Saturday 18 November 2017

How many Irish players make this Six Nations flop XV?

As the 2016 Six Nations draws to a close, which players failed to live up to expectations? The Telegraph selected a XV who will want to forget this year's tournament as quickly as possible..

Joe Marler (England)

Marler has played well but let himself down when he called Samson Lee ‘gypsy boy’. Is hugely fortunate to be on the bench for England’s Grand Slam decider against France tonight.

Scott Baldwin (Wales)

It’s not always the hooker’s fault when a lineout goes awry but Bladwin’s throw was twice stolen by Maro Itoje at vital times last weekend. He was also brushed aside by the same man for Anthony Watson’s try.

Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)

Castrogiovanni was banned for two weeks after cameras caught him stamping on Duncan Taylor’s foot during Italy’s game with Scotland.

Italy's Martin Castrogiovanni

Richie Gray (Scotland)

It may be harsh to pick a player for a single moment, but Gray should have stopped George Kruis from scoring the opening try of Scotland’s game with England. It gave the visitors an advantage they would not relinquish.

Yoann Maestri (France)

The French targeted Johnny Sexton in Paris and Maestri was the worst offender, somehow escaping action after an off-the-ball shoulder-charge.

James Haskell (England)

Haskell has played well but his indiscipline could have cost his side dear. He was shown a yellow card for a swinging arm against Ireland and could have seen been sent to the sin-bin against Wales, too.

Justin Tipuric (Wales)

Tipuric was given an opportunity to demonstrate he is more than just a supersub in this Welsh setup, but failed to take it. Before long he was back on the bench and Dan Lydiate was in the side.

Robbie Henshaw, Ireland, fails to evade a tackle from Justin Tipuric, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Louis Picamoles (France)

If Picamoles were fit his confrontation with Billy Vunipola would be worth the admission fee alone at the Stade de France. However his hamstring went early in the opening game with Italy, and France’s chances went along with it.

Guglielmo Palazzani (Italy)

Palazzani is a clear second choice behind Edoardo Gori, and he had a tough day attempting to fill in when Italy went to Dublin – and were thumped.

George Ford (England)

Ford has started every game in England’s run to the Championship, but he has not been at his best. When Eddie Jones made a change against Wales Ford was taken off and Owen Farrell went to 12. Ford could not complain

Leonardo Sarto (Italy)

His horror pass allowed Jonathan Joseph to score for England and an equally bad error led to Andrew Trimble’s opening score in Ireland’s thumping win over the Azzurri.

12 March 2016; Jamie Heaslip, Ireland, is tackled by Leonardo Sarto, Italy, on his way to scoring his side's third try. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Ireland v Italy. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE

Jules Plisson (France)

Yes, we know Plisson is a fly-half. But he has to be in this team after his display against Wales, and particularly the woeful kick that allowed George North to crash over for the opening try.

Jonathan Davies (Wales)

Davies is included solely for his performance against England. In that game Davies conceded three turnovers and missed three tackles (making just four). Not good.

Alex Cuthbert (Wales)

There was no doubt England targeted the Wales wing at Twickenham. The try came down his side after Cuthbert was drawn to the rampaging Maro Itoje and he only made 50 per cent of his tackles. A tough day.

Luke McLean (Italy)

A tough gig, being last man standing in this Italy side over the last few weeks. McLean has tried manfully, but it has been tough going.

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