Five Ireland players that must make the Six Nations Team of the Tournament
"It would be crazy if there isn't at least seven or eight in there."
Call it green-tinted glasses or a weekend of double Grand Slam victories, but we are coming down on the side of plenty of Ireland players. When it comes to selecting a Six Nations Team of the Tournament, there are a few close calls but we have ended up with an Irish-heavy XV.
Andy Farrell's men captured every trophy available to them in the 2023 Six Nations as they extended their winning streak, stretching back to New Zealand in July 2022, to 10 Tests and cemented their world number one ranking.
Now that the matches have been won, the tunes belted out and the sore, celebratory heads soothed, it is time for the team and individual accolades to be handed out.
On the latest House of Rugby [LISTEN from 58:15 below], myself, Jason Hennessy and James Downey gave our take on what Irish players should definitely make the Six Nations 'Best XV'. There were five certainties, with one other name put forward, and a few more suggestions.
Six Ireland players in HOR's Six Nations Team of the Tournament
During a look back on the entire Six Nations championship, the question put to James Downey and Jason Hennessy was, 'What Ireland players would you be surprised by NOT making the Six Nations Team of the Tournament?'
DOWNEY: I had Dan Sheehan in my mind anyway, James Ryan was absolutely immense. And that one I'd definitely have is Caelan Doris in there, and have Johnny Sexton, I would have Mack Hansen in the backline.
HENNESSY: Hugo Keenan is not going to be happy! Saying that, there are some quality fullbacks to pick from.
DOWNEY: Actually, yeah, that's a tough one. I might go Thomas Ramos for his goal-kicking, as well. I'd have five or six [Irish players], at least.
HENNESSY: I agree with all the ones you have there, plus I'd go Andrew Porter. Like, it would be crazy if there isn't at least seven or eight in there, especially when you've won a Grand Slam.
Downey said Sione Tuipulotu of Scotland would be his starting inside centre and Ange Capuozzo also got an honourable mention.
For me, Ireland were so dominant in the Six Nations that they merit seven or eight selections. I have simply had to accommodate the tournament's two form wingers, so Damian Penaud is on the right wing and Mack Hansen is switched to the left.
OUR SIX NATIONS TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT
15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
14. Damian Penaud (France)
13. Gael Fickou (France)
12. Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland)
11. Mack Hansen (Ireland)
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
1. Andrew Porter (Ireland)
2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
4. Thibaut Flament (France)
5. James Ryan (Ireland)
6. Sebastian Negri (Italy)
7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
8. Caelan Doris (Ireland)
WATCH HOUSE OF RUGBY HERE:
- Ireland vs. England: All the talking points, biggest moments and player ratings
- Brian O’Driscoll puts into words what whole nation is feeling about Johnny Sexton
- Peter O’Mahony’s comments on Owen Farrell should take no one by surprise
- James Lowe challenges Ireland's Grand Slam winners to scale even greater heights
- Three Ireland stars nominated for Six Nations Player of the Championship