IT’S BEEN AN interesting Six Nations this year, encompassing its fair share of heroes and villains. With that in mind, the lads from Whiff of Cordite have decided to pick out the stars of tournament, in addition to those who had a few weeks that they’ll want to forget.
Harry Houdini Award for Materialising out of Thin Air: Ben Morgan. Despite his four years at the Scarlets and numerous attempts by English chaps to persuade him to un-Welsh himself, Ben Morgan officially appeared on the London rugby hacks radar at the precise moment Stuart Lancaster named him in his squad. With the aid of all sorts of “Who is Ben Morgan?” pieces, the big-boned double man of the match made himself known to the Great British Public in style. Perhaps this “RaboDirect Pro12″ thing will catch on.
Simon Shaw Award for Rolling Back the Years: Julien Dupuy. Dupuy’s previous high point came when opposition players and fans mistook him for a starvation-rations version of Andy Goode inside the burger-feeding real version at Leicester. One move to pink and a dirty gouge later, Dupuy officially became a dickhead. How we laughed then when his comeback to the France jersey was so poor that people assumed it was a trick PSA was put up to by Biarritz folk irked by the prospect of being worse than Bayonne. Good riddance.
James Downey Award for Uncomplicated Centre Play: Brad Barritt. The favourite for this title was Dr Roberts, but after running into space against Italy, he was disqualified. Alberto Sgarbi and Gonzalo Canale showed a bit too much grá for passing the pill, Wesley Fofana too much neat footwork and Dorce too much puke, it came down to a straight fight between Oooooooohh Graeme Morrison and Ooooooooohh Brad Barritt. Barritt wins purely because of Morrison’s trash-talking against Ireland – he should have let his boshing do the talking.
Jonah Lomu Award for Try of the Tournament: Richie Gray. How can this not bring a smile to your face. The tallest and heaviest man on the pitch breaks through 2 tackles 40 metres out, accelerates, then throws an outrageous dummy to the best defensive full-back in the Six Nations and gases in. What a player.
WG Grace Award for Services to Initials: JJV Davies. It feels so good to use a player’s initials, like you are back in school. Programmes for Ireland still speak of Robert D.J. Kearney and Brian G. O’Driscoll. It feels proper, like a pipe and monocle, and appeals to our traditional side. Welshmen called Davies or Jones generally need this extra addendum to their names, but only Jon Davies gets to be cool as well. Or maybe he just wants to disassociate himself from the dross his namesake talks on BBC.
Stephen Jones Award for Balanced Coverage: John O’Sullivan. Gerry has made a determined pitch to be the most biased reporter in Ireland, sniffily calling England’s tries in Paris “lucky” (like Ireland’s weren’t), refusing to give any credit to Wales (the “best worst of a mediocre bunch”) for winning the Slam, and bitterly hoping Stuart Lancaster doesn’t get the England job (he’s “doing too good a job”). But his colleague in Tara Street gets this gong for a ludicrous interview with DJ Church. After Blind Dave charitably didn’t bin Healy for barging over Vincent Clerc, O’Sullivan took it upon himself to obliviate the prop for any blame in the incident. Encouraging Healy to say he didn’t mean it, O’Sullivan then helpfully pointed out it happened not because Healy was a prop and being a bollocks of a lazy runner, like props are sometimes; but because Francois Trinh-Duc’s pass to Clerc wasn’t good enough. Come. On.
(O’Sullivan gave a less-than-harsh assessment of an incident in which he was lucky to escape a sin-binning – INPHO/James Crombie)
Visual Aid of the Tournament: Gerry Thornley. We love this, we really do. Gerry’s time-out signal on 0:53. Genius.
The Cristian Dior Award for Services to Fashion: Jeremy Guscott. The magnificent purple scarf-cravat donned by Guscott pitch-side as England was that of a man who knows a thing or two about sartorial elegance. It brought to mind Bart Simpson’s comment as Homer was leaving the house in his white country suit and stetson: ‘As much as I hate that man right now, you just gotta love that [scarf].’
Tracey Piggott Award for Complete No Brainer: Will Warren Gatland be Lions Coach? Hmm, let’s see, his competitors won two games between them, Wazza won all five of his, his team are the best coached, selected and fittest of the bunch. He was a key man on the last tour and as a Kiwi, will be used to sticking it to the Aussies and getting under their skin. We think he might have a chance.
Cordite rose-smelling team of the series: Rob Kearney, Alex Cuthbert, JJV Davies, Wesley Fofana, George North, Owen Farrell, Mike Phillips, Alex Corbisiero, Rory Best, Dan Cole, Richie Gray, Ian Evans, Stephen Ferris, Chris Robshaw, Ben Morgan
Cordite stinking team of the series: Mike Brown, Sean Lamont, Aurelien Rougerie, Gordon D’Arcy, Max Evans, Tobias Botes, Tomas O’Leary, Allan Jacobsen, Dirty Biter Hartley, Tom Court, Donncha O’Callaghan, Tom Palmer, Phil Dowson, A/N Other x2
Gold Watches: Julien Bonnaire, William Servat, Donncha O’Callaghan, Gordon D’Arcy, Dan Parks, Lionel Nallet
See you next year: Danny Cipriani, Dominic Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Jean-Marcel Buttin, Tim Visser, James Ambrosini.
Do you agree with them?