Six Nations
ESPN Fantasy Rugby - Team of the Tournament
John Griffiths
March 22, 2016

Home Unions players dominate the Fantasy XV of the season with Guilhem Guirado the only outsider in a side that provides some pointers to the British & Irish Lions selectors who 12 months from now will finalise their squad for New Zealand.

Our outside backs each scored tries on Saturday. George North showed his competitive edge shredding Italy with a searing run at Cardiff, Stuart Hogg's solo effort at the Aviva Stadium was a contender for try of the season and Anthony Watson's try in Paris gave England a one-score lead at a significant point in the Grand Slam match.

Jonathan Joseph, who was in our corresponding team at the end of the last Six Nations, was tightly marked but joins Wales' big beast, Jamie Roberts, in a midfield that is directed from fly-half by Owen Farrell of England.

Farrell was the Six Nations leading place-kicker with 24 conversions/penalties and just pips Dan Biggar to the pivot position. Greig Laidlaw landed 23 goals, but if Farrell is to be our appointed place-kicker then stripping the Scot of his kicking points gives Ireland's Conor Murray the nod at the base of the scrum.

The front-row was the hardest position from which to claim Fantasy points. Guirado was the only member of this unit to win a man-of-the-match (MoM) nomination (against Ireland) and boosted his rating with tries against Wales and Scotland. Durable Dan Cole was subbed only once and claims the tight-head place, with Jack McGrath, the only prop to score a try in this season's Six Nations, squeezing in at loose-head.

George Kruis was the stand-out lock. He launched England's Grand Slam with a try on the opening weekend and his three line-out steals in Paris robbed France of good field positions at crucial stages. Devin Toner partners him after a late surge of Fantasy points that included a try under the posts to help Ireland break the Scots in Dublin.

Fantasy's new eight-point try for forwards projected Jamie Heaslip to the top of the pack. His brace against Italy and his MoM award against Scotland left him with 44 Fantasy points, second only to George North (47) among the non-kickers. CJ Stander, the fastest bolter of the campaign, was not far behind and only the human wrecking-ball, Billy Vunipola, and Taulupe Faletau broke Ireland's back-row monopoly. Thanks to three MoM prizes, Vunipola finished level with Faletau on 36 Fantasy points.

All told, then, a side that contains many contenders for a Lions Test XV and one that includes four who were in our Six Nations Fantasy team of the year in 2015.

© John Griffiths

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