Team of the 6 Nations so far

It would have been easy to select the entire French team as they’ve all been playing at a consistently high standard all the way through but that would be quite boring –

  1. Cyril Baille – Only Monty Ioane has made more offloads in the tournament and Monty doesn’t have to push in scrums
  2. Jamie George – He’s in with a chance of leading the try scoring chart by the end of the tournament, he’s one behind Villiere, Penaud and Lowe
  3. Tadgh Furlong – technically he’s been relatively quiet compared to his own meteorically high standards, but 28 carries is the most by a prop and behind only Sheehan, Elias and Marchand for front rowers.
  4. Adam Beard – (If Jonny Gray could stay fit he’d be in the running) he’s only missed in 3 tackles in 4 games.  He’s one of only 3 forwards to have played every minute so far (more on that to follow)
  5. Maro Itoje – Another who has played every minute and he’s carried 30 times, won 6 turnovers and won 21 lineouts (shout out to Federico Ruzza or winning the most, 24)
  6. Michele Lamaro – he’s made 69 tackles (19 more than anyone else), he’s 23 and when he’s on the pitch Italy look a different team.  Technically he’s a 7 but he definitely plays like a 6 for me.
  7. Josh Van Der Flier – the other forward to have played every minute so far. He’s carried 36 times, made 43 tackles and if he scores a hat-trick today he’ll lead the try scoring chart.
  8. Gregory Alldritt – nobody has carried more in the tournament, his 52 is 5 more than second placed Garry Ringrose.  He’s made 5 offloads and broken 7 tackles and he’s made 44 tackles and won 4 turnovers.  What an absolute machine!
  9. Antoine Dupont – He’s definitely the best 9 in the world today if not the best rugby player, even when he wasn’t at his best in Cardiff, he didn’t really make any costly errors and his team still won.
  10. Johnny Sexton – It seems counterintuitive to select someone who Ireland are trying to rely on less and he’s only played 170 minutes (and his goal kicking has been a bit shaky) but he’s got 2 try assists, broken 7 tackles, made 5 offloads and won 2 turnovers.  Big players play big games an all that.
  11. Gabin Villiere – He’s also not played all the games and he just looks like a little geezer in a scrum cap but I’m always going to select a winger who can dominate a ruck and he’s won 3 turnovers (the same number as Francois Cros). He also scored a hat-trick that beat Ireland and he’s broken 8 tackles and made a dominant tackle, that tacks some physicality when you weigh about 14 stone.
  12. Jonathan Danty – (this could have been Gael Fickou too as the French backline has been generally excellent) He’s won 4 turnovers (the same as Alldritt) and he’s only missed 2 tackles in 216 minutes and he’s also broken 7 tackles on his 20 carries.
  13. Garry Ringrose – His 321 metres from 47 carries is a lot more than any other 13 in the tournament and while he’s not been at his best defensively (missed 6 out of 27 tackles) he has broken 6 tackles and he has a try assist to go with a try of his own.
  14. Mack Hansen – he got Ireland’s tournament up and running by running circles around the Welsh defence in Dublin and he scored the most audacious try you’ll ever see in a Test match in Paris. A try, an assist, 4 broken tackles and 4 offloads is a tidy return in your first tournament, especially when you’re 23 and only landed in the Northern Hemisphere about 9 months ago!
  15. Hugo Keenan – It could have been Melvyn Jaminet but his nightmare in Cardiff was difficult to watch.  Keenan has made just one mistake in the tournament that sticks in the memory, even when Ireland were under the pump in Paris, he looked like he was just playing a game with some friends in the park. He’s broken 6 tackles, made 2 offloads and scored a try.