Saturday 15 December 2018

Ireland lead the way with five selections in Six Nations Team of the Tournament to date

Johnny Sexton celebrates his match-winning drop goal in Paris
Johnny Sexton celebrates his match-winning drop goal in Paris
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

We are roughly at the halfway stage of the 2018 Six Nations and although Ireland are leading the way at the top of the table, there have been plenty of top notch individuals performances across all the competing teams.

Interestingly, many of the best displays have come from players who weren't expected to play a key role beforehand, with young guns like James Ryan excelling in his first Six Nations.

To mark the approximate mid-point of the championship, has picked a Team of the Tournament to date, with Ireland leading the way with five selections.

At fullback, livewire Matteo Minozzi has been one of the few brights sparks for Italy, making regular incisive runs through opposition defences while Keith Earls and Steff Evans get the nod on the wings after carrying their scintillating club form into the Six Nations. Jacob Stockdale is unlucky to miss out after grabbing back-to-back braces but some defensive errors count against him.

In the centre, Huw Jones deserves his spot at outside centre after terrorising France and England while Owen Farrell is one of the few among Eddie Jones' men who have lived up to their usual standard.

At half-back, Johnny Sexton is nailed on at ten despite his kicking woes last Saturday while Wales' Gareth Davies beats out Conor Murray after continuing to marry sharp passing with successful sniping.

25-year-old French prop Jefferson Poirot is selected at loosehead prop after some dynamic performances while Andrew Porter benefits from a scarcity of outstanding tightheads to muscle into the side after coping admirably with the pressures of his first Six Nations start.

Likewise, James Ryan is in at second row after negotiating the step up to international level seamlessly, with Scotland's Jonny Gray partnering him in the engine room.

Dan Leavy takes the seven jersey after improving each week while the rangy Aaron Shingler is rewarded for continuing to make breaks at a huge rate for a blindside flanker. Number eight, like tighthead prop, didn't have any real standout candidates but Ryan Wilson makes it in after a solid opening few games.

Here is the Team of the Tournament to date in full:

15. Matteo Minozzi (Italy)

14. Keith Earls (Ireland)

13. Huw Jones (Scotland)

12. Owen Farrell (England)

11. Steff Evans (Wales)

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

9. Gareth Davies (Wales)

1. Jefferson Poirot (France)

2. Guilhem Guirado (France)

3. Andrew Porter (Ireland)

4. Jonny Gray (Scotland)

5. James Ryan (Ireland)

6. Aaron Shingler (Wales)

7. Dan Leavy (Ireland)

8. Ryan Wilson (Scotland)

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