due to HC commitments.

I have mixed feelings about this 2 game series as this is one of the teams we will definitely play in the WC...will it boost our confidence or give the whingers more ammo to drag us through the mud?

Anyway, should be some exciting rugby. I am excited to see the Ulster players get a chance to deliver ahead of the WC...hopefully they will shine.

  • 312.
  • At 06:09 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Spooks wrote:

gator - 310; you are going to see a development Irish side of squad players but nothing to do with HC. All the top players will be wrapped in cotton wool by EOS. Two reasons, the obvious one of losing a talisman, O Connell, O Gara, Bod (should also include Darcy) prior to the WC; and two the pyscology of the result. If the argies win we can say that we only played the b team, if Ireland scrape a win then the advantage is ours...

  • 313.
  • At 06:52 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Graeme Duckworth wrote:

“Not a vintage tournament for the Lions skipper but his influence on the Irish side cannot be understated” – Mark Orlovac

Mark, I know that, as a highly-trained BBC journalist, you'll thank me for pointing this out: stating that something "cannot be understated" means the precise opposite of what I think you mean in this instance. If you don't believe me, consider the contradictory statement "cannot be overstated". "Overstated" means "exaggerated", so the statement with the opposite meaning to yours is equivalent to "cannot be exaggerated". If something cannot be exaggerated, then it is very great indeed, which is the idea that I believe you were struggling to convey.

  • 314.
  • At 07:15 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Gator wrote:

Having looked at the HC schedule I see what you mean...the first game is the week after the HC final. That's what I get for trusting the Belfast Bellylaugh.

Anyway, it is important for EOS to blood some of the players who were on the bench during the 6N's. They need the experience should something unforseen happen to one of the regular 15 during the RWC.

To me that is one of our can criticize LaPorte and Graham Henry for chopping and changing their squads, but it also has bred a depth in positions that we lack.

  • 315.
  • At 08:33 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

Gator: Agree totally with that, Ireland's lack of depth in certain positions is worrying.
There maybe aren't any props good enough to be getting tests, but it'd be good to see the like of Paddy Wallace getting a bit more game time in case of O'Gara getting injured. Hopefully that will happen in the summer.
Certain players are unreplaceable, thinking of the centres and O'Connell in particular, but then again I suppose all teams have that to some extent; it would be a massive blow to New Zealand if they lost Carter and McCaw, or to France if they lost Jauzion, or to Australia if they lost their foraging opensides...I think Ireland seem to suffer from dependence on talismans (talismen..?) the most though.

  • 316.
  • At 08:44 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • A.Crook wrote:

Quality team on comment no. 200
long live Dilallio and Jonny

  • 317.
  • At 08:50 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • wako jako wrote:

um for 304... rougerie didnt play, how cn u say he is in the team?

  • 318.
  • At 10:30 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Campayne wrote:

15 - Patterson - fast, great. leader and prolific kicker. However, if this were a real team then he wouldnt be needed as i'd play ROG at 10.

14 - Strettle - has the confidence and flair to go a long way its a shame that around 13 of the other English player lack the above.

13 - O'driscoll - impossible not to put in, performed well in his matches - shows how influencial he is as Ireland really struggle without him.

12 - D'arcy - Great ball carrier (top of the tournament), pace and power.

11 - Horgan - very powerful , one of the few wingers who could break an AB line - (something every other winger in the tournament bar lamont couldnt do if we're honest).

10 - O'Gara - prolific points scorer with the boot and has shown his ball running skills throughout the tournament.

9 - Troncon - Yes mignoni has better pace but the experioence of Troncon, his reading of the game and his ability to pull together the pack into a well oiled machine is quality.

8 - Parisse - The player of the six nations - strong, great defence and involved in everything.

7 - wallace - supreme player - always quikc to the breakdown.

6 - Bergamasco - a strange choice you may think - but his mind for the game is what makes him such a good player. Very crafty on the deck. Not all his play is legit but either is Mccaw - and he has shown that by being crafty you can easily turnover a lot of ball. Bergamasco has also become a bit of a points scoring machine.

5 - P O;connell - Inspirational to the players around him - powerful and great at the lineout.

4 - Bortalami - The best lock is terms of handeling and lineout work bar none. Very athletic for a big guy.

3 - Castragionvanni - amazing scrummager - no wonder vickery looks out of condition when you compare him to a prop such as this guy.

2 - Ibanez - great ball carrier , leads from the front and his lineout is one of the more secure.

1 - Olliver Milloud - powerful and gets the job done.

subs : Lo Cicero , Ellis, Clerc , mignoni , easterby and leamy.

and finally : in defence of betsens 'aweful' 6N, the bloke made 69 tackles - the most by a long way in the championship.

  • 319.
  • At 12:10 AM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • ulster am wrote:

#317 Read the post again. Loving people's explanatory notes beside players, 'played well' etc :)

  • 320.
  • At 12:52 AM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • dobs wrote:

ok, slightly diferent take here. so all teams are represented have alocated players based on finishing table (before points diff)... so 4 to ireland/france, 3 to england, 2 to italy and 1 to wales/scotland. takes some thinking about and a bit of shuffling but reckon all these guys were amongst the top performers for there sides.

1. milloud
2. ibanez
3. castrogiovanni
4. nallet
5. wyn-jones
6. rees
7. wallace
8. parisse
9. ellis

  • 321.
  • At 10:59 AM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • Michael MacLugash wrote:

Personnally I feel Denis Hickie should have dominici's place on the team. To me he was the player of the tournament, creating loads of opportunities and tries with his nimble feet and silky running skills.

I also feel that scotland have a brilliant back row, and someone who played as consistent as Simon Taylor throughout the tournament should unquestionably earn a place!

  • 322.
  • At 01:49 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • wakojako wrote:

for 319... u were right, sorry bout that i had a bit of a mare there.

  • 323.
  • At 03:11 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • rugby999 wrote:

WHERE is Toby Flood, ok Gara was exceptional but flood what a find he is; great kicking, good with the ball, inteleigent and Strong tackler and he scored tries set up a few going to be huge for england in the future also sebastian chabal should be number 8 because he was amazing throughout the hole tournament !!!!! any1 else agree with these two people and places? Every1 should !!

  • 324.
  • At 05:11 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • JRP wrote:

Mauro Bergamasco is not a 6 and Taylor was as impressive as Betson for the whole tournament.

  • 325.
  • At 06:34 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • wako jako wrote:

for 323.... no don't agree with u, chabal was very inconsistent and pretty average most of the time. and u said that o'gara was exceptional, but flood was a gr8 find...... so o'gara was much better then

  • 326.
  • At 07:14 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • des wrote:

what i cant stand is the way english people dont rate ronan ogara ..hes definetly the best out half in the europe and at the moment sinse we havent seen carter he is the best outhalf in the world at the moment....not one english player should be on that team strettle is a prospect along with flood and gerahty but thats it they were very bad ....france were poxy and i think ireland will beat them at rwc

  • 327.
  • At 07:28 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • Micky wrote:

English fans are getting too big headed. Strettle was good ( at times but there was far better experience and reliable players e.g Horgan Hickie Clerc Robinson Lamont. I think the only English player to be considered would be Ellis. I would have said Wilko, but ROG was good and Skrela was impressive.
Paterson was a very good Kicker but was only ok in open play. Robinson was good- and im happy to see him back playin well. Andy farrel was very poor. Tom Rees was good.
my 22.
1 Milloud-olid
2Ibanez-ood captain,some good games
3 Castrogiovanni-Solid scrumager
4 Wyn Jones-heared he was good
5Bortalomi-ood leader good try v Ire
6 Esterby-Good for all of 6N
7Wallace-Best No7 In Europe by a mile
8 Parisse-very good performance
9 Ellis-Just beat Migoni. Good player
10ROG-Scored all Ire points in 2 game
11HickieTackle V Sco playing his best
12 D'Arcy Best Centre in the world
13 O'Driscoll- same as D'Arcy
14 Horgan MACHINE
15 Dempsey-Very impressed.
16 Lo Cicero
17 Flannery
18 O'Connel
19 Rees
20 Migoni
21 Skrela
22 Paterson

  • 328.
  • At 07:32 PM on 24 Mar 2007,
  • Angus Shaw wrote:

15: Patterson
14: Robinson
13: O'Driscoll
12: Hook
11: Hickie
10: O'Gara
9: Ellis
1: Cicero
2: Ibanez
3: Jones
4: Palmer
5: O'Connell
6: Wallace
7: Williams
8: Parisse