With the Six Nations approaching a likely dramatic conclusion, attentions are already turning as to who could feature in the team of the Championship.
England, seemingly destined for a second-straight Grand Slam, will be well represented as will an impressive Scotland side while much of Ireland’s pack, in particular, have stated serious claims, not just for the best XV of the tournament, but also to Warren Gatland as the former Wales coach picks the Lions team to face New Zealand in the summer.
Looking solely at the stats, the best lineup of this year’s playing of the Six Nations makes for fascinating reading. Using the numbers from rugby.net where their “In-Form” algorithm takes into account a variety of metrics, we’ve compiled this fearsome fifteen.
It’s an all-Irish half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Paddy Jackson while Tadhg Furlong and CJ Stander take their place in the forwards. Twenty-two-year-old Gary Ringrose is included at 13.
Table-toppers England make up a third of the side with Mike Brown and Elliot Daly in the backs and Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes all part of the front eight.
Scotland are completely absent from the squad despite wins over Ireland and Wales. Italy, less surprisingly, also don’t boast a member of our “by the stats XV”.
Louis Picamoles is possibly the least shocking name on the teamsheet after his unstoppable performances from the base of Les Bleus’ scrum.
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena