Scrum.com's Team of the Tournament
March 23, 2005
How many of the Welsh Grand Slam team made it into scrum.com's team of the tournament? © Getty Images
It may not have been the best ever Six Nations - unless you are Welsh - but here are the stars who did make a significant impact over the last month and a half.
Full Back: Iain Balshaw seemed to spark the English three quarter line in front of him into life and gives Andy Robinson an interesting dilemma for the future of Jason Robinson but the man who gets the nod is Geordan Murphy . The Irish backs may have failed to live up to the pre-tournament hype but Murphy produced some quality individual moments
Right Wing: A hat trick for Mark Cueto against Italy put the English man in the frame but overall Christophe Dominici who started on the left where he scored twice against Ireland before moving to the right against Italy was the experienced influence in a youthful French backline.
Centre: Although snuffed out against the Welsh Brian O'Driscoll has consistently looked the major threat of the Irish team and his superb turn of speed led to a great try against the French
Centre: Direct running and superb support should see Tom Shanklin challenge for a place in the Lions starting line up this summer
Left Wing: Several Welsh players have blossomed into true world class performers in recent weeks and Shane Williams is certainly one. Another near certainty for the Lions line up.
Fly Half: Even if Jonny does not make it to New Zealand in the summer Clive Woodward shouldn't worry too much. Stephen Jones has flourished since his move to France and w has been top notch both with ball in hand and kicking throughout the tournament.
Scrum Half: In January it was Cusiter v Stringer for the Lions but Dwayne Peel has come through and is now in pole position for the first test in New Zealand . Yet another Welsh success story and my Player of the Championship
No.8: It is tempting to include Michael Owen for his direct style and ease at taking on the responsibility of captaincy mid season. But instead I plump for another man with a direct style who took over the captaincy. Even in the dark days of defeat by France and in Dublin Martin Corry was the stand out forward.
Flanker: Not in the squad in January Martyn Williams will be thankful that Colin Charvis picked up an injury. The Cardiff flanker was the embodiment of Wales turn around in Paris and has played a significant part in the Grand Slam success.
Flanker:No real stand out with Serge Betsen and Ryan Jones both producing fine displays however Joe Worsley edges it for some strong displays in a sometimes weakened pack.
Second Row: Italian skipper Marco Bortolami led the defeated Italian side with aplomb throughout made some telling contributions in the loose and was immense at the lineout
Second Row: The Welsh tight five produced a superb platform throughout the Tournament and Brett Cockbain was always to the fore with making plenty of 'hard yards'. Also did much to quell the Irish lineout threat on Saturday.
Prop: Consistent performances in the tight throughout the tournament means that Sylvain Marconnet is a certainty for the team of the tournament.
Hooker: With neither Steve Thompson nor Shane Byrne living up to expectations during the tournament both Mefin Davies and Gordon Bulloch did their Lions chances no harm. However my vote goes to Bulloch simply for the way that he continued to produce some quality performances amongst a beaten side.
Prop: Gethin Jenkins' charge down and try set Wales on their way on Saturday - but he has done so much more all season. Superbly fit he has scrummaged well and at times played like another back row forward in the loose.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra