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Ireland dominate the official Six Nations dream team with 10 picks

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ireland have secured 10 places in the official Guinness Six Nations team of the championship, the remaining spots going to three French players and two from Scotland. The Irish completed the clean sweep in the tournament on March 18, defeating England in Dublin to clinch only their fourth-ever Grand Slam, and that rare achievement has now been reflected in this dream team selection.

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Seven of the eight positions in the pack were taken by Irish players, the only interloper being French lock Thibaud Flament. In the backs, the Irish influence was limited to three, but it was still the dominant representation compared to the French and the Scots.

Upwards of 138,000 fans took part in the online vote along with international media and while the player of the Six Nations tournament was won by French skipper Antoine Dupont for the second successive year and for the third time in four seasons, it was Andy Farrell’s Ireland who dominated the XV selection.

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Their entire front row of Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Finlay Bealham was selected, as was the entire back row of Peter O’Mahony, World Rugby player of the year Josh van der Flier and Caelan Doris. Second row James Ryan completed their pack dominance.

Behind the scrum, veteran skipper Johnny Sexton was named along with winger James Lowe and full-back Hugo Keenan. France secured the other wing spot with Damian Penaud chosen while an all-Scottish midfield was picked in the guise of Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu.

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A statement read: “Ten 10 Ireland players, three France and two Scotland players make up the starting XV, as nominated by fans. In a vintage year for full-backs, France star Thomas Ramos narrowly missed out on a place in the team of the championship to Ireland’s Hugo Keenan, highlighting the competition for places on this year’s team sheet.

“Others included in the team were the likes of Scotland centre partners Sione Tuipulotu and Huw Jones, who won praise throughout the championship for their almost telepathic relationship. Johnny Sexton, who signed off his Six Nations career with a Grand Slam on home soil, took the No10 jersey with nine of his teammates also on the team sheet.

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“Those other Ireland names included the dynamic hooker Dan Sheehan and World Rugby player of the year Josh van der Flier. Another player destined to light up the Rugby World Cup later this year is French second row Thibaud Flament, who earned a place on the team of the championship alongside his teammates Dupont and Penaud.”

Six Nations team of the championship 2023: 15. Hugo Keenan (Ireland); 14. Damian Penaud (France), 13. Huw Jones (Scotland), 12. Sione Tuipulotu (Scotland), 11. James Lowe (Ireland); 10, Johnny Sexton (Ireland), 9. Antoine Dupont (France); 1. Andrew Porter (Ireland), 2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland), 3. Finlay Bealham (Ireland), 4. Thibaud Flament (France), 5. James Ryan (Ireland), 6. Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), 7. Josh van der Flier (Ireland), 8. Caelan Doris (Ireland).

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