THE SIX NATIONS powers that be have shortlisted 16 men for the player of the tournament accolade and six of them happen to be Irish.
Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll, Jonathan Sexton and Andrew Trimble have all been included in the list, with voting now open on the official Six Nations website. Runners-up England have four players in the voting mix while France, beaten by Ireland on Saturday, have two.
Conveniently enough, three of the underachieving countries round out the list with a nomination apiece — Sam Warburton (Wales), David Denton (Scotland) and Leinardo Ghiraldini (Italy). While Chris Robshaw and Owen Farrell of England are included, the biggest threat to the Irish players comes from Mike Brown and Danny Care, their international teammates, and the French duo of Brice Dulin and Yoann Huget.
O’Driscoll, who was awarded man-of-the-match medals after his final two Test matches, and Trimble may be Ireland’s best hopes of capturing the individual prize. The list is surprisingly missing flanker Peter O’Mahony and lock Devin Toner, both of whom excelled in the Irish cause over the past seven weeks.
Source: Brian Lawless
This is how the Six Nations folks came up with their shortlist, “Throughout the [tournament], each player has been awarded (or deducted) points based on statistical performance across different action categories that cover all aspects of the game. To ensure fairness, the analysts have weighted the importance of different actions depending on different positions. These categories have been collated to give each player an overall performance score.”
Voting is open until midnight on Wednesday, 19 March. You can vote by clicking through to the Six Nations website here >>>
What do you think? Should O’Mahony — or any other player — have made it onto the shortlist.