Six Nations Team of the Tournament

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connacht v ulster
connacht v ulster

Despite England winning the 6 nations, France were the eye-catching team. As a result, 7 French players feature in our 6 Nations team of the tournament compared to 4 Englishmen. The competition was incredibly tight, especially in the back row where only three of six contenders could make the fifteen. In the backs, France’s domination is evident as their creativity throughout the tournament saw them lose out only on scoring difference.

15. Anthony Bouthier (France).

The 28-year-old was a late arrival to the international scene but he more than made up for lost time in 2020. Bouthier finished the tournament with 294m to his name. His cannon of a right-boot matches his own aerial threat which allowed him to start many of France’s attacks from deep.

14. Jonny May (England).

In recent years May has become one of the deadliest wingers in World Rugby and the 2020 6 Nations showed exactly why. Back in the Spring two tries and two assists reaped rewards in October as England pipped France for the title. His searing pace stretches defences and creates space inside for ball carriers to exploit.

13. Virim Vakatawa (France).

Even when teams manage to suppress the Racing 92 centre he still finds a way to make an impact. For example, against Ireland he had a try and assist while largely flying under the radar. His powerful, mazy runs are delightfully balanced by his soft, elusive handling.

12. Bundee Aki (Ireland).

At times, the Connacht man goes unnoticed in games. However, he is always quietly going about his business with no added fuss. It takes a special player to separate the Henshaw-Ringrose partnership but Aki has always justified his selection.

11. Gael Fickou (France).

One of Fickou’s main dangers is his versatility. While equally at home in the centre, he played three of this year’s five games on the wing. His strong carrying and strength in the tackle allowed France to threaten teams out wide and went a long way towards their rejuvenation.

10. Romain Ntamack (France).

A strong contender for player of the tournament. It’s hard to believe the French playmaker only turned 21 last May. The Golden Boot winner with 57 points that included three tries. Ntamack’s variety of play kept defences on the back foot and he offered big plays whenever France needed one.

9. Antoine Dupont (France).

Like his half-back partner, Dupont is a favourite for Player of the Tournament. The 23-year-old is arguably the in-form scrum-half in the world right now. He ticks every box for a world-class scrum-half and bossed games with his brains around the ruck. A France player has never won Player of the Tournament but Dupont could be about to change that.

1. Rory Sutherland (Scotland).

A single selection for Scotland in the team of the tournament doesn’t do them any justice. But, Rory Sutherland has made the Scottish scrum a ruthless opponent. Furthermore, his ball-carrying adds a valuable option in open play. Sutherland may well have played himself into a Lions test jersey.

2. Jamie George (England).

England’s efficiency from set-plays was crucial in winning the tournament and Jamie George’s was key in this. His accuracy at the lineout is ever reliable and he is a strong carrier in open play. Defeats strong opposition just to make the England team.

3. Kyle Sinckler (England).

Sinckler’s consistency has turned him into one of the powerhouse props in world rugby. He offers a strong base for the scrum and can break the line when England need a big carry.

4. Maro Itoje (England).

A true force of nature. Itoje is an all-rounder who offers everything to Eddie Jones. 22 ‘dominant tackles’ in the tournament was 8 more than anyone else. In addition, his physicality at the breakdown and dominance in the line-out has made his one of the best locks around.

5. James Ryan (Ireland).

An old-school warrior of the game who never took a step backwards, even when Ireland were down against England and France. Always offered himself for a carry and was excellent in the air.

6. CJ Stander (Ireland).

Although he only played a few minutes of the competition at blindside, Stander finds himself a Player of the Tournament nominee for his exploits in the back row. He had the most carries (78) and most turnovers (7). As a result, Stander is all but a certainty for a Lions Tour in his country of birth next year.

7. Charles Ollivon (France).

Ollivon was a major component of France’s defensive solidity. The French pack is finally a force again and the 26-year-old captain led by example. Ollivor finished the tournament with the most tries (4), four assists, the fourth highest tackles (77), third highest offloader, and most lineouts won (25).

8. Grégory Alldritt (France).

At only 23-years of age the base of the French number 8 gets through a mountain of work. He came away as man-of-the-match in three of his five games and finished second for carries (66), third for metres made (393), second for breakdown steals (4) and second for tackles made (81). If he continues in this way the French pack has a very promising future.

Honorable Mentions

Ken Owens (Wales) – Hooker

Bernard Le Roux (France) – Second Row

Jamie Ritchie (Scotland) – Flanker

Tom Curry (England) – Flanker

Justin Tipuric (Wales) – Flanker

Owen Farrell (England) -Centre

Josh Adams (Wales) – Winger

Autumn Nations Rugby Championship – Fixtures and Pools

https://www.sportsnewsireland.com/rugby/8-nations-rugby-championship-fixtures-and-pools/

https://twitter.com/SixNationsRugby/status/1323957697822269440

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