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RugbyGround >> 2012 6 nations team of the Tournment

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3/21/12 6:05 PM
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fingers 'n' teeth
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Edited: 03/21/12 6:07 PM
Member Since: 1/1/01
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Having a one year old leaves me tied to my house on weekends. This has advantages and disadvanteges. One of the bonuses this year was being able to watch every single one of the 6 nations matches live via USstream.

I've not really done that before and it was very interesting following the stories of the individual teams.
Wales consistent run to a Grandslam, Englands impressive improvement throughout, Frances fluttering performance, Irelands promise left in disappointment, the implosion of the Scots and Italy’s struggles all told different tales that were a joy to watch.

I feel, more than any other year that I’m in a decent position to select a reasonable team of the tournament based on who stuck in my mind for each position.

This is always a talking point and a bit of fun so feel free to disagree and add your own.

1. Gethin Jenkins - One of the old heads of the Grandslam welsh team. A 2 time British lion, he’s experienced, intelligent and a work horse. A great scrummager and even better in the loose. He's like a flanker in the front row and has developed into a solid leader. One of the best loose heads in the world.

2 - Rory Best - between him and Dylan Hartley with Best getting the edge because of 2 tries that showed his great support work outside of the set piece. He led well from the front in the absence of O’Connell until the Irish implosion that wasn't really his fault.

3 Adam Jones - The bed rock of the Welsh team. The welsh scrum doesn't yield and its because of this guy. One of the worlds best scrummagers and pretty handy in the loose. Looks set to add more British lions caps to his impressive CV.

4. Richie Gray - Gray was consistently the standout among his less than stellar team mates showing massive presence in the lineout (Scotland never lost a lineout on their own throw until the last match, 33 out of 33) and his try against France exemplified his impressive athletic talents. If Scotland had done better he might have been player of the tournament such was his contribution to their game.

5 Geoff Parling - a Solid Lock in the mold of Johnson and Dooley. Powerful in the lineout and a workhorse in the loose. He is constantly mentioned by commentators for tackles and carries. It’s exactly the work rate you need out of your locks.

6 Dan Lydiate - Even though the Welsh backline was much lauded before the tournament the truth is that the base of the Welsh game is in their stoic defense courtesy of the tenets of one Shaun Edwards. Lydiates play style is cut directly from the cloth of Shaun’s teachings; Fast defensive line speed, crunching hits and fearsome protection of the gain line. His ankle high tackles that keeps opposition going backwards whilst in attack have earned him the nickname "Chopper" and his work rate is etched all over his face after each game. Player of the tournament, #6 of the tournament and that is no mean feat with the likes of the exceptional Croft of England and Ferris of Ireland competing for this spot.

7 - Thierry Dusitoir - Even though he wears a 6 the French use their 6 like a modern openside. His relentless work at the breakdown turns over so many balls for the French making Dusitoir a constant thorn in all opponents and gave him player of last year’s world cup. This year was no exception. Warburton didn't really play enough rugby to warrant this position even though he was pivotal against England.

8 Ben Morgan – He is one of 3 players that are added to this list because of their impact on England’s mid tournament improvement. He took his chance with gusto and has surely cemented himself as England’s first choice #8. His ball carrying is off the charts. He’s great at the hard yards but positively monstrous when given a smidge of space. Tore trenches through the French and Irish defenses. A monster and a future star for England and the best #8 this year IMO. Every #8 deserves a mention (Faletau, Hardonquy, Parrisse, Denton and Heaslip) but Morgan made the biggest impact.

3/21/12 6:06 PM
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fingers 'n' teeth
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Edited: 03/21/12 6:06 PM
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  9 Mike Phillips - a quiet year for scrum halves meant that my choices came down to two, Mike Phillips or Lee Dickson. I chose Mike Phillips because of his consistency and contribution to the Welsh effort. His size and physicality give Wales an extra option for a pick and go and he marshals the forwards as good as anyone. A strong contender to repeat as a British Lion.

10. Owen Farrell – My choice of outside half basically fell to Farrell and Sexton because of the inconsistency of every other fly half in the tournament. Sexton is a better defender and possibly better strike runner but I went with Farrell because of the impact he made to the England game when he switched to #10. His tactical kicking frequently gave England the better edge in territory and his decision making and place kicking, is Wilkinson-Esq. I feel England have found their new 10 spot and his skills and composure defy his young age.
11 Alex Cuthbert – I feel that this spot is a coin flip between either of Wales behemoth wings but I gave it to Cuthbert over George North because of his more consistent performance throughout. George North was outstanding against Ireland but was a bit absent after. Cuthbert grew throughout the tournament and his try against the French showed exceptionally deft feet and skill for a man of his size.
12 Wesley Fofana – The most prolific try scorer on the French side, the new star center scored a try in each of his first 4 starts. Blistering pace and a penchant for being at the right place at the right time when it matters puts this guy in over guys like Barritt and Davies who also had fantastic tournaments.
13 Manu Tuilagi –The 3rd Englishman added because of his influence on the improvement of English form mid tournament. Stood toe to toe with the Welsh backs and was quite possibly the most threatening center during the Welsh/English clash. An ankle tackle away from a try, both him and Barritt kept the opponents at bay. He showed great pace in his try against France and is a monster to deal with in attack and a solid in defense. He’s a big man with great skills and future as long as he stays off ferries.
14 Tommy Bowe – Tommy is a great player and is rapidly approaching his peak. He almost equaled the record for tries scored in the championship and would have if he had have been awarded his try against the Scots (which, if the rules had been followed properly, he should have. Once over the try line there are no 2 movement laws). There is but one law with Bowe, give him the ball and good things happen.
15 Roy Kearny – IFelt this spot was between Roy and Leigh halfpenny but I would be putting the latter in because of his goal kicking more than his full back play. If I was being honest about whom I would rather have under the high ball it would be Kearny. He has glue on his hands and is fearless in the air. He also has a special ability to carve defenses asunder with his pace and elusive stepping. A great fullback and IMO the best of the championship.
4/2/12 12:17 PM
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Member Since: 10/31/08
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Lacking here.....would have easily Taken North over Cuthbert, and Jonathan Davies over either Fofana or Manu, Though I do think that picking a team of the tournement is pretty tough cos it wasnt that great tbh
4/6/12 1:28 PM
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fingers 'n' teeth
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 if you only disagree on 2 then thats not bad.

Yeah, i would tend to agree with you on Davies.  In hindsight i would probably put him in there over Fofanu but wanted to throw out some support to the French seeing as they should have some representation and he was probably their best player..

North had a lot of hype going into the tournament and was spectacular against Ireland but i felt Cuthbert was more consistent, the difference against France and broke more ground than North in the latter stages of the competition.

I also disagree with you on your opinion of the tournament.  It was great.  Wales v England, Ireland v France, France V England, Wales v Ireland were all great matches.

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