The Best of the 6
The 6 Nations is over. It’s a sad reality that we will come to terms with eventually although it will be sorely missed during the long Easter Weekend.
We decided to relive some of the best bits of the Championship and picked the top player from each of 6 Nations to make up our Six Stars of the 6 Nations. Disagree with our picks? Let us know your personal choices in the comments below.
6. Italy – Michele Campagnaro
For too long, Italy has seemed like a one man team. Their forwards have always inspired fear but Parisse has often been singled out as a shining star of the struggling team. This year was a little different. Campagnaro proved their is talent developing in Italy and was one of the most impressive centres in the Championship.
His performance in the France when Italy came so close to winning in Round 1 was of particular note. With a few more Campagnaros, Italy would start closing those tight games. His presence was sorely missed in the underpowered Italy side that was hammered by Wales.
Best Moment: Was hugely influential in Italy’s near victory in Paris and made 7 clean breaks in the tournament despite missing a game.
Honourable Mention: Sergio Parisse Fantastic to watch as ever, Parisse was especially impressive against Scotland under the high ball.
5. France – Guilhem Guirado
France’s new leader, Guilhem Guirado, was easily the best thing about the new look France under Guy Noves. His presence was felt in every game, leading by example in all 5 rounds.
While France were unable to get into the top 3, their win against Ireland was a big victory for the team. In tough conditions, Guirado, led his team to grind out a 1 point lead. If his form continues, the Toulon hooker will be France Captain for years to come.
Best Moment: Got the fastest try of the tournament (4m16s) to get his team off to a good start against Scotland.
Honourable Mention: Virimi Vakatawa Was a consistently potent attacking threat. Influential in ensuring France did not lose to Italy in Paris.
4. Scotland – Stuart Hogg
One of the standout players of the Championship, Stuart Hogg was in fantastic form for the 2016 6 Nations. Having had a relatively quiet Rugby World Cup, Hogg has now firmly plated his flag in the Fullback spot for the 2017 Lions Tour.
He seemed to have a hand in every try, with fantastic offloads and passes allowing the likes of Seymour and Visser to get over the line. His runs were some of the best we’ve seen from the young Scot and his dummy run between Mike Ross and Rory Best led to one of the best tries of the tournament. Glasgow will be pleased to have him back.
When the lads tell you you're heavily involved in one of the tries of the season and you realise what they meant pic.twitter.com/9E0qJJzPzP
— Mike Ross (@MikeRoss03) March 20, 2016
Best Moment: His blink and you’ll miss it reverse flick pass to Visser who then scored a decisive try against France.
Honourable Mention: WP Nel Was the anchor in the Scotland scrum, giving Scotland forward dominance in most matches.
3. Ireland – Jamie Heaslip
Ireland have lost many of their all time greats in recent years. Only a few remain on the current Irish side but those few were influential in salvaging Ireland’s 6 Nations campaign.
In particular, Jamie Heaslip, was an absolutely ferocious player for Ireland. His work rate made him one of the most important players on the pitch as well as the inspiration he provided for the younger players.
He put in a Man of the Match performance against Scotland to secure 3rd place for Ireland.
Best Moment: He has the final touch on this awesome team try.
Honourable Mention: CJ Stander Has made the fight for the 6 shirt even more competitive after a fantastic tournament.
2. Wales – George North
The top try scorer of the tournament, George North lived up to the huge expectations that have been placed upon him since bursting onto the rugby scene.
North was able to leave defences standing still with their mouths open in this tournament. Not only was he the top try scorer, North also made more metres, more clean breaks and beat more defenders than any other player in the Championship. Warren Gatland will be hopeful this form continues for their summer tour of New Zealand, Wales will need it.
Honourable Mention: Jamie Roberts His try to get Wales back ahead in against Scotland in Cardiff would prove fatal to the Scots.
1. England – Billy Vunipola
Under new coach, Eddie Jones, the youngest Vunipola has become one of England’s most important players. At only 23 years old, Vunipola looks to have the potential to become one of the best Number 8s of the professional era.
Not only did he make more carries than anyone else in Championship (A huge 93), he made over 300m and was Englands top offloader. He has become a major target for defenders, often requiring 3 men to take him down (see above) and the space he creates for his teammates can’t be underestimated.
Vunipola will be one of the first names on the team sheet when England head to Australia in the Summer.
Best Moment: His Grand Slam winning celebration is all that sticks in our heads now.
Honourable Mention: Krutoje (Maro Itoje and George Kruis) Another pair that should have made the official Player of Championship list, Kruis and Itoje were huge for England.