10 Ireland stars included as Six Nations Team of the Tournament announced
Ireland's superb form has been recognised with the inclusion of 10 players in the team of the tournament.
Following last St.Patrick's weekend's heroics in which Andy Farrell's Ireland side claimed just a fourth ever Grand Slam with a 29-16 victory over England, 10 Ireland stars have today been named in the Six Nations team of the tournament.
Included amongst the pack of the championship are Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Finlay Bealham, along with James Ryan and an all-Irish back row of Caelan Doris, Peter O'Mahony and Josh van der Flier.
Johnny Sexton, James Lowe and Hugo Keenan are the Irish representatives in what looks to be a scintillating fantasy backline. The lack of Mack Hansen on either wing, though, is jarring.
Irish focus moves from Six Nations to World Cup
The inclusion of such a sizeable Irish contingent in the team of the tournament is testament to the heights reached by this rampaging Irish squad, who will now surely set their sights on the ultimate prize of them all, this autumn's Rugby World Cup.
Although, at risk of not savouring the incredible feat never before achieved by an Irish rugby side in claiming a first ever Grand Slam on home soil, before adjusting the nation's collective gaze towards France in September, Irish rugby fans must reminisce over this team's unparalleled success.
Imperious throughout the course of the six week festival of rugby, Ireland's quest to make history rarely looked in doubt, as the side led by the masterful Johnny Sexton went on to secure bonus point wins in four of their five games.
The story of the tournament:
An opening weekend trouncing of a rudderless Wales side in Cardiff kicked off proceedings, before what many onlookers hypothesised prior to the championship as being the title decider occurred in Dublin a week later.
Avenging a run of three consecutive defeats at the hands of the French, Ireland delivered perhaps their most complete performance of this record-breaking Six Nations, as they overcame the World Cup hosts on a handsome scoreline of 32-19.
Rome was next on the agenda for Farrell's side, who had to make do without the tact of Sexton or the work rate of Tadhg Berine, with the pair both succumbing to injury during Ireland's arm wrestle with the French in the fixture prior.
After what was a shaky opening half, a much-changed Irish team ultimately ran out comfortable winners on the day, firmly announcing themselves as Grand Slam candidates with just two games remaining.
Madness ensued at Murrayfield a fortnight later though, as an injury-ravaged first half saw the Irish pack decimated to the extent that back row Josh Van der Flier had to throw into the line out. Ireland stood up to the Scottish onslaught though, holding Gregor Townsend's free flowing Scotland side scoreless in the second half.
However, last weekend's besting of the old enemy was the icing on the cake, as Ireland delivered a first home Grand Slam to a jubilant Aviva Stadium crowd, in a fitting send off to the imposing Johnny Sexton.
The result in turn cemented Ireland's place atop of the World Rugby rankings, and firmly placed the unfamiliar tag of favourites on the heads of the Irish team ahead of their Pool B battles with South Africa and Scotland.
And with such hefty representation in this year's Six Nation's team of the tournament, who could argue the fact that Ireland head to France no longer pretenders, but rather a genuine contender to claim the title for the first time ever.
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