The French team were deservedly crowned champions of the Six Nations Championship after a resounding win over England in Paris.
It marked the end of what has been a fantastic competition which highlighted the quality of Northern Hemisphere rugby, beyond the quality in the teams, some individuals stood out like sores throughout the championship
Bet Central assembled a team of the best performers in the Championship, naturally, the dominant French side makes up most of the team.
15: Hugo Keenan (Ireland)
Hugo Keenan looks like he is going to be Ireland fullback for a very long time, that is how good he is and it was on full display in the 6 Nations. His try-saving tackle on Stuart Hogg in the last game was a handing over of the crown. For a long time, Hogg was untouchable as the Northern Hemisphere’s best at 15, that has changed.
Melvyn Jaminet played Test rugby before he had even played Top 14 rugby and it is not hard to see just why that happened, he was special and would have been worthy of a spot in the team were it not for Keenan’s presence for Ireland at the back.
Honourable mention: Melyvn Jaminet (France)
14: Gabin Villiere (France)
The diminutive French dynamo hardly put a foot wrong for the entirety of the 6 Nations, Gabin Villiere was outstanding for the French. The 26-year-old is not only quick and deceptively strong, but perhaps his best asset is his ability to read the game both defensively and offensively. He added 3 tries to be joint top scorer of the tournament and push Les Bleus to 6 Nations glory
French teammate, Damian Penaud, was also outstanding in the competition. Scottish winger Darcy Graham could also have merited selection, but ultimately the Toulon man gets the nod.
Honourable mention: Darcy Graham (Scotland)
13: Gael Fickou (France)
For a long time, Gael Fickou was a player who flattered to deceive, but under Fabien Galthie’s tutelage, he has come into his own and finally looks like the player he always promised to be. He was outstanding for France throughout the 6 Nations. The French’s defence suffocated teams at times in the competition and Fickou was at the heart of that defensive effort. The Stade Francais centre is the best in his position in the Northern Hemisphere and he will continue to be influential for his country, especially as the French look for long term success.
Were it not for Fickou’s sheer brilliance, Garry Ringrose was more than good enough at 13 for Ireland. The Irishman must settle for backup for this year’s competition.
Honourable mention: Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12: Jonathan Danty (France)
One of the unsung heroes of the French triumph, Jonathan Danty was an absolute wrecking ball at inside centre. So many players were able to shine for France, because of the good work done by the 29-year-old centre. It’s been a while since a hard-running inside centre has been that effective in the 6 Nations, perhaps not since the days of Jamie Roberts with Wales.
Bundee Aki was also excellent in a very good Irish side, but Danty was the ultimate abrasive presence in midfield.
Honourable mention: Bundee Aki (Ireland)
11: James Lowe (Ireland)
The left-wing position was hotly contested in this team, so much so that we shifted one winger to the right, but it was still a selection headache when one thinks of the rising Irish star Mack Hansen and the excellent Josh Adams, but James Lowe gets the nod for this side.
Lowe finally showed why he was so highly rated in his native New Zealand before he left for Ireland, he was fantastic and he showed just how well rounded a winger he is.
Honourable mention: Josh Adams (Wales)
10: Dan Biggar (Wales)
There is the flash and panache of Marcus Smith, the seamless movement of Romain Ntamack, the enigmatic nature of Finn Russell’s game or even Jonny Sexton’s assured presence as he rolled back the years, but none of them could compare to Dan Biggar in 2022.
The Welsh flyhalf was outstanding in the 6 Nations, he seemed to gain even more confidence with the captaincy being given to him for the tournament. He was a class act throughout; it was unfortunate his 100th Test ended in defeat.
Honourable mention: Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
9: Antonie Dupont (France)
The best player in the world by the slightest of margins, but the best scrumhalf in the world by far. Antonie Dupont is miles ahead of any no.9 in the game right now. Capable of being the tactical master as well as the flamboyant sniper. He is unplayable at the moment and he was a nightmare for the opposition through the 6 Nations. The Toulouse man continues to grow as the captain of a team in imperious form.
Kiwi-born Irish scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park looked really good for the Irish, and he has now usurped one of the greats at scrumhalf in Connor Murray is indicative of just how good he is at the moment.
Honourable mention: Jamison Gibson-Park (Ireland)
8: Gregory Alldritt (France)
Just like his captain Dupont, it’s hard to think of a player who is better than him in his position, Gregory Alldritt was outstanding in the 6 Nations. Influential in so many ways whether it be on defence or attack. A powerful and relentless ball carrier as well as ball poacher of note. Possibly player of the tournament.
Taulupe Faletau will go down as a Welsh legend, a model of consistency and the only player who got the better of Alldritt. He is definitely the 2nd best no.8 in the Northern Hemisphere
Honourable mention: Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
7: Anthony Jelonch (France)
It is a huge compliment to Anthony Jelonch that there are doubts as to whether France’s regular skipper Charles Ollivon can force his way back into the starting line-up. That is how good the Toulouse loose forward has been. A fantastic defender whose work rate is 2nd to none. He was also influential at the breakdown for France in a stubborn defence.
Caelan Doris deserves a mention for his contributions in the Irish loose trio, but the dubbed as a stand-in for Ollivon proved he is way more than that.
Honourable mention: Caelan Doris (Ireland)
6: Michele Lamaro (Italy)
Probably a very tightly contested match up for the openside flanker berth between the irrepressible Italian skipper Michele Lamaro and brilliant Irish flanker Josh van der Flier, what makes it even tougher is both were arguably their nation’s best players respectively.
Michele Lamaro for his unrelenting and uncompromised play edges him ahead of van der Flier, he also grew as the leader of the Italian side. He may well become as influential for Italy as Sergio Parisse once was.
Honourable mention: Josh van der Flier (Ireland)
5: Cameron Woki (France)
Cameron Woki plays with the no.4 on his back but is very much a no.5 type of lock. Athletic and vocal in the lineouts, he is a kingpin for France in the air. It wasn’t only his lineout work that got him a spot in this team. He was an all-around contributor; he was a constant ball carrier and gained metres more often than not. His athleticism meant he was like an extra loose forward. The 23-year-old has a big future ahead of him.
Will Rowlands performed admirably for Wales in the absence of Alu Wyn Jones, he will most likely displace the Welsh legend sooner rather than later and was probably the one lock to cause problems for Woki in the lineout, but overall, the Frenchman had a better Championship
Honourable mention: Will Rowlands (Wales)
4: Maro Itoje (England)s)
Perhaps he has set a standard so high that expectations of him are unreasonable at times, he was not vintage Itoje, but was still good enough to be the best no.4 in the Championship. Hugely influential at the breakdown and pushes the envelope and more often than not, he gets due reward. A standout in a struggling English side.
Paul Willemse like Danty is often overlooked for the praise but is worth his weight in gold for the French. He was once again a belligerent presence for the opposition.
Honourable mention: Paul Willemse (France)
3: Tadgh Furlong (Ireland)
With the exception of a difficult day against the fiery Ellis Genge in the penultimate round, Tadgh Furlong was still far and away the best tighthead in the Championship. It is not only his ability to anchor the scrum that makes him so good, but his ability in the tight-loose for a tighthead is rare. Furlong is easily the best tighthead in the world.
Uini Atonio was part of an all-conquering front row and if Furlong was out, he would not disgrace this team.
Honourable mention: Uini Atonio (France)
2: Julien Marchand (France)
Another Frenchmen who is close to being the best in his position, Julien Marchand had a great Championship. The hooker is deadly accurate at the set-piece, but it is his energy in carrying the ball up and his ferocity on defence that stands out. He gets around the park incredibly quickly for a front-rower.
Ronan Kelleher started the tournament very well for Ireland, but due to injury lost out to a resurgent Jamie George.
Honourable mention: Jamie George (England)
1: Cyril Baille (France)
The Northern Hemisphere is blessed with a plethora of talented looseheads and it was evident in the 6 Nations. Whether it be Andrew Porter for Ireland, Danilo Fischetti for Italy, Ellis Genge for England or Cyril Baille for France, the looseheads showed up fantastically in the 6 Nations.
It is Frenchmen Baille who gets the nod, a scrumming machine whose soft hands and ball skills resemble those of a centre. He gets the basics done, but he is also box office.
Honourable mention: Ellis Genge (England)