Team of the Six Nations

Date published: March 24 2015

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With the Six Nations now done and dusted with the trophy back in Dublin, here's our best XV from this year's competition.

It's been a fantastic tournament going right down to the wire on the final day, with Ireland, England and Wales all having a real shot at being champions.

That's reflected somewhat in our XV as we round off a great eight weeks.

Six Nations Team of the Tournament

15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland)To get the nod despite your team having lost five out of five in the Championship says a great deal about how well Hogg played. Topped the metres made charts – 99 more than closes rival Scott Spedding – the Scot also beat the most defenders and sees off the solid Leigh Halfpenny, who kicked at over 80 percent this tournament and was brave throughout.

14 Yoann Huget (France)France's most dangerous player and easily their best player in the competition, outperforming the other 14s. Anthony Watson has a bright future ahead of him while George North impressed late on with his hat-trick against Italy.

13 Jonathan Joseph (England)Superb from the off in the English midfield. Manu Tuilagi will have a job wrestling the thirteen jersey back off Joseph, who ended on top of the try-scoring pile with four. Quick feet and serious speed out of the blocks, he sees off Italy's Luca Morisi, Wales' Jonathan Davies and Scotland's Mark Bennett, who were all deadly. It was a hotly contested jersey.

12 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland)The Irish young gun holds off Jamie Roberts for the inside centre berth after a breakout tournament. Scored Ireland's crucial try in the win over England and was near the top of the stats for carries and defenders beaten. Ireland's future in midfield.

11 Jack Nowell (England)Stuart Lancaster made the bold call to drop Jonny May and bring in Nowell and it proved the right one. The Exeter Chief has so much potential and added tries – three of them – to his hard-working game this Six Nations. As confidence grows, he will build on his impressive metres made, line breaks and defenders beaten statistics, all of those categories seeing him finish in the top five spots.

10 Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)A very tight call in the end between Sexton and England's George Ford, who has come on leaps and bounds over the last few weeks and shown a great attacking ability at Test level. But Sexton's assuredness and all-round class win him the spot, even after having an off day in Cardiff. Dan Biggar also had a good tournament.

9 Ben Youngs (England)What a tournament from the Leicester number nine. He got better with each game, finishing against France in superb form as he scored two and set up one. Youngs' Six Nations has surely led to him nailing down the starting jersey for the Rugby World Cup as he beats Ireland's Conor Murray to our scrum-half position. Rhys Webb also impressed, finishing with three tries to his name.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales)Holding off the challenge of Billy Vunipola, who has come on leaps and bounds by playing 400 minutes in this year's tournament and with his improved work-rate, Faletau is the most underrated player in the Six Nations. Consistently outstanding at the breakdown, in the loose and at the set-piece.

7 Sam Warburton (Wales)Looks in excellent physical condition at the moment and seems to have added a yard of pace too. Warburton, like Wales, will look back to that second-half against England in Cardiff as where it all went wrong but the flanker can be proud of his efforts as he put in tireless shifts in red. Thierry Dusautoir was his closest challenger while Sean O'Brien improved match by match.

6 Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)Tackles like a maniac and his engine never stops. O'Mahony has emerged as a key leader for Ireland, espeically when being the experienced head playing alongside Tommy O'Donnell and Jordi Murphy, while being a great asset at the lineout and breakdown.

5 Paul O'Connell (Ireland)Surely there's at least one more Six Nations in O'Connell's tank? In this kind of towering form, Irish's bosses must do everything in their power to persuade him to play on after the World Cup. Of course it's his call but his showings this Six Nations – and another trophy in the cabinet – might leave him feeling he can go on. Crucially got the try ball rolling for his country at Murrayfield in Round Five. Courtney Lawes stood out late on and Jonny Gray has huge potential.

4 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)We couldn't leave out with Jones or O'Connell so both of the British and Irish Lions Test pairing are in. No one was more prolific than the Welshman at the lineout with 25 takes (including steals), as he consistently excelled. Offers great leadership to help out Sam Warburton too.

3 Dan Cole (England)The importance of his return to fitness was amplified due to David Wilson's absence and as always, Cole did not let his country down. Solid at the set-piece and around the park, keeping the Leicester Tiger off the treatment is vital for the rest of 2015.

2 Scott Baldwin (Wales)A real breakout star for Wales who outshone the other hookers in the competition. Guihelm Guirado had his moments along with Leonardo Ghiraldini, but Baldwin's outings against Ireland and France sealed the deal as he consigned Richard Hibbard to the bench. 

1 Jack McGrath (Ireland) Firstly a mention for France loosehead Eddy Ben Arous whose stock rose considerably this Six Nations. Joe Marler also impressed for England but we had to go for Ireland and Leinster prop Jack McGrath after his strong efforts in the early rounds. Joe Schmidt is fortunate to have four quality props at his disposal, which could decide key games in the upcoming World Cup.

Team of Round 5: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Guihelm Guirado, Vincent Debaty

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