Six Nations Team of the Tournament: Ireland and Italy lead the way as one country misses out

James While
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Our Six Nations Team of the Tournament, brought to you by eToro.

Our Six Nations Team of the Tournament, brought to you by eToro.

With a selection meeting of the Planet Rugby experts used in conjunction with eToro during this Six Nations campaign, we have settled on our Team of the Championship.

James While sat down with former players and Planet Rugby guest regulars Bernard Jackman, Adam Jones, Nick Easter and Paul Gustard for the all-important decision.

We teamed up with eToro, the official investing and trading partner of Premiership Rugby, to cover the 2024 Six Nations, previewing and reviewing the entire tournament.

So without further ado, here are the panel’s choices for their Team of the Six Nations.

Six Nations Team of the Championship

15 Hugo Keenan (Ireland): All of our selectors agreed that Keenan was almost flawless in the backfield, with ex-Wales prop Jones also pressing the claims of England’s George Furbank. A nod too to the emerging Welshman Cam Winnett, one of the brighter lights in the gloomy performances of the Principality.

14 Damian Penaud (France): “Out on his own as the best attacking force in the tournament” was Gustard’s assessment of the flying Frenchman, who once again was a threat in every match he played. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso may have had limited game time but he also impressed our judges in a season that saw the English flyer announce his presence on the Test stage with some thundering performances.

Italy player ratings: Juan Ignacio Brex spearheads memorable Cardiff win

13 Juan Ignacio Brex (Italy): A clean sweep across our pundits, the brilliant Benetton back is our Player of the Tournament as he marshalled the Azzurri backline in a memorable personal season. “Relentless and brilliant in every game” was Jackman’s assessment of the huge three-quarter, as Italy delivered their best showing in a Six Nations campaign. Gael Fickou may have had some howlers in the French defence but his attacking prowess was clear for all, whilst Scotland’s Huw Jones also impressed our panel.

12 Bundee Aki (Ireland): Despite the claims of England’s brilliant Ollie Lawrence who demonstrated his huge improvement, Aki’s thrust and power in the carry was the thing that gave Ireland momentum time and time again. Easter cited his power as something else, saying “he’s a nightmare for any defence as he takes so many players to stop him which creates holes elsewhere.” Tommaso Menoncello also impressed our judges in his Italian partnership with Brex.

11 Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland): Like Aki, Van der Merwe takes some stopping and showed he’s a match-winner in every sense. While said “without him the result at Murrayfield may have been entirely different, that’s how big his impact was.” Our runner-up was Ireland’s James Lowe, a complete wing whose presence for Ireland is essential in so many aspects.

10 Paolo Garbisi (Italy): A split decision here with Jackman citing the impact of Jack Crowley as essential for Ireland, but save for one moment of madness against France, Italy may well have finished in the top half of the table, and the Azzurri 10 takes the spot, with an honourable mention to England’s George Ford.

9 Nolann Le Garrec (France): A real close call with all of Alex Mitchell, Tomos Williams and Jamison Gibson-Park getting votes across our panel. But Easter summed it up well when he observed that “once Le Garrec got the nod we saw a completely different France and his pace from the base changed the way Les Bleus played in terms of accuracy and tempo.”

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8 Ben Earl (England): The second unanimous call from our panel as the England number eight took his game to new heights with ball in hand. Easter added “he brings so much differentiation to the position and was a threat in each match he played.”

7 Michele Lamaro (Italy): The Azzurri skipper topped the tackle count in three rounds of the tournament and whilst our vote was split, he gets the nod for his inspirational leadership. Tommy Reffell was literally the man that kept Wales in every game they played, the jackal king led the turnover stats in virtually every round. Jones commented, “Wales might not have had the best of years but Reffell was the most reliable man on the pitch, despite playing matches carrying a knock every week.”

6 Francois Cros (France): All but one of our pundits went for the Toulouse man as he had a memorably consistent season in an inconsistent campaign for Les Bleus. Gustard said “he’s a glue player, but this year his attacking ambition improved greatly – and he was the catalyst of at least five of France’s tries during the tournament.”

5 Tadhg Beirne (Ireland): Simply massive and currently as a good a lock as any in the world. Jackman observed “when Ireland needed a big play it was Tadhg that came up with the goods time and time again.” Italy’s Federico Ruzza once again topped the lineout stats with a towering display and Scotland’s Grant Gilchrist showed that his work is amongst the most reliable in the game.

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4 George Martin (England): A massive year for a supremely powerful English lock, Martin was the epitome of physicality in everything he did. Gustard observed “huge in every aspect, he’s a coach’s dream as he gives you surety on the gainline.” Ireland’s Joe McCarthy is similar in many respects to Martin, whilst Welsh skipper Dafydd Jenkins didn’t take a backward step in a disappointing campaign.

3 Uini Atonio (France): With two of our pundits both front-rowers, it was telling that both went the way of the behemoth La Rochelle tighthead, and simarilly both cited Tadhg Furlong as their runner-up, as he once again showed his completeness around the park, with England’s Dan Cole vindicating selection even at the age of 36.

2 Dan Sheehan (Ireland): Not his most explosive season but as Jackman observed, “he’s got the intellect of a half-back playing in the front-row.” England’s Jamie George also impressed, especially in terms of his leadership, whilst Italy’s Giacomo Nicotera was the surprise package, adding great breakdown work to his undoubted set-piece skills.

1 Danilo Fischetti (Italy): This was a split decision with others also mentioning Andrew Porter‘s consistency for Ireland. But the Italian loosehead gave Wales the scare of their lives in the last round in Cardiff and his mobility was a feature of Italy’s loose play. Scotland’s Pierre Schoeman might have had a few issues in the tight but there’s none better with ball in hand and he delighted the fans of “The Shoooee” as he crashed and carried in every round.

The Six Nations Team of the Week is brought to by eToro, the official investing and trading partner of Premiership Rugby.

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