The 2019 Six Nations is over, and what a tournament it has been! Featuring a Grand Slam winner, the biggest comeback ever in tournament history, as well as the highest scoring draw ever in international history.
It started off with a bang, with Wales coming back from 16-0 down at half-time, to beat France in the season opener.
From there, the Welsh never looked back, beating everyone, including a fantastic comeback against England and an emphatic victory over Ireland on the last day, to win Warren Gatland’s third grand slam title.
For England, it has been a mixed bag with some fantastic, free-flowing attacking play dominating the majority of their games.
Yet, their loss to Wales and draw to Scotland – after being 31-0 up – has put a dampener on an otherwise good campaign.
Elsewhere, it has been a blend of good and bad, with France and Italy both having poor tournaments but still showing glimpses of promise for the future, with youngsters Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack both showing moments of class for France, while, Italy certainly have a quality player in Jake Polledri.
Scotland have been poor, however, their wonderful fightback against England will give Gregor Townsend some real hope for the World Cup.
Whereas Ireland will be disappointed that their successful form from 2018 – where they beat the All Blacks – did not continue into 2019, and they have some questions to answer before they head off to Japan.
Here is our team of the tournament for the 2019 Six Nations Championship:
1. Rob Evans - Wales
Was consistent throughout and typified the Welsh performances. Was strong in the set-piece and good around the park, not putting a foot wrong.
2. Jamie George - England
Was one of England’s standout players throughout the tournament. Hardly put a foot wrong with his throwing, while in the loose he was like another back, carrying and linking the play superbly.
3. Kyle Sinckler - England
A turning of the corner for the Harlequin man. Some may point to his discipline, but it is has generally been good and no other prop has been as destructive as he has in the loose.
4. George Kruis - England
Tireless work-rate for the whole tournament and just got better and better with each game. Was key to England’s line-out and never put a foot wrong in defence. His two charge downs against Italy summed up his play.
5. Alun Wyn Jones - Wales (Player of the Tournament)
Led Wales brilliantly and you would want anybody else to lead you in to battle. He consistently got the upper hand against every opposition lock he faced.
6. Josh Navidi - Wales
Was superb all tournament and constantly racked up the most tackles for Wales. He was everywhere on the pitch; it is like there were two of him!
7. Tom Curry - England
Put in the most tackles of the tournament, while constantly wrecking havoc at the breakdown. England have finally found their replacement seven for Neil Back.
8. Louis Picamoles - France
Was a tough position to fill, but Picamoles has been consistently good in a struggling French side. Constantly made metres and led his team well.
9. Ben Youngs - England
Did everything well that a nine should. Controlled the tempo perfectly in each game, while kicking well when he needed. Is one of England’s most important players with no clear second option.
10. Gareth Anscombe - Wales
A standout tournament from the Welsh 10 who has earned his starting place. Mixed up his play nicely, knowing when to attack and to kick. His performance against Ireland was almost perfect.
11. Johnny May - England
The top try scorer of the tournament, May has become one of the best wingers in world rugby. A constant threat in attack – he added an aerial threat this Six Nations – a menace to any side.
12. Hadleigh Parkes - Wales
Doesn’t often make the headlines, but he is constantly good in a tough position to play. Runs hard and leads the Welsh backline defence, he suits the Welsh style perfectly.
13. Henry Slade - England
Finally put his club form into international rugby and has maybe nailed down the 13 shirt for the World Cup. Needs to work on his defensive positioning at times, but in attack, his hands, surprising pace and footwork prove a match against anyone.
14. Damian Penaud - France
Played out-of-position for the whole tournament, yet was consistently France’s best attacking player. Caught out defensively against England, he quickly learnt, while attacking wise always looks dangerous. Hopefully he will get a chance at 13 in the near-future.
15. Liam Williams - Wales
Was the best attacking Welsh player by a distance, constantly making breaks and metres. Was huge in the comeback against France and key to adding another dimension to the Welsh play.
Coach. Warren Gatland - Wales
Who else could it have been!? In his last Six Nations as the Welsh coach, he masterminded their Grand Slam and Wales have now won 14 games in-a-row. Gatland has turned Wales into genuine World Cup contentders.