Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the Six Nations: Champions Ireland dominate but one Englishman steals the show

Jared Wright
Split with Duhan van der Merwe (SCO), Ben Earl (ENG), Dan Sheehan (IRE), Michele Lamaro (ITA).

Split with Duhan van der Merwe (SCO), Ben Earl (ENG), Dan Sheehan (IRE), Michele Lamaro (ITA).

With the 2024 Six Nations now done and dusted, we gave our readers the opportunity to vote for their Team of the Six Nations, and over 15,000 did.

A huge thank you to everyone who voted and consumed our content throughout the tournament.

After clinching back-to-back titles, Ireland players dominate the selections, with eight of Andy Farrell’s stars voted into the team.

Three of France’s stars are joined by two Scotland backs, two of Italy’s best, and just one of Steve Borthwick’s England players cracks the XV.

So, without further ado, here is your Team of the Tournament.

Planet Rugby Readers’ Team of the 2024 Six Nations

15 Hugo Keenan (Ireland): The evergreen fullback just edged France’s Thomas Ramos for a place in the team despite missing two of the Championship matches. It was a two-horse race for the jumper, with Keenan getting 39% of the votes ahead of Ramos’ 36%, with Wales’ Cameron Winnett and Ange Capuozzo collectively making up 25%.

14 Damian Penaud (France): One clear winner as the livewire French stole the show on the pitch and dominated the voting with 69%. Ireland’s Calvin Nash and England’s Tommy Freeman each collected 11% of the votes, with Louis Lynagh claiming just 9%. Penaud only scored one try in the Championship but clearly caught the eye of the fans.

13 Juan Ignacio Brex (Italy): A key cog in the Azzurri backline and a driving force in their success this Six Nations. After claiming two Man of the Match awards, Brex won over the supporters as he claimed 53% of the votes for the outside centre role, beating Gael Fickou (16%), Robbie Henshaw (14%) and Huw Jones (17%).

Juan Ignacio Brex reflects on the ‘amazing’ reaction to Italy’s Six Nations campaign and how the Azzurri ‘rekindled’ their passion

Rome, Italie. 09th Mar, 2024. Juan Ignacio Brex of Italy celebrates with his teammates after scoring during the 2024 Six nations Championship, rugby union match between Italy and Scotland on March 9, 2024 at Stadio Olimpico in Rome

12 Bundee Aki (Ireland): A superstar for Farrell’s charges as he ramped over defenders and was just as astute on defence, Aki is clearly one of the best in the business. Like Brex, he was the clear winner for the jumper, collecting 56% of the public’s votes. Brex’s midfield partner, Tommaso Menoncello, took 33% of the votes, with Ollie Lawrence (8%) and Sione Tuipulotu (3%) taking the rest.

11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland): Again, there were two frontrunners in the joint top scorer Van der Merwe and Ireland star James Lowe. In the end, the Scotland star edged Lowe with 46% of the votes to Lowe’s 41%. Both players had fantastic tournaments, but there could only be one winner.

Scotland's Duhan van der Merwe celebrates his third try against England during the Six Nations.

Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe celebrates his third try against England during the Six Nations.

10 Finn Russell (Scotland): The fly-half jumper was one of the most hotly contested role, with the Scottish playmaker collecting 32% of the votes to beat Ireland’s Jack Crowley (30%), Poalo Garbisi (20%) and George Ford (18%).

9 Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland): The heartbeat of the Irish attack as he guided the side to another Six Nations title. Gibson-Park caught the eye of the fans, 64% of whom voted for him in the number nine jumper. Nolann Le Garrec claimed 24% with his impressive debut tournament.

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Ben Earl of England looks on as he applauds the fans at the end of the match

Ben Earl of England looks on as he applauds the fans at the end of the match. Guinness Six Nations championship 2024 match, England v Wales at Twickenham Stadium in Twickenham.

8 Ben Earl (England): The only player from Steve Borthwick’s side that cracks the team, but like he did on the pitch, Earl dominated the voting. He claimed a whopping 74% of the votes, with Gregory Alldritt way back in second place at 15%. A memorable tournament from the powerful back-rower, and the fans clearly agree.

7 Michele Lamaro (Italy): The inspirational Azzurri skipper set a new tackle record in the Six Nations and won the public vote as well with his 36% seeing him beat Ireland’s Josh van der Flier and Wales’ Tommy Reffell to a place in the XV.

6 Francois Cros (France): Arguably the best performer for Les Bleus during the tournament but as always, the back-row is highly competitive as Cros won the vote with 32% beating Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony (29%) and Italy’s Seb Negri (24) to place on the side of the scrum.

5 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland): One-way traffic as the Irish lock won the vote by a landslide, with 64% of the fans picking him ahead of England’s George Martin (20%) and Italy’s Federico Ruzza (11%).

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4 Joe McCarthy (Ireland): Joining Beirne in the second row is his Irish teammate, who enjoyed a stellar debut in the Championship, notching up his first title. The powerful youngster beat Maro Itoje (30%) to the number four jersey as he claimed 44% of the public’s vote.

Ireland's Joe McCarthy is tackled by England's Ollie Chessum during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Ireland and Twickenham.

Ireland’s Joe McCarthy is tackled by England’s Ollie Chessum during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Ireland and Twickenham.

3 Tadhg Furlong (Ireland): The Irishman claims the tighthead role in the Readers’ Team of the Tournament but the finest of margins as he beat Uini Atonio (38%) by a single percentage. Scotland’s Zander Fagerson (13%) was the next best behind the two standouts.

2 Dan Sheehan (Ireland): The player with the second highest percentage of votes behind Ben Earl as Sheehan’s five tries and all-round brilliance throughout the tournament secured him 72% of the public’s votes. England captain Jamie George came in second place with 14% of the votes. Comfortably in the running for the best hooker in the world.

1 Andrew Porter (Ireland): What a tournament for the Irish loosehead prop as he put his shortcomings from the World Cup behind him and thrived in all five of Ireland’s fixtures. The powerhouse front rower had stiff competition for the jumper as fans were seemingly split between his contenders in Cyril Baille (19%), Danilo Fischetti (17%) and Ellis Genge (15%), but ultimately, he still managed to claim almost half of the votes (49%).

Team in full

Readers’ Six Nations team: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Bundee Aki, 11Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Francois Cros, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter

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