Who has made the cut in Stuart Barnes’s final ‘dream team’ of the 2022 championship?


2022 Six Nations Team of Round Five

What a Super Saturday we had to bring the 2022 Six Nations to its conclusion.

First Italy stunned Wales 22-21 to end their losing run – and win away against Wales for the first time.

Then Ireland wrapped up the Triple Crown with a 26-5 win over Scotland, Hugo Keenan’s try-saving tackle on Stuart Hogg a memorable moment.

Finally, it was over to Paris where France won the Grand Slam – their first in 12 years – with a 25-13 victory over England.

There was plenty of drama and excitement, but who were the standout performers? Here former England and Lions fly-half Stuart Barnes picks his ‘dream XV’ from the final weekend of championship action.

2022 Six Nations Team of Round Five

15. Ange Capuozzo (Italy)

Italy were out on their last legs, so we thought. Then the full-back sliced through two Welsh tacklers and produced a magical sidestep.

Whereas greedy Stuart Hogg went for glory in Ireland later in the day, the young full-back gave the perfect inside pass to send his right winger over the line and Italy into ecstasy.

Two tries off the bench against Scotland and now this. What a star.

14. Edoardo Padovani (Italy)

The man who scored the match-winning try (the kick was pretty much a formality) helped keep Italy in contention with some solid play and two magnificent long-range penalties. Those kicks, in the end, made all the difference.

13. Gael Fickou (France)

The first try-scorer en route to the Grand Slam and, again, excellent in attack and, especially, defence.

He had to play well to make the team because Joe Marchant had a fine game against him.

12. Jonathan Danty (France)

There were a couple of gain-line carries to remind England of their missing Manu but mainly it was another disciplined defensive shift that earns the uncompromising centre a place in the team.

His reputation as a loose cannon is now a distant memory. Viliame Vakatawa will have to find his brilliant best form to regain a starting place for France.

11. Josh Adams (Wales)

I could have chosen the outstanding Monty Ioane but Adams made an amazing try-saving tackle on him before scoring what appeared the winning try.

Then Adams gave his Player of the Match award to Capuozzo. Sportsmanship prevails and he makes the team.

10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

The old man just keeps his team ticking, not to mention kicking. He is suited to the fast-paced game of Ireland and thrives on the gain-line.

As for his kicking, he came up with the undoubted 50.22 kick of the weekend. He lifts Ireland as Dan Biggar does Wales.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland)

What? How dare you? Well, I have been talking up that kid from Toulouse since he was an infant. Yes, Antoine Dupont captained France to a Grand Slam but this former Hurricane has transformed Ireland with his Aaron Smith like speed to the breakdown. He blew Scotland away

1. Danilo Fischetti (Italy)

His work at the scrum is solid, his work at the turnover is tremendous and his chase of a downfield hack on 55 minutes was stunning testimony to athleticism and – more important still – a will to win.

We thought Italy couldn’t win but the loosehead maintained the faith.

2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland)

Ronan Kelleher’s replacement is another example of the new wave of talent coming through in Ireland. Another try and another display of accurate throwing and dynamic ball-carrying. The official Man of the Match, for what that’s worth.

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

His awkward afternoon at Twickenham was forgotten as he produced another strong performance in the tight, while burrowing to grand effect at the breakdown.

He wasn’t his usual offloading self but the man is the very epitome of solid.

4. Paul Willemse (France)

Grafted like a good ‘un in the tight but it’s his thundering commitment to the breakdown that makes him such a central, if unheralded, part of the French team. Also part of a beautifully balanced second row.

5. Cameron Woki (France)

The lithe athlete found his spring in Paris and eclipsed Maro Itoje. The club back-row forward is rising up the ranks of international locks.

This was an all-round, special performance, if not quite up there with his demolition of the New Zealand lineout.

6. Caelan Doris (Ireland)

There was one take-and-give of which Sexton would have been proud. He has hands like his skipper and footwork a little like that of Garry Ringrose, but he remains a forward in terms of his uncompromising commitment to contact.

One of Ireland’s players of the Six Nations.

7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

Another try for Ireland, another unrelenting performance.

He is a traditional openside in terms of his focus on the tackle and the breakdown but this is the season where his ball-carrying has developed; as has he, into one of the most effective sevens in the business.

8. Gregory Alldritt (France)

His skipper received the headlines for the Grand Slam-sealing final score but it was the No 8 who saw the space and provided the pass. Alldritt was everywhere, as he has been all season.

2022 Six Nations Team of Round Five

Gregory Alldritt (centre) celebrates the Grand Slam (Getty Images)

His skills are exquisite, his running non-stop and his defence as unflagging as that of the rest of his team-mates. He could well be Six Nations Player of the Season.

What do you think of Stuart Barnes’s 2022 Six Nations Team of Round Five? Who would make your ‘dream XV’ from Super Saturday? Email rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com with your views.

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