AFTER FIFTEEN INTENSE games across seven weeks, the Six Nations Championship finally came to a close with a heart-stopper in London. Ireland have the only prize that matters (again) but here are a few other gongs we feel should be handed out.
Player of the Championship
Before the final day explosion, the Six Nations was a tournament under fire for its attritional nature. Perfect hunting grounds for a self-respecting lock but Paul O’Connell pounced on everything that came across his path.
He passed his 100th cap at the age of 35 and yet played all 400 Championship minutes. He remains undecided on whether to attempt to make it three-in-a-row for Ireland, but he’ll be irreplaceable whenever he decided to hang up his boots.
Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Coach of the Championship
There’s a big push to share this award to one of the runners-up, but in guiding Ireland to a first back-to-back win in 66 years, Joe Schmidt deserves nothing but immense praise – so here he is celebrating a try for Manawatu.
Despite the convincing wins over England and France, the Kiwi came under fire from certain quarters for his style of play in the first half of the tournament. He showed off another great strength in changing those tactics; not because of pressure from outside, but because he wants his team to be able to play different versions of the gameplan depending on the opposition and what’s required from the game.
Most surprisingly low-key retirement
We have to split this award between two worthy contenders. Two men who are equally good looking and who will leave our rugby airwaves a less colourful place than they made them over the past number of years.
We’ll miss you, George Hook and Steve Walsh.
The Gordon D’Arcy award for best beard
G is for great beard, Geoff Cross.
‘You’ve got a long way to grow, Henshaw kid’. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland
Most impressive pick-up
Sorry, Taulupe Faletau, Cian Healy’s got this one.
The more whiplash than the movie Whiplash award
Courtney Lawes mowed. Jules Plisson. DOWN.
Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube
Most honest prediction
Asked before the first round of games what we could expect from France, head coach Philippe Saint-Andre said, “I don’t know.”
He delivered on that bold prediction too.
The award for the saddest looking Sean O’Brien goes to…
Sean O’Brien looked even more disappointed than the rest of us after his hamstring stopped him facing Italy at the last minute.