Ireland Legend Selects His Greatest Six Nations XV Of All-Time

The best of the best.

When we had a go at picking our greatest Six Nations XV of the professional era – Tommy Bowe was one of the very first names on our team sheet.

But who would they Ireland legend select in his XV? Well, now we know thanks to an excellent series the Six Nations are running on their site looking back at the last 20 years of rugby’s greatest championship.

No fewer than four Irishmen make Bowe’s selection with Brian O’Driscoll, Cian Healy, Keith Wood and Paul O’Connell all making his selection.

There’s also a heavy Welsh feel to his squad, probably because of Bowe’s hugely successful spell with Ospreys where he played alongside some of the best players, Wales has produced over the years.

Tommy Bowe’s Greatest Six Nations XV

15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)
“What he’s done for the Scotland team has been incredible – any time he has the ball he’s such an attacking threat, and he’s such a confident player who we’re still yet to see the best of.”

14. Cédric Heymans (France)
“I once received a zero out of ten rating for a game against France in the Championship when Cédric made an absolute fool out of me, so I always dreaded coming up against him.”

13. Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
“He was a warrior, he got stuck in and led from the front, so his inclusion is surely a unanimous one among all players.”

12. Yannick Jauzion (France)
“He could both crash the ball and get over the gain line but equally throw a 20 or 30 metre pass, so I used to fear coming up against him.”

11. Shane Williams (Wales)
“He was the one winger I used to hate coming up against, as he was just so nimble on his feet – you couldn’t defend him in a one-on-one situation, as he’d just make a fool out of you.”

10. Jonny Wilkinson (England)
“Johnny Sexton, Owen Farrell and Ronan O’Gara are all incredible players who pull the strings, but Jonny set the standard in the position he played.”

9. Mike Phillips (Wales)
“He changed the mould as a scrum-half – he wasn’t a small, sniping No. 9 but was abrasive like a back-rower, and was somebody who always made Ireland’s matches very difficult!”

1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
“I’ve put Cian in because of his longevity – he’s sustained such an impressive level of performance.”

2. Keith Wood (Ireland)
“For me being a young Ireland player coming through the ranks, he was somebody who was an inspiration to the people of the country.”

3. Adam Jones (Wales)
“Kyle Sinckler and Tadhg Furlong are the new-age style of prop, but Adam was that rock in the front row.”

4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland)
“Paul is one of the best leaders I’ve ever worked with, particularly in that British & Irish Lions Tour of 2009 which was just incredible.”

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
“I’ve gone for Alun Wyn because of his longevity, and he’s probably the most skilful of the second rows I’ve come across.”

6. Richard Hill (England)
“Richard was a bit ahead of my time, but growing up watching every Championship match and looking at the No.6s, he was a stalwart of English rugby.”

7. Thierry Dusautoir (France)
“Thierry was a leader who could play pretty much all around the back row, and was a menace at the breakdown.”

8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)
“What Sergio’s done for Italian rugby is amazing – he’s an incredible player but also a leader, who has tried almost single-handedly at times to take his country’s rugby to a new level.”

You can check out some more greatest Six Nations XVs from some of the game’s biggest legends below.

Greatest Six Nations XVs

Mark Cueto

Andrea Masi

David Flatman and Tom Shanklin

Mike Phillips

Jamie Heaslip

Tim Visser

Lee Byrne

Kenny Logan