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Who Lit Up The Six Nations?
Posted Mar 30, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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With the Six Nations dust now settled, it’s time for us to laud those men who really lit up the tournament. You could probably have made two teams out of those who excelled, but we’re going to stick to those five who we believed were truly exceptional. Game-changers all, any side with these men in is going to cause damage:
Brian O’Driscoll. I don’t think there is one player who has been so consistently excellent over the last ten years or so. With 25 Six nations tries to his name, he remains the standout man. There were concerns a couple of years ago as to how he would cope with his apparent slowing down with age. However, he has adjusted his game, and now looks as good as he did back in 2004.
Toby Flood. Whilst other names such as Sexton and o’Gara were perhaps expected to perform more, Flood was more or less uniformly excellent in five out of the six games, and in Cardiff his performance was simply magnificent. Incisive, classy and consistent, Flood played a great tournament.
Sergio Parisse. In a side that largely lacks real top-drawer talent, Parisse is without doubt a shining star, and has more than earnt the right to be called one of the finest backs in the world. His carrying is excellent, he is strong out of the first tackles and is a great hand at line-outs. No team is so indebted to their captain.
Tom Wood. For a man that didn’t even have an international cap to his name at the beginning of the tournament, Wood has been an absolute architect of the line-out throughout the Six Nations. His workrate is visibly excellent, and he has no qualms about chasing opponents the whole length of the pitch as he did in Cardiff. The fact he combines these skills with being a real scrapper makes him a cracking discovery for Martin Johnson.
Thomas Domingo. The fact that Domingo was not playing during France’s capitulation against the Italians says more about the titanic loosehead than anything else. Such a low centre of gravity makes him virtually impossible to push against in set pieces, and trying to knock him down must be the equivalent of tackling a truck.