Five Irish players make Six Nations 'Best XV' picked by Sean O'Brien and Alex Goode
We are going with the pundits over the fans, on this one.
The 2022 Six Nations is in the history books and France are champions, in Grand Slam style, after a 12-year wait between titles.
There is only one thing left to do after the championship has wrapped, and before the women's tournament begins, this weekend. Yes, hand out some awards and 'Best XV' selections.
The likes of Will Greenwood and Nigel Owens have already tried their hand at a Team of the Six Nations and there are plenty of French players in their selections. Nothing, though, surely tops the nine France stars that made it into the Six Nations Team of the Tournament, as picked by the RugbyJOE followers.
There were more than 250,000 votes cast, with the closest contest being for the outhalf position. After a couple of counts and recounts, it was France No.10 Romain Ntamack that got in there, alongside his buddy Antoine Dupont.
Over 250,000 votes cast 🗳
Here it is! 👀
The RugbyJOE Six Nations Team of the Tournament, according to you, the fans! 👊🏉 pic.twitter.com/P8DIcP8D8v
— RugbyJOE (@RugbyJOE_UK) March 23, 2022
The voting is already underway for 'Best Player' of the Six Nations, with Dupont up against France teammate Gregory Alldritt and Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier.
On the latest House of Rugby [LISTEN from 5:30 below], hosts Sean O'Brien and Alex Goode butted heads as they came up with their 'Best XV' selection and their picks for best player.
Split decision on Six Nations' best player
Both Sean O'Brien and Alex Goode were again raving about France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont and his ability to 'step it up another notch' when his team needs.
However, when it came down to Player of the Tournament, O'Brien went for Josh van der Flier while Goode opted for Alldritt, the France No.8.
Selecting their 'Best XV', O'Brien spoke of the "incredible ball-handling" of France loosehead Cyril Baille, the "excellent" Jamie George and "Mr Consistency" Tadhg Furlong. He added:
"Tadhg is probably the best prop in the world, right now, and I don't think many could argue with that."
Both men agreed on a second row with the athletic and 'incredibly physical' pairing of Cameron Woki (France) and Maro Itoje (England), who O'Brien described as 'the best lock in the world'.
Courtney Lawes lost out to Caelan Doris at blindside because O'Brien wanted out-and-out back row players, and he had been impressed with the 'big cog in Ireland's wheel'. Van der Flier and Alldritt joined the Leinster star in the back row.
The backline of Goode and O'Brien sees Antoine Dupont and Johnny Sexton as half-backs. Only three starts for the Ireland captain, but he led his team superbly and O'Brien marvelled over how the 36-year-old just keeps getting better.
The French pairing of Jonathan Danty and Gael Fickou were selected in midfield, with teammates Gabin Villiere and Damian Penaud on the wings. "He is one of the best players in that Irish team," said O'Brien on Hugo Keenan, as he was selected at fullback.
ALEX & SEAN'S SIX NATIONS 'BEST XV'
- Cyril Baille (France)
- Jamie George (England)
- Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
- Maro Itoje (England)
- Cameron Woki (France)
- Caelan Doris (Ireland)
- Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
- Gregory Alldritt (France)
- Antoine Dupont (France)
- Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
- Gabin Villiere (France)
- Jonathan Danty (France)
- Gael Fickou (France)
- Damian Penaud (France)
- Hugo Keenan (Ireland)