Jacob Whitehead selects his ‘dream team’ from the 2021 tournament
Six Nations Team of the Championship
The lack of crowds didn’t matter – this was one of the most exciting Six Nations ever.
We saw a Wales victory that looked unlikely six months ago, two famous Scottish away wins and a fall from grace for Eddie Jones’s England. Ireland showed signs of resurgence, France were a few minutes away from their own Grand Slam, but the less said about Italy the better.
Related: How Wales won the Six Nations
As for the British & Irish Lions, selection is looking very different than before the tournament given the performances of the past two months. So who would make a composite team of the 2021 tournament?
Six Nations Team of the Championship
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Coming right at the start of the championship, we need to remember quite how good Hogg’s performances against England and Wales were.
His counter-attacking qualities have always been self-evident, but captaincy seems to have rapidly developed his game management. Ran the win at Twickenham from full-back, while his kicking against France on Friday night was again sensational.
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales)
A breakout tournament for the Keith Jarrett of the 21st century. Single-handedly won the crucial game at Murrayfield with a delightful chip and gather – without that moment, Scotland would have won the title.
Finished as joint-second top try-scorer in his debut Six Nations with four and seems set to play in ten more.
Anthony Watson, who also scored four tries, may have had a more solid tournament overall, but Rees-Zammit owns the moments that will be remembered.
13. Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)
Absolute glue. Made the most carries of any back in the competition but has also become the crucial man in Andy Farrell’s defensive system. Terrified England’s attack in the final round.
Liberated by an extended run in the starting jersey, this tournament has seen him potentially play his way into the Lions Test XV.
George North had his best Six Nations in a long time too.
12. Gaël Fickou (France)
Proved how indispensable he is to the French back-line. Once the mercurial line-breaker, he now plays the role of the savvy veteran, whose most impressive trait right now is his defensive anticipation.
Of course, he has his moments with the ball in hand too – his straighten and give for Brice Dulin’s Grand Slam-denying try the highlight.
11. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Scored match-winning tries away in Twickenham and Paris, finished as top try-scorer with five and made the second-most metres of any player in the competition. It takes at least three defenders to bring him down.
He’s now scored eight tries in ten Tests – and must go on the Lions tour.
10. Matthieu Jalibert (France)
A formative tournament for the young fly-half after a difficult Six Nations in 2020. Calm yet creative, his performance in a losing effort at Twickenham was one of the most impressive of the decade from a visiting ten.
His battle with Romain Ntamack for the France No 10 jersey over the coming years will be required viewing.
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
Clearly the best scrum-half in the northern hemisphere at the moment. It’s not even close, even if it could be argued Dupont never brought more than his B-game this Six Nations! Finished top of the assist (five) and offload (eight) charts, and crossed three times himself.
1. Wyn Jones (Wales)
Really can do everything demanded from a modern prop – tackles, scrums, turnovers. After a nasty run of injuries in recent years, it’s gratifying to see him as the presumptive starter at loosehead for the Lions.
Cyril Baille shone in the loose for France.
2. Julien Marchand (France)
Has struggled with the lineout at points but is such a dynamic player. His footwork is sublime, his jackaling tenacious and he’s still just 25. A fine successor to Ibanez, Servat and Guirado.
Ken Owens rolled back the years to book his ticket to South Africa.
3. Kyle Sinckler (England)
Tadhg Furlong was excellent whenever he played, but only started three games.
Sinckler was one of only a few players who emerged with credit for England; his passing and carrying is so crucial to their attack. The scrum only tended to struggle on Mako Vunipola’s side.
4. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)
Quite possibly the most dominant performer of the competition. One of the world’s best lineout and breakdown forwards, bringing exceptional club form onto the international stage. Won ten turnovers this tournament – four more than any other player.
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales, captain)
Iain Henderson has been exceptional, but Jones deserves inordinate praise for leading Wales to the title after the autumn doldrums.
Still around the top of the metrics for tackles and ruck arrivals, and amidst stiff competition will be in the Lions squad on playing merit alone.
6. Josh Navidi (Wales)
If there is a rule that the Six Nations Player of the Tournament has to come from the winning side, cast my vote for Navidi. Reminds me more and more of Richard Hill every time I watch him. So brilliant to see him back from concussion issues.
7. Hamish Watson (Scotland)
One of the best players on the pitch in every game he played. Unbelievably powerful for his size and utterly fearless. Imagine the battle he could have against Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi this summer.
This was the most contested position – Charles Ollivon was totemic for France and Tom Curry held back the tide for England.
8. Grégory Alldritt (France)
A toss-up between Taulupe Faletau and Alldritt. The La Rochelle No 8 was France’s top carrier, soaking up so many difficult and physical midfield carries. Has the engine of a fire truck, threatening every other breakdown as France’s best jackler.
Faletau stamped his name onto the Lions No 8 jersey ahead of Billy Vunipola.
To finish, here’s a B-Team of the Championship…
Hugo Keenan (Ireland); Anthony Watson (England), George North (Wales), Garry Ringrose (Ireland), Damian Penaud (France); Finn Russell (Scotland), Ben Youngs (England); Cyril Baille (France), Ken Owens (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Jonny Gray (Scotland), Tom Curry (England), Charles Ollivon (France), Taulupe Faletau (Wales).
Who would make your Six Nations Team of the Championship? Email email@example.com to let us know.
Can’t get to the shops? Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet. Subscribe to the print edition for magazine delivery to your door.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.