Wednesday 18 September 2019

Best team, player, hit and try: Independent.ie Six Nations End of Tournament Awards

Cormac Byrne

For the first time since 1949, Ireland have retained the Championship but what were the high and lows of the greatest annual rugby tournament on the planet and who makes our team of the tournament.

PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT

Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

The Ireland lock was the cornerstone of their Championship winning charge. Joe Schmidt laid out the plans off the field and the giant Limerick man made sure they were implemented by the troops.

His break against Wales and try against Scotland were standout moments in a terrific tournament for the Irish skipper.

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Paul O'Connell and his son Paddy

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT

George Ford (England)

The Bath flyhalf was drafted into England's starting XV thanks to the pre-tournament injury of Owen Farrell and thrived.

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The 22-year-old orchestrated the most potent attacking force in the Six Nations and looked cool, calm and composed in all situations.

His place-kicking was exemplary and even in defeat at the Aviva, he was impressive.

Should occupy the England number 10 shirt for years to come.

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England's George Ford dives in to score a try during the RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 14, 2015. See PA Story RUGBYU England. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

TRY OF THE TOURNAMENT

Vincent Debaty (France v England, Twickenham, March 21)

Unsurprisingly the try of the tournament comes from the 90-point thriller at Twickenham on Saturday.

France rediscovered the flair of Sella, Saint-Andé and Castaignede in the English capital but it was the lung-busting exploits of veteran prop Vincent Debaty that earn the award.

After a thrilling move from inside their own 22, Vincent Debaty somehow managed to be on Noa Nakaitaci's shoulder to touch down in the corner.

TACKLE OF THE TOURNAMENT

Jamie Heaslip (Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield, March 21)

It could only be the miracle tackle from Jamie Heaslip to deny Stuart Hogg the try which could have cost Ireland the title.

The Scottish full-back was a constant thorn all afternoon and looked to have bagged the try his performance deserved, but the Kildare man had other ideas.

ASSIST OF THE TOURNAMENT

Conor Murray (Ireland v England, Aviva Stadium, March 1)

The Irish scrumhalf has developed a world class kicking game and his beautifully flighted ball for Robbie Henshaw against England was perfection.

It was the decisive score in a clinical Irish performance and just reward for a brilliant performance from Ireland's inside centre.

HIT OF THE TOURNAMENT

Courteney Lawes (England v France, March 21)

The Northampton second row is well-known as a ferocious tackler but this hit was certainly hard to watch. Amazingly, Jules Plisson to his feet and played on. Watch it again below if you dare.

TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT

15. ROB KEARNEY (IRELAND)

14. YOANN HUGET (FRANCE)

13. JONATHAN JOSEPH (ENGLAND)

12. ROBBIE HENSHAW (IRELAND)

11. JACK NOWELL (ENGLAND)

10. GEORGE FORD (ENGLAND)

9. RHYS WEBB (WALES)

8. BILLY VUNIPOLA (ENGLAND)

7. SAM WARBURTON (WALES)

6. PETER O'MAHONY (IRELAND)

5. PAUL O'CONNELL (IRELAND)

4. ALUN WYN JONES (WALES)

3. DAN COLE (ENGLAND)

2. SCOTT BALDWIN (WALES)

1. JACK McGRATH (IRELAND)

 

BEST RENDITION OF A NATIONAL ANTHEM

Six-year-old Harry Westgate channelled his inner John Hayes to belt out the English national anthem ahead of their clash with Italy and became a viral sensation.

BEST REFEREEING MOMENT OF THE TOURNAMENT

Wales' Nigel Owens had heard enough protestations from England's Chris Robshaw during their 55-35 win over France and firmly put him in his place.

LOW POINT OF THE TOURNAMENT

The distressing moments when George North, Mike Brown and Sean O'Brien suffered concussion on the field of play were the low points of the competition.

George North playing on against England after being knocked out cold was the worst of all.

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George North lays unconscious after nasty head clash against England

PREMATURE TWEET OF THE TOURNAMENT

Brian O'Driscoll was forced to ring Joe Schmidt and apologise after putting the Grand Slam pressure on Ireland after just two games.

After the final whistle of Ireland's 18-11 victory over France, a delighted Brian O'Driscoll tweeted: "Another great win. 2 done 3 to go! This team absolutely has a slam in them and who knows what else..."

The Six nations is all about building, you win the first two and people, who should know better, tweeting about Grand Slams," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"I find myself out in the cold saying outlandish things.

"Apparently playing the game for 15 years give you absolutely nothing for keeping reality in check. Apologies for that.

"I read that it was brought up in the press conference by Gerry Thornley and Joe Schmidt said, ‘oh great, thanks Drico’.

"I had to text Joe a couple of days later and say, ‘hey Joe, sorry about that one’.

"I got very excitable, what can I do? Don’t go with your emotion."

 

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