Six Nations XV

We’ve picked the men to have impressed us over the last eight weeks. If you disagree, drop us a line and you might see your selection appear here as well. E-mail us at [email protected]

15. Lee Byrne
The Ospreys man took his time to acclimatise to Test rugby but this Six Nations saw him blossom into a dangerous runner and assured last line of defence at the highest level. A good bet for the Lions jersey if he can keep this up.

14. Vincent Clerc
On fire at the start of the championship before being shuffled out of the side on account of Marc Lievremont’s infernal chopping and changing. His first half treble against Ireland was breathtaking.

13. Tom Shanklin
The blunt instrument of the Welsh midfield who did his job superbly. His impenetrable defence saw Wales leak less points that the 2005 vintage and his thunderous running asked questions of every side.

12. Gavin Henson
Unlike his hairstyles, his rugby throughout the championship was simple and impressive. Well timed passing, great support angles, faultless kicking from hand and belligerent defence - all you need from your 12.

11. Shane Williams
Gareth Thomas’s record tumbled to the little wizard on the final weekend of a championship that he lit up from beginning to end. The back of the Six Nations, the most dangerous runner in the European game on current form. He even made a decent fist of scrum-half for 10 minutes against Ireland

10. Ronan O’Gara
He edges out the Welsh contingent on the basis that he started every game. He stood up and was counted in a team still struggling for form.

9. Mike Phillips
We can’t understand the clamour for Mike Blair in these teams of the tournament. The Scot was good, but Phillips was better. What a horrible player he must be to come up against.

8. Ryan Jones
Captain fantastic, the Lions skipper-in-waiting. Loves making the hard yards and doing the dirty work. You get the impression his team-mates would walk across burning coals for him, which they will have to do in South Africa next year.

7. Martyn Williams
Outstanding in every game. Why on earth did he think he was past it? The best phone call Warren Gatland has probably ever made to get this man out of retirement.

6. Sergio Parisse
Perhaps he and Jones could interchange. This side would lose nothing if they did. The Italian skipper was everywhere in both defence and attack, possibly the forward of the tournament.

5. Steve Borthwick
Could be hard to budge from the England engine room after sterling work in the lineout. Playing alongside Chris Jack at Saracens next year could take this man to another level. Most likely to succeed Phil Vickery when the Raging Bull is put out to grass.

4. Ian Gough
Managed to lose the best part of half a stone in one game, so high was his work rate, and still got himself into the defensive line against Ireland while nursing a damaged arm. Another Lion-in-waiting if he can carry his form into 2009.

3. Martin Castrogiovanni
He’s been in more of these teams than any other front rower in recent years. That’s because he is still the best tighthead in the business. Added two tries to his scrimmaging strength this year.

2. Leonardo Ghiraldini
Learning his trade at this level and learning fast. The only ever-present hooker in the championship, he met the high standards demanded of an Azzurri front rower.

1. Andrew Sheridan
Excellent ball carrying, solid scrummaging. If only he would stop getting stung.

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