For many the 2014 6 Nations was a vintage season as the tournament went down to the wire and quite literally the final passage of play. Three teams were in contention come the last day of action but ultimately Ireland came out on top and few could argue against their first title since 2009.
With England it was a case of so near and yet so far with their third consecutive runners-up spot whilst France once again showcased their unpredictable nature. For the Welsh following this was not to be their year this time round as their away form deserted them but for Scotland and Italy it’s back to the drawing board as the gap widens between themselves and their 6 Nations opposition.
Having sat down and digested all the action from the 6 Nations, our own Lovell Rugby team have come up with a Team of the Tournament. Let us know your views and opinions by joining the debate and adding your comments.
The first name on our team sheet is Cian Healy. After missing out on the majority of the British & Irish Lions tour last summer, the Ireland loose-head certainly made up for lost time. Powerful in the scrum, on the attack and in defence, Dylan Hartley was another to miss out on the Lions tour (though his own fault) but since his ban has returned a much better player. His throwing at the lineout gave England another attacking dimension so he receives the number 2 shirt. The tight-head prop shirt goes to France’s Nicolas Mas. The 33 year old was once again at his destructive best throughout the tournament and made some impressive carries in an under performing French side.
It’s an all England front row with Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes. The work rate of the pair in every game was incredible to watch. From Lawes lineout work to Launchbury’s coverage around the field, England have a combination that will be around for years to come. A mention also for Ireland’s Paul O’Connell, for the way in which he excelled as captain and showcased his leadership on the big stage.
We’ve gone for Dan Lydiate as number 6 solely on his work around the field in defence. He finished with the incredible stat of making all 66 of the tackles that he attempted for Wales. With Sean O’Brien on the treatment table, Chris Henry had the task of filling his boots and did an outstanding job for Ireland in all the games he played and so is our choice for open side flanker. Why David Denton was dropped for Scotland’s game against Italy only the coach knows but this doesn’t stop us from picking him in our team of the tournament. The number 8 worked tirelessly for his team and put in a couple of very impressive performances.
Danny Care is our scrum half for his overall improvement in the past 7 weeks. Always looking busy around the breakdown, Care seems to have made the England number 9 shirt his own for the time being. The tournament’s top points scorer, Jonny Sexton gets the number 10 shirt. He grabbed four tries on his way to a 66 point haul which helped his team to the championship. Not sure if he will remember too much about the celebrations though, having been carried off towards the end of the French match.
Our centre partnership is made up of England’s Billy Twelvetrees and Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll. Twelvetrees came under a lot of criticism before the tournament but proved them wrong with a number of solid displays. His ability to fill in at 10 also gave England another attacking dimension. BOD makes our 6 Nations Team of the Tournament for the last time after his international retirement. He rolled back the years against Italy and put in one of his best performance in recent seasons for Ireland. A mention also for England’s Luther Burrell who took to the international stage like a duck to water.
Our back three is made up of Leonardo Sarto on the left wing, Yoann Huget on the right and our ‘Man of the Tournament’ Mike Brown. Italian Sarto scored two opportunist tries against Ireland and England respectively which is what you want to see from a winger on the international stage. Yoann Huget finished the tournament with 3 tries and helped keep France in contention for the title until the last game.
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