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The Combined Team Of The Six Nations Features Three Ireland Players

The Combined Team Of The Six Nations Features Three Ireland Players
By Conor O'Leary

The Six Nations 2016 is now over which means two things - team of the tournaments and Lions squads will soon be everywhere.

You could follow every single one, or you could let us combine them all for you in one nice combined table. Because that's exactly what we've done. Pulling teams from online sources and Sunday papers, we've compiled a team of the tournament to end all team of the Six Nations from 11 different sources.

There were two players in all 11 teams, but there were nine players in at least eight of the 11 selections. That's either an indictation that one player was head and shoulders above the rest in that position e.g. Stuart Hogg; or that there wasn't too many other challengers, e.g. Anthony Watson.

The Ultimate Six Nations Team Of The Tournament:

1. Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Selected by eight of eleven sources, Jack McGrath was outstanding for the second straight championship. The loss of Cian Healy isn't felt as much because of McGrath's outstanding play and he thoroughly deserves the inclusion in Stephen Jones' Lions squad.

Wales Online went for McGrath's biggest challenger to a Lions spot in Rob Evans, and Austin Healey picked Mako Vunipola.

My pick: Jack McGrath

2. Guilhem Guirado (France)

By a distance France's best player in the tournament - Guirado has taken over from previous captain Theirry Dusautoir in that regard. Almost a unanimous selection, the Frenchman's all action displays were fantastic. There was one sole selection for the England captain.

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My pick: Guilhem Guirado

3. WP Nel (Scotland)

Just one pick away from an unanimous selection, and Stephen Jones' selection for Lions test tighthead. The South African born tighthead was destructive at scrumtime, and has leapfrogged Wales' Samson Lee as the presumed Lions three. Dan Cole was the sole other choice picked.

My pick: WP Nel

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4. Maro Itoje (England)

The find of the tournament. It baffles that Itoje was kept out of the England team until Ireland came to town. Itoje looked a natural already, and it's scary to think how good he can be. Ten selections from 11 show how good he was, with Scotland's Jonny Gray getting some love too.

My pick: Maro Itoje

5. George Kruis (England)

George Kruis was almost as outstanding as his Saracens locking mate. His line-out work destroyed France in particular, and Kruis boosted his stock considerably. Nine selections for Kruis underline how good he was.

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My pick: Alun Wyn Jones

6. CJ Stander (Ireland)

If any Irish journalist didn't pick Stander in their team - and there was one here - they might be escorted to the airport by the Irish public on a one-way flight out of here. CJ Stander took to international rugby like a fish to water - and carried absolutely everything. His seven picks beat out two for Chris Robshaw and Dan Lydiate.

My pick: CJ Stander

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7. John Hardie (Scotland)

A perhaps surprising choice for an almost unanimous decision. It was only Peter O'Reilly from the Sunday Times - who picked Stander out of position - and Austin Healey who went for James Haskell who didn't fancy Hardie.

My pick: John Hardie

8. Billy Vunipola (England)

Austin Healey was again the only one to deny Vunipola - instead plucking for Italian captain Sergio Parisse. But Billy Vunipola was outstanding at times for England. Teams could not cope with his carrying ability and size - but he has a tendency to fade in the second half of games.

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My pick: Billy Vunipola

9. Ben Youngs (England)

Three selections each for Laidlaw, Youngs, and Murray - with Gareth Davies and Maxime Machenaud getting some love too. One publication also had Youngs on the bench in their selection - which just about seals the pick for him.

My pick: Conor Murray

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10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)

A two horse race that saw five selections to Dan Biggar and six to Johnny Sexton. Stephen Jones' Lions test has Biggar with no Sexton in the squad - but that view isn't universal clearly. That battle will be an interesting one to follow for the next 18 months.

My pick: Dan Biggar

11. George North (Wales)

Nine selections for the top try scorer of the tournament - only a pick for Andrew Trimble and French sevens star Virimi Vakatawa preventing a clean sweep for North. This was more like it from North who has clearly recovered from his concussion issues to smash his way through this tournament.

My pick: George North

12. Jamie Roberts (Wales)

This one was just as close as the fly-half pick. Owen Farrell came close with four selections, but Roberts just pips him with five. Ireland's Robbie Henshaw got other two spots.

My pick: Jamie Roberts

13. Michele Campagnaro (Italy)

It wasn't a great tournament for outside centres outside of the rejuvenated Michele Campagnaro. The centre was the brightest spark for Italy by a long way, and should have had more than eight selections in this combined team of the tournament. Scotland's Duncan Taylor received two nods - with RTE on their own with Jonathan Joseph.

My pick: Michele Campagnaro

14. Anthony Watson (England)

The first of the fully unanimous selections. The young winger is perhaps more suited to full-back, but there's no doubt that Watson didn't suffer from second-season syndrome and instead went from strength to strength as the front runner for a Lions test spot.

My pick: Anthony Watson

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

The outstanding Scot and the leader of Vern Cotter's Scotland uprising. His role mimics Robbie Henshaw's with Connacht's rejuvenation but Scotland are about a year behind Connacht - just Hogg won't be heading south to England. Scotland are a team on the up - and Hogg is leading the band of young talent.

My pick: Stuart Hogg

See Also: Scotland Would Have More Players In A Lions XV Than Ireland

See Also: Just 5 Irish Players Make Stephen Jones' Lions Squad, And Johnny Sexton Is Not One Of Them

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