6N Awards: All the top brass
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 00:00
The European heavyweights drew their swords once more and renewed the historic rivalries in the Six Nations, and the rugby365.com team have identified the best talent from up north.
We've taken into account all the most notable players, teams, coaches and moments from the tournament and had more than a few heated debates in deciding who is most deserving of one of our prestigious awards.
Our Six Nations honours, distinctions and a few raspberries:
Player of the tournament - Jamie Roberts:
The robust Welsh inside centre was at the heart of everything good about the backline and is a genuine midfielder, with the ability to straighten the line and test any defence's frailties. Any man marking Roberts will know he has a long afternoon of heavy tackles to make standing in front of that freight train.
Forward of the tournament - Sergio Parisse:
The Azzurri skipper is the heart and soul of the team and always stands up and matches the challenge thrown down by the opposition, no matter how daunting it may be. Parrisse is one of the class acts in the Italian side and his mere presence on the field appears to lift all those around him.
Back of the tournament - Rob Kearney:
The talented Irish fullback is back to his very best form and despite his team's failings you'd struggle to find any reason to criticise Kearney's efforts. His ability under the high ball and turn of pace in launching a counter-attack were unrivalled throughout the competition.
Coach of the tournament - Stuart Lancaster:
The former Saxons boss was handed a poisoned chalice after the World Cup shenanigans under Martin Johnson. With little to no expectations and a team and rugby board in turmoil, the stop-gap coach excelled and has one of the best Six nations records of any English coach. By cutting the dead wood and bringing in some fresh blood Lancaster has managed to turn England around in a remarkably short space of time and made himself the favourite to be the next permanent boss - if there is any justice in the world.
Rising star - Owen Farrell:
The young playmaker strutted onto the international stage with a big reputation at Saracens and a well recognised name following his father's exploits in both league and union. Farrell started solidly at inside centre and quickly found his feet in an England shirt before shining at flyhalf in the second half of the tournament - much to the dismay of Toby Flood, who had been expected to inherit the No.10 jersey from the retired Jonny Wilkinson.
Try of the tournament - Richie Gray vs Ireland:
The big Scottish lock produced a splendid solo effort against Ireland, when he stood up to the challenge of Rory Best and Eoin Reddan before throwing a huge dummy to beat fullback Rob Kearney.
Charge-down king - Charlie Hodgson:
The English flyhalf executed his charge-down perfectly in both of England's first two matches against Scotland and Italy. Those were also the only tries England scored in those matches and helped to secure two narrow victories.
Let it snow - Rome:
The snow was welcomed in Rome when England visited and covered most of the playing surface to slow the cold English forwards, and also aided Italy to claim what would have been a famous victory.
The big freeze - Paris:
A state of the art stadium in Paris, yet the pitch was frozen and the match between France and Ireland had to be called off moments before kick-off! The incident came back to haunt the French, who looked more than happy to avoid playing Ireland in the freezing conditions, when the rescheduled fixture was drawn, signalling the beginning of the end for France's Six nations challenge.
Rain in the desert - Scotland:
Scotland finally ended a five match streak without a try when Greig Laidlaw crossed the whitewash against Wales and a sigh of relief could be heard throughout the highlands.
Most animated coach - Andy Robinson:
The Scotland boss certainly can't be criticised for being emotionless, as he was unable to sit down for any part of all of his side's five matches, and paced anxiously around waving his arms in either despair or delight, but sadly mostly despair.
Man of his word - Leigh Halfpenny:
The Welsh fullback vowed never to miss another long-range penalty against France following his effort in the World Cup semifinal the cruelly fell just under the crossbar. To his word Halfpenny landed his kicks against France to secure the Six Nations Grand Slam.
And we were singing...
Having large crowds in full voice is one of the delights of the Six Nations, from a Millennium Stadium packed to the rafters singing Bread of heaven, to The Flower of Scotland at Murrayfield, Swing low, sweet chariot at Twickenham, Ireland's call in Dublin and Il Canto degli Italiani in Rome. However, our favourite was the French crowd singing La Marseillaise when their team was awarded a scrum against England. The scrum collapsed, so the crowd duly stopped singing and waited patiently for the scrum to be reset and then started the anthem again from the top...
By Timmy Hancox
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