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The Breakdown | Six Nations awards: our writers on their highlights of the tournament
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The Breakdown | Six Nations awards: our writers on their highlights of the tournament

Player of the tournament

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Michele Lamaro. There were showier players, speedier players, stronger players, and more skilful players, but Italy’s captain was absolutely indomitable. He played every minute of every match, made 103 tackles (24 more than anyone else in the tournament) and led them to their best ever record. Andy Bull

Tommaso Menoncello. Bundee Aki is probably the correct answer, while François Cros has a strong claim too, but Menoncello enjoyed a fantastic tournament with Italy, never more so than when filling in on the wing against France. Gerard Meagher

The captain of Italy playfully mentioned that he is aging after their win in Cardiff on Saturday, yet for Michele Lamaro, it seems like he has been waiting forever for a team to live up to his standards. He has faced challenges but truly merits their triumph.

Choose your favorite. Exceptional individuals all around. The Six Nations has never had such a high number of standout players. If, as a hooker, you are able to score more points than the opponent’s goal-kicker, then you must be doing something well. Dan Sheehan is the complete package. This is written by Michael Aylwin.

Ireland’s Dan Sheehan celebrates after securing the title.

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The best game of the tournament.

The match between France and England in Lyon had nearly all the elements. It may have been an imperfect masterpiece, but the energy was remarkable and both teams consistently displayed impressive and skillful offensive tactics. The electrifying game between England and Ireland the week before was a close runner-up. RK

There were plenty of good ones, with 10 of the games settled by five points or less, but England’s win against Ireland at Twickenham was a cut above any of the others. It was their best performance since 2019, and they still only won it by a point with a drop goal in the final minute. AB

The score of the England vs. Ireland match was 23-22, causing a raucous atmosphere at Twickenham that hadn’t been seen in a long time. The game holds more significance over Ireland’s victory against Scotland in Lyon, as there was more at stake. The first three rounds of the tournament were lackluster, but round four brought a surge of excitement and was the standout moment. GM

The victory for France in Lyon was unforgettable. However, when taking into account the significant implications for Ireland and England, their thrilling match at Twickenham in the fourth round takes top honors. Marcus Smith disrupted Ireland’s chance at a grand slam and helped stabilize Steve Borthwick’s team after their tough loss at Murrayfield.

Choose whichever you like. There were many remarkable games in the Six Nations tournament this year. England, Italy, Ireland, and Wales all had impressive performances in their respective matches in rounds three, four, and five. The game between England and Ireland stands out for its high level of excitement and uncertainty. MA

George Furbank goes in to score for England in their win over Ireland.

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Favourite moment

Flying through turbulent weather, we finally arrived on solid ground in Dublin (after being rerouted to Belfast) for the launch of the Six Nations. And while I may not be as skilled as Grace Dent, I can confidently say that the cuisine in Lyon is top-notch. RK

Nolann Le Garrec’s breakaway try against England after François Cros poached a lineout off George Martin was as good as any I’ve seen live in a while. The English defence barely managed a touch on any of the French attackers between them. AB

Stevie Mulrooney belting out Ireland’s Call, raising what is already a high bar for national anthems in this tournament. Honourable mentions for Le Garrec’s outrageous pass and the tunnel row between Andy Farrell and Steve Borthwick which might have won if it had gotten a little more heated. GM

Paolo Garbisi’s smile springs to mind. When the ball slipped off the tee in Rome before his opening penalty against Scotland, he accepted the repeat of his Lille calamity with good humour. But Smith’s drop goal was a championship-shaping intervention. LM


Choose your favorite. Incredible moments are happening everywhere. The Six Nations has never witnessed this many. However, Le Garrec’s pass from 25 meters behind against Wales stands out. Often, these kinds of moves can come off as flashy, but in this instance, it was necessary for the situation. France almost scored a fantastic goal because of it.

France’s scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec during the game with Wales.View image in fullscreen

Biggest surprise

Italy nearly defeated France in Lille, but the ball fell off the tee just as Garbisi was about to score the winning points. It is widely recognized that Italy has shown significant improvement, and their renewed sense of confidence since the World Cup is truly remarkable.

England’s win against Ireland aside, the way Italy fought back after losing their first two games and then going seven points down to France in Lille showed a resilience no one outside the team can really have known they had in them. AB

I anticipated a post-World Cup slump, but I did not predict it would affect France. I never imagined they would be defeated by Ireland with such a resounding score. Italy deserves recognition for how they managed to defeat Wales, which was not unexpected. GM

Monty Ioane stated that there has not been much change for Italy, indicating that a change in mindset and a few strategic adjustments can have a significant impact. The unexpected aspect is not their victories, but how at ease they appear all of a sudden. LM.

Italy celebrate scoring a try in the win over Wales.

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By the year 2025, my desire is to witness…

There were less instances of television match officials and touchline assistants impacting the result of major games. The crucially disallowed try during the Scotland vs. France match should have been awarded and there were many other similar violations that were overlooked prior to Ben Earl’s game-changing no-arms tackle in Lyon. The behavior of water carriers verbally harassing referees also requires attention.

reakthrough Welsh revival led by Warren Gatland could result in the unprecedented scenario where all six teams in the championship could believe that they have a shot at defeating each other, something that has not been possible since the inclusion of Italy.

A change to the scoring system. There is no doubting Ireland’s superiority but they had one hand on the trophy after the first round, which was far from ideal. Bonus points are well-intentioned but not really necessary in a tournament such as this. GM


Decreased focus on consuming alcohol among supporters. Instead, why not prioritize the game and save the beer for later? Additionally, Wales making progress under Gatland, England evolving under Steve Borthwick, and most notably, Antoine Dupont. LM601

The extra points offered have been eliminated. They have minimal impact on each game, except for occasionally inspiring one team to make a final effort. No team is ever influenced to change their playing style because of these points. In a tournament with such a limited number of games, the consequences can be harmful.

Robert Kitson’s team of the tournament

Six Nations team of the tournament: T Ramos (Fra); D Penaud (Fra), I Brex (Italy), T Menoncello (Italy), J Lowe (Ire); G Ford (Eng), N Le Garrec (Fra); D Fischetti (Italy), D Sheehan (Ire), U Atonio (Fra), M Itoje (Eng), J McCarthy (Ire), C Doris (Ire), T Reffell (Wal), B Earl (Eng)

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The changing season has brought out some surprising standout players. Italy’s centers have demonstrated their worth and, while Nolann Le Garrec did not start in every game, his skill is undeniable. Thomas Ramos was not without flaws as a fly-half, but his goal-kicking was excellent. Additionally, the diligent Caelan Doris has taken on the number six position to make room for the fast-moving Ben Earl.

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Source: theguardian.com