The 6 Nations kicks off this Saturday afternoon, heralding six weeks of top-quality international rugby.
There will be a host of top talent on display for the northern hemisphere’s showpiece event, but some key figures will also unfortunately be missing.
Here we choose our 6 Nations dream team based on players currently available for their nations as well as those out injured at present to put together a frightening XV.
1. Rob Evans (Wales)
20 times-capped Evans is the epitome of a modern day prop. Superb in the loose with excellent hands and vision and a powerful ball-carrier who puts in lots of tackles, the 25-year-old is also an accomplished scrummager.
Excellent for Wales during the autumn, he has also been a key figure in the Scarlets’ fantastic European performances.
2. Jamie George (England)
Extremely accurate in the lineout, strong in the scrum and outstanding in the loose with his superb handling skills and ability to cut fantastic lines, the 27-year-old is one of the world’s best hookers.
Really shone for the Lions over the summer and was very impressive for England during the autumn, making his first start against Samoa with many calling for him to take over at hooker from skipper Dylan Hartley.
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
The 19st, 8lbs Leinster front-rower has established himself as the world’s best tighthead with his outstanding scrummaging, powerful ball-carrying, deft hands and prolific work rate around the field.
Wexford-born Furlong was superb for the Lions during the summer and enjoyed an excellent autumn campaign for Joe Schmidt’s side. He will be a key figure for the men in green over the next couple of months.
4. Courtney Lawes (England)
An excellent lineout operator and tremendously powerful ball carrier with good hands and a ferocious defender, the 28-year-old has matured into a world-class player.
Highly-athletic with the ability to also play at six, Lawes has really added consistency to his game under Jones and has become a key figure for the Australian.
5. Maro Itoje (England)
Alongside Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, 23-year-old Itoje is one of the best second-rows in the world.
Superb in the lineout and excellent at the breakdown, the Saracens forward also has great hands, is highly-athletic and a strong ball carrier.
Outstanding for the Lions in New Zealand, he has had an injury-interrupted season thus far but in a huge boost for Jones is set to be fit for England’s opening Six Nations clash against Italy this weekend.
6. Sam Warburton (Wales)
Vastly-experienced, Warburton will unfortunately miss the whole of this year’s tournament and the rest of the season, due to a knee injury.
Superb at the breakdown where he is a master at slowing down opposition ball, the 29-year-old is a very effective ball-carrier with a huge engine and a high tackle count.
Also a very useful lineout option, the 74 times-capped star always produces in the big games, bouncing back from an injury-ridden start to his Lions tour to lead his men to a highly creditable series draw against the world champions.
7. Sean O’Brien (Ireland)
The ‘Tullow Tank’ is an explosive ball carrier who always gets his side over the gainline whilst also being destructive in defence.
51 times-capped O’Brien, who was outstanding down in New Zealand over the summer, also has lovely hands and an impressive turn of speed.
A world-class operator, the Leinster man is to miss Ireland’s opener against France on Saturday with a hip injury, but the hope is that the influential 30-year-old will return at some point during the championship.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales)
‘Mr consistency’, the 27-year-old rarely has a bad game. A strong ball carrier with excellent hands who is really effective in the wide channels, the Bath back-rower is one of the world’s best No. 8s.
A brilliant reader of the game and highly-athletic, the 6ft, 2in, 17st, 5lb star makes very few errors and has a huge work rate, consistently making a double-digit number of tackles in each game. Will unfortunately miss Wales’ opening couple of matches with a knee injury.
9. Conor Murray (Ireland)
The 28-year-old possesses an outstanding kicking game, with his pinpoint box-kicks always giving his team the chance to regain possession and often causing opposition defences problems.
Excellent at controlling the tempo of a game, the 59 times-capped star is also a danger around the fringes with his raw strength while he also possesses a quick and smooth pass.
10. Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
One of the top 10s in the world, the Leinster pivot is an outstanding player. A master tactician with a superb kicking game and a real ability to control a match, the 32-year-old continues to be Ireland’s talisman.
His excellent distribution skills put those around him into space while he constantly asks questions of opposition defences by playing close to the gainline with his trademark wraparounds a highly-effective attacking weapon.
11. Elliot Daly (England)
An extremely versatile and gifted footballer, the 25 year-old can play at centre, full-back and wing. Was superb for England as they won their second successive Six Nations last season and really shone for the Lions against the All Blacks as well.
A dangerous runner with great pace and a real ability to spot space allied with a siege gun boot makes the 16 times-capped Wasps star a real asset to any team. Currently out injured with an ankle injury, Daly is to miss England’s opener on Saturday and may miss the whole of the tournament.
12. Owen Farrell (England)
The 2017 European Player of the Year is a top-class operator. A key member of Eddie Jones’ England team, the 26-year-old possesses a fantastic kicking game whilst also being a highly-accomplished distributor.
Ferocious in defence with a big game temperament and a world-class goal-kicker, the Saracens man is one of the best in the world.
13. Jonathan Davies (Wales)
Blessed with a sharp rugby brain and the ability to break the line with his power and clever lines of running, the 29-year-old Scarlets man, who was voted the Lions’ Man of the Series against New Zealand also possesses a cultured left boot, which can be a highly-effective weapon in attack.
Another out injured for the entire tournament, the 55 times-capped star is also excellent in defence and runs fantastic supporting lines.
14. Anthony Watson (England)
Lethal on the counter-attack with raw pace and a great sidestep, the Bath man is a quality operator.
An excellent defender who’s solid under the high ball while also possessing a great boot, the 23-year-old is also an accomplished finisher, having touched down 13 times for the Red Rose in only 28 appearances.
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
Arguably the best full-back in the world at the moment, the 25-year-old 6 Nations Player of the Year for the last two championships is a devastating strike runner.
Runs terrific lines, has tremendous acceleration and always makes things happen, the Glasgow Warriors star is a class act.
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