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24th Mar 2015

Paul O’Connell deserves to be Six Nations Player of the Tournament because…

... he is a leader of men


‘What makes a man, Mr. Lebowski?’

Both Jeffrey Lebowskis agreed it includes being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost. The Dude had another key attribute.

‘Ummm… sure. That and a pair of testicles.’

Ask an Irish rugby fan what makes a man. Paul O’Connell will meet each of the criteria and then some.

Voting closes for the official Six Nations Player of the Tournament at midnight on Wednesday.

The result will be announced on Friday. One of three Irish nominees, here is why O’Connell deserves to win…

The Ireland captain appears to be getting better with age. After this year’s championship had finally fizzed to a conclusion, O’Connell had led his country to their first back-to-back Six Nations since 1949, back when it was Five Nations.

The raw statistics of O’Connell’s Six Nations are 55 ball carries, 53 metres gained, two clean breaks, three turnovers won, 43 tackles made (11 missed), 14 lineouts won (2 missed), a single defender beaten and offload apiece. Most remarkably, given his position and workload, only one penalty conceded.#

The stats will not tell you how O’Connell upped his performance levels and landed more tackles in the final quarter of each match he played. He was a walking, tackling, heaving inspiration to his team.

Added to that was his vital try against Scotland, four minutes into Ireland’s final game.

Asked about his captain, post-match, Joe Schmidt said, ‘In his 101st cap, Paul was the guy he’s been for the other 100 caps. He is our leader, it was a leader’s performance.’

If it is good enough for Joe, it is good enough for us.

Voting for the official Six Nations Player of the Tournament closes at midnight on Wednesday. You can cast your vote right here.

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