1 – Cian Healy (Ireland) In the absence of Alex Corbisiero, he is the best in the northern hemisphere. Excellent in the scrum and a massive ball carrying presence. Honourable mention to Italian standout Alberto de Marchi.
2 – Rory Best (Ireland) Rebounded from a terrible Lions tour to find his form once again for his country. Outstanding throwing and total command in the set pieces sets him apart.
3 – Mike Ross (Ireland) Feeling the heat from Martin Moore but still the best in the scrum by some distance. Put in plenty of hard work around the fringes as well.
4 – Joe Launchbury (England) Devin Toner had an impressive tournament but the English second row pairing was magnificent. The Wasps star is now an indispensible member of the pack with a massive work rate in the tight-loose.
5 – Courtney Lawes (England) The best lineout jumper on show and dynamic around the pitch. The perfect complement to Launchbury, their only weakness is in the scrum.
6 – Tom Wood (England) Tough call over Peter O’Mahony, with bonus points awarded for playing every game. A constant source of possession in the lineout and his usual high workrate in the tackle department.
7 – Chris Robshaw (England) Consistently excellent every game. Does all the little things right and contributes to every aspect from carrying to tackling to passing.
8 – Jamie Heaslip (Ireland) Never really had a massive game but was very good each time out. Unshackled from the captaincy and got back to leading by example.
9 – Danny Care (England) His speed of thought keeps opposing back rowers honest and his team always looks more threatening with him on the field. Even added a couple cheeky drop goals early on in the tournament.
10 – Jonny Sexton (Ireland) Could have justifiably gone to Owen Farrell, Sexton gets the nod for his clutch running and winning the tournament. Not at his best but did enough to win.
11 – Leonardo Sarto (Italy) Benefits from a relatively weak showing by George North. The most consistently dangerous left winger in the tournament also defended well.
12 – Billy Twelvetrees (England) Not a clear-cut winner but his final two performances have probably done just enough to warrant his selection. Defended well all tournament and is finally starting to live up to his class on offense.
13 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) A host of contenders here but there can be only one. His leadership undoubtedly contributed heavily to the championship victory. A step or two slower of foot than his heyday but still every bit a top competitor and deserves all the plaudits one last time.
14 – Yoann Huget (France) Andrew Trimble was surprisingly strong throughout but the irascible Frenchman was far and away the best winger on show. Pace, power, and total commitment make him a formidable opponent.
15 – Mike Brown (England) Lots of good fullbacks to choose from but this guy tops them all. The undeniable player of the tournament, it’s hard to remember if he made any mistakes. It seems unfathomable that he didn’t tour with the Lions.