<
>

ESPN Six Nations Awards 2018

play
ESPN Fantasy Rugby: Team of the Tournament (1:31)

After Ireland completed the Grand Slam with victory over England to conclude the Six Nations, find out who the top scoring players were throughout the tournament. (1:31)

The dust has settled on another thrilling Six Nations but just as Irish heads begin to clear, there is yet more silverware to distribute.

Celebrating the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the past six weeks, ESPN presents to your our 2018 Six Nations Awards.

Player of the tournament

Johnny Sexton. The Leinster fly-half did not have his most accurate championship from the kicking tee but his contribution to the Ireland Grand Slam cannot be questioned. It was Sexton who stepped up when it mattered most, maintaining his ice-cool concentrate to slot the late drop goal in Paris on Feb. 2 that made what followed possible. His was the calm hand on the tiller that eased Ireland's passage past Wales, Scotland and England, and onto the clean sweep.

Runner-up: Jacob Stockdale was electric in his first championship as he racked up tries and records. Notable mentions to his wing partner, Keith Earls, France's Guilhem Guirado and Wales' Aaron Shingler.

Breakthrough player

The winner has to come from the inexperienced Ireland trio of Jacob Stockdale, Dan Leavy or James Ryan. Leavy already had Six Nations experience from last year but made a real dent in this championship while Ryan has five Test caps and five wins, not a bad introduction to life in the top tier. But it has to go to Stockdale. The young wing notched seven tries in his five matches and looks like he could be a dominant force for years to come.

Runner-up: It could be any of Ireland's bright young things. Notable mentions also go to Italy's Matteo Minozzi and Wales' Hadleigh Parkes. -- Tom Hamilton

Match of the tournament

Ireland's win over Wales takes some beating as two heavyweights landed blow after blow on each other, with Joe Schmidt's team coming out on top. Wales bossed the breakdown, Ireland dominated possession -- it was a fascinating insight into the minds of both Warren Gatland and Schmidt. Expect more from this rivalry ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Runner-up: Scotland's win over Italy, as Gregor Townsend's team showed character against an improving Azzurri outfit. -- TH

Try of the tournament

Huw Jones: Having cut through Owen Farrell and Nathan Hughes as if the pair weren't there, Jones then cast off the challenge of Mike Brown and Anthony Watson to put Scotland within touching distance of a famous win over England -- and scoop the ESPN try of the tournament.

Runner-up: Team try of the championship goes to Scotland with Sean Maitland finishing a superb move against England. -- Cillian O Conchuir

Moment of the tournament

If Sexton was the player of the championship then his stunning drop goal in Paris must have been its moment. This was a real team effort as Ireland's forwards, marshalled superbly by Conor Murray, punched their way into French territory, Iain Henderson and CJ Stander making vital yards at the end of a 41-phase move to give their fly-half ample time and space. But Sexton's contribution was not confined to the final act. Earlier in the move he had added impetus to the attack as he attempted a risky crossfield kick that fell perfectly for Keith Earls. If ever there was an omen of things to come, this was it.

Runner-up: Peter O'Mahony is a popular player with both Munster and Ireland, and he showed why as he donated his Six Nations winner's medal to young fan, Jennifer Malone. -- MT

Social moment

The timing of the Eddie Jones YouTube clip being released was impeccable from an Irish point of view, taking some pressure off in a Grand Slam week.

Runner-up: Daniel Craig in the England changing room after their win over Italy. -- COC

TMO call

The decision to chalk off Gareth Anscombe's 'try' for Wales against England was crucial. Line drawn under it, though, time to move on. That was until World Rugby admitted TMO Glenn Newman was wrong and the five-pointer should have been awarded. Cue outcry from west of the Severn Bridge.

Runner-up: Liam Williams. Was it a yellow or was it red? Jerome Garces chose yellow and Wales breathed a sigh of relief. -- COC

Scrap

England travelled to Edinburgh followed by an air of near-invincibility but would return home looking a broken team. The tone was set early on as a fracas broke out in the tunnel as the two sides trotted back to the changing rooms following their respective warm-ups. We may never know what provoked Owen Farrell to barge his way towards the trouble. But provoked by Ryan Wilson or not, the incident rattled England and they have so far been unable to recover.

Runner-up: Not a scrap due to the calm way with which Eddie Jones dealt with it, but few right-minded people would have begrudged the England coach rising to the bait of the disgraceful fans who abused on his two train journeys home from Edinburgh. -- MT