Wednesday 18 July 2018

Ireland dominate with nine players in our Six Nations XV

Conor Murray, left, and Dan Leavy of Ireland celebrate
Conor Murray, left, and Dan Leavy of Ireland celebrate
Rob Kearney of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning picks his Six Nations tournament 15.

15 Rob Kearney

(Ireland)

One of Joe Schmidt's go-to men, the emergence of Jordan Larmour has been the nudge Kearney needed to up his game. His aerial efficiency is the perfect illustration of that improvement.

14 Keith Earls

(Ireland)

Jacob Stockdale of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile
Jacob Stockdale of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile

Outstanding form, a refreshing reminder that it's still possible for a small man to thrive in a big man's game. He never dipped between June 2017 and March 2018.

13 Huw Jones

(Scotland)

With 10 tries in 16 Tests, and three in this Championship, he has been very sharp. He did butcher one against Ireland but at least it wasn't through greed.

Huw Jones of Scotland. Photo: Sportsfile
Huw Jones of Scotland. Photo: Sportsfile

12 Owen Farrell

(England)

Bundee Aki and lately Mathieu Bastareaud have done big jobs for their teams but Farrell is the best all-rounder at inside-centre.

11 Jacob Stockdale

(Ireland)

A record breaker before yesterday, whereupon he goes and breaks another record. Stockdale the movie, coming soon.

10 Johnny Sexton

(Ireland)

To maintain such good form when his goal-kicking has been off colour is testament to his mental strength. And when his stats with Ireland get ugly, and he still delivers, it tells a story

9 Conor Murray

(Ireland)

Head and shoulders above the others. And now has added goal-kicking to his repertoire. The complete package.

1 Cian Healy

(Ireland)

The more comfortable Jack McGrath became in the loosehead job, especially from the November series in 2014 onwards, the closer Healy got to the exit. Forcing the door open again has been remarkable.

2 Stuart McInally

(Scotland)

The attraction of shifting back-rowers to hooker is they never lose that appetite for open space. He has been outstanding with ball in hand and good with other stuff besides.

3 Rabah Slimani

(France)

In the tighthead factory there is a prototype and he looks just like Rabah Slimani: a bull's neck and the strength to match. He gets around a bit as well, managing an outstanding stat of 15 tackles against Ireland. He has been a rock in their scrum.

4 James Ryan

(Ireland)

Having got his career launch all back to front between Ireland and Leinster, he has continued in the fast lane with his form in this tournament. Enormous appetite for work.

5 Maro Itoje

(England)

The most skilful forward in the competition, it was interesting to see him in an England pack struggling to get quick ball, or avoid conceding penalties, at the breakdown.

6 John Barclay

(Scotland)

Outstanding in the win over England, Barclay has continued his club form with Scarlets right through this campaign.

7 Dan Leavy

(Ireland)

He may be a half six/half seven but he is full value. It's been a terrific campaign for him and his contribution yesterday was immense.

8 CJ Stander

(Ireland)

You wouldn't say he's had to reinvent himself but he doesn't skittle opponents the way he once did. A savage competitor.

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