Rugby: The Six Nations Form XVSave
By Campbell Burnes
The Six Nations climax saw high drama in Paris and Dublin, not to mention Scotland seeing Vern Cotter off as a winner. Several individuals stood tall, writes Campbell Burnes.
15 Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Scotland's custodian has an uncanny knack of turning up at the right time, or making the last pass for a try. He made most metres (63) for his side in the 29-0 shutout of Italy, but featured heavily in three of his side's four tries and made a trysaving tackle. Honourable mentions for Leigh Halfpenny of Wales and Jared Payne of Ireland.
14 Noa Nakaitaci (France)
The defence was bruising in the France-Wales clash in Paris, but the French right wing was always a threat on the flanks, making 94m from 15 carries in a clash that was ultimately decided in centimetres not metres.
13 Remi Lamerat (France)
He did not dominate the stats, but France's No 13 has shown his nose for the tryline in 2017, latching on to a well weighted chip over the top from Camille Lopez. His combination with Gael Fickou is worth persevering with.
12 Gael Fickou (France)
One of France's consistently dangerous penetrators, Fickou carried 13 times for 74m and made his tackles. He is not from the Denis Charvet or Didier Cordoniou school of French midfield play, but Guy Noves will like what he does in his pattern.
11 Elliot Daly (England)
It was not really a day for wings to stand out in the Six Nations, but Elliot Daly again showed some silky touches on England's left wing despite the fact they were often under the kosh.
10 Finn Russell (Scotland)
Bad luck again, Johnny Sexton. Scotland's pivot ran the game beautifully, taking the right options, running to the line and kicking judiciously. Oh, and he scored the opening try for Scotland at Murrayfield.
9 Kieran Marmion (Ireland)
In his first Six Nations start, and filling the big boots of Conor Murray, the Connacht No 9 did all that was asked, and then some. His service to Johnny Sexton was slick, and had to be, as England were often well over the offside line.
8 CJ Stander (Ireland)
Ireland's loose trio just battered their vaunted counterparts from England and Stander, a late switch to No 8 from the side of the scrum, was a key man in the physical home pack, with no less than 20 carries.
7 Hamish Watson (Scotland)
He is not big, but has a big heart, and on the weekend he was the epitome of the Scottish battler, ripping into his work, making 10 carries and 11 tackles. Sean O'Brien wins an honourable mention for his sterling display for Ireland, as does Justin Tipuric for Wales.
6 Peter O'Mahony (Ireland)
Fair play to Peter O'Mahony, who only found out he was starting in the warm-up when Jamie Heaslip went down. He swiftly switched on, won the lineout that led to Iain Henderson's try and tackled like a demon.
5 Iain Henderson (Ireland)
No, he is not a major lineout winner, but he complements Donnacha Ryan with his tackling and work-rate and, most importantly, scored the winning and only try, reaching out from the base of the ruck.
4 Jonny Gray (Scotland)
He was unperturbed when his brother Richie was ruled out, and gave a wholehearted effort in the engine room for a galvanised Scotland pack. Pencil him in for the Lions.
3 Zander Fagerson (Scotland)
The youngster did it tough against England but, like most of the Scottish pack, bounced back strongly with an allround display in which he held his side of the scrum up and got through a power of work featuring eight carries and 11 tackles.
2 Ken Owens (Wales)
Wales' hooker has a high work-rate and his output in Paris was solid, with 15 tackles to go with 12 accurate lineout throws. His form may make the Lions selection at rake very interesting, unless they take four hookers.
1 Jack McGrath (Ireland)
Good enough to keep Cian Healy on the bench, Jack McGrath passed a searching examination at scrum time against Dan Cole and was busy around the track and in the rucks for an industrious Ireland pack.
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