By Rugby World Reader, Larissa Falls

I thought that April Fools had come two weeks early. To say I was partially perplexed and slightly surprised upon seeing the nominations for this year’s ‘Six Nation’s Player of the Tournament,’ would be an understatement. No Sergio Parisse? No Richie Gray? No Brian O’Driscoll? Someone must have been having a laugh. But unfortunately…they weren’t!

In a change to this year’s format, every player named as a man-of-the-match during the first four weekends of the Championship, has been nominated for the prestigious award.

However, it is a newly established rule I believe is not reflective of the concept of player of the ‘tournament,’ since player nomination is now based purely on the merits of one game. For me, it somewhat de-values the essence and significance of the accolade itself.

The recipient of the coveted title should be a player who has excelled in every match they’ve been involved in. Someone who has been a stand out in their team. Someone who has been the model of consistency and constancy throughout the Championship.

To be nominated; should they have had to be on the winning side? No. Should they have had to have been awarded a man-of-the-match medal? No.

Does this not discriminate against those who aren’t the headline makers, who don’t score the sublime tries and who don’t kick the winning penalties.

Aren’t we forgetting those who are the grafters, the scrappers and those who put their heads where others wouldn’t put their boots? The silent assassins, the quiet achievers, the line-out poachers, scrum pushers, turn over merchants, those who lead from the front and those on losing sides?

For me, there’s a huge argument as to why Scotland’s lock Richie Gray, Italy’s captain colossal Sergio Parisse and Ireland’s hero Brian O’Driscoll have not been selected. They may not have been adorned with a man-of-the-match award in the first four rounds as the new rules stipulate… but then let’s change this ‘nomination’ system!

Parisse, Gray and O’Driscoll would easily make it into my top five players of the tournament (alongside Tom Palmer and Sean O’Brien), yet they aren’t even in the reckoning to be considered for the ‘Six Nations Player of the Tournament’ honour.

And judging by the recent public voting pole available on the ‘Planet Rugby’ website… I’m not alone. The last time I looked at the votes cast, the general rugby supporters had chosen accordingly for their ‘Player of the Tournament;’ 1) Sergio Parisse 920 (votes), 2) Sean O’Brien 723, 3) Brian O’Driscoll 564, 4) Richie Gray 496.

Similarly to my opinion and the public’s, many of Britain’s leading rugby journalists, writers and pundits have echoed these sentiments; describing and supporting Sergio Parisse as their player of the 2011 Six Nations Championship.

Staggering it is then that he can’t even win the award!

This new rule that requires a player to have been named a ‘man-of-the-match’ in order to be amongst the nominees is nothing less than outlandish. Just because a player may have produced a minute of magic in one game does not make him this year’s greatest ‘tournament’ player. It is about being an archetype of consistency and constancy throughout the Championship.

To be nominated; should they have had to be on the winning side? No. Should they have had to have been awarded a man-of-the-match medal? No.

Does this not discriminate against those who aren’t the headline makers, who don’t score the sublime tries and who don’t kick the winning penalties.

Aren’t we forgetting those who are the grafters, the scrappers and those who put their heads where others wouldn’t put their boots? The silent assassins, the quiet achievers, the line-out poachers, scrum pushers, turn over merchants, those who lead from the front and those on losing sides?

For me, there’s a huge argument as to why Scotland’s lock Richie Gray, Italy’s captain colossal Sergio Parisse and Ireland’s hero Brian O’Driscoll have not been selected. They may not have been adorned with a man-of-the-match award in the first four rounds as the new rules stipulate… but then let’s change this ‘nomination’ system!

Parisse, Gray and O’Driscoll would easily make it into my top five players of the tournament (alongside Tom Palmer and Sean O’Brien), yet they aren’t even in the reckoning to be considered for the ‘Six Nations Player of the Tournament’ honour.

And judging by the recent public voting pole available on the ‘Planet Rugby’ website… I’m not alone. The last time I looked at the votes cast, the general rugby supporters had chosen accordingly for their ‘Player of the Tournament;’ 1) Sergio Parisse 920 (votes), 2) Sean O’Brien 723, 3) Brian O’Driscoll 564, 4) Richie Gray 496.

Similarly to my opinion and the public’s, many of Britain’s leading rugby journalists, writers and pundits have echoed these sentiments; describing and supporting Sergio Parisse as their player of the 2011 Six Nations Championship.

Staggering it is then that he can’t even win the award!

This new rule that requires a player to have been named a ‘man-of-the-match’ in order to be amongst the nominees is nothing less than outlandish. Just because a player may have produced a minute of magic in one game does not make him this year’s greatest ‘tournament’ player. It is about being an archetype of consistency and reliability from the first minute of game one, to the 80th minute of game five!

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  • niall

    Amen to that!

    Same thing happened last season in Scottish Football, lukas jutkiewicz scored a wonder goal for Motherwell (here for those that way inclined: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byK2oBB_ucQ ) yet wasn’t able to be nominated for goal of the season as that award had been handed out two weeks previously!

    Anyway, I digress! The fact that James Hook who really did nothing all Championship is up for the award on the back of a good 30 minutes against Italy, while Richie Gray and Parisse don’t get a look in is criminal. O’Driscoll not getting it is ok, as it would be a shock for him not to be in contention and his natural talent overshadows a lot of other players. Another Scot that could’ve thrown his hat into the ring was Sean Lamont.