AFTER FIFTEEN INTENSE games across seven weeks, the Six Nations Championship finally came to a close decked out in glorious green ribbon in Paris.
Ireland are the champions (in case you missed the news last night), but here are some other big gongs we think should be handed out.
Player of the Championship
Mike Brown: He didn’t quite do it single-handed, but the fullback was critical to turning England’s back division into a potent weapon.
Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images
His man-of-the-match display against the eventual champions, Ireland, exemplified his ability to offer a line-breaking option throughout the five-game Championship.
Hot on his heels
Peter O’Mahony: Perhaps the player of the tournament over the opening three games as Ireland took a lead in the Championship, but with injury and a massive French back row, his impact was lessened (but still impressive) towards the end of the Championship.
Try of the Tournament
It came early, and it proved crucial to the trophy’s destination too.
Arise, Gael Fickou!
Hot on his heels: Danny Care v Ireland.
Sorry, Alain Rolland.
Coach of the Championship
Joe Schmidt: Not only did he rejuvenate Ireland and inject confidence into a group of players, he has done so with his mantra of continuous improvement so that this is not likely to be a flash in the pan.
Even without star names, Lions, like Tommy Bowe, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris, Luke Fitzgerald and (for his own reasons) Simon Zebo; Ireland’s attack looked more fluent than in most of the past five recent years.
Ireland’s miserly penalties conceded column speaks volumes for Schmidt’s influence too. Not once in five games did they break double figures and they end the championship with just 36 against their name.
Then, there were clinical set-plays such as this.
Cravat of the year
Hot on his heels: Eh, nobody even came close.
‘What a try that would’ve been’ of the tournament
Unlucky Luther Burrell, this was an exhilarating move.
Worthy replacements of the tournament
To call them ‘stand-ins’ would be a massive injustice, because with Sean O’Brien and Tommy Bowe out injured, Chris Henry and Andrew Trimble stomped up to the plate and played a massive role in securing Ireland’s Championship medals.
Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
At no point in the five games were they more effective than when the chips were down in Paris. Competition for places is about to get really fierce for those green jerseys.
Most ill-advised tackle
When you come at the King, Scott Williams, you best not miss.
Best recovery method
Cian Healy: Giving everybody an excuse to chow down on a mountain of chocolate six days before the biggest game of their lives.
Source: Cian Healy/Instagram
Offload of the Tournament
Jonathan Davies was a latecomer to this year’s Six Nations, but he shone brightly to set up this sweeping Wales try.
Quote of the Championship
”This is not funny!” – - Nicolas Mas gets irate when quizzed over the standard of the French scrum.
“I’ve been doing the same things for ten to 15 years, and now I’m to change totally overnight?”
Nasty hit of the tournament
Stuart Hogg apologised to Dan Biggar and everybody else for this late leap into the out-half’s face which resulted in a red card.
Dylan Hartley award for reformed characters
Butter would not melt.
Source: EMPICS Sport
Ever since facing down New Zealand Devin Toner has been an absolute force of nature in Ireland’s engine room.
Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO