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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
D'Arcy tops Six Nations poll
Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy celebrates victory over Scotland
D'Arcy celebrates victory over Scotland
Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy has capped a sensational season by being voted RBS Six Nations Player of the Championship.

Following a five-star contribution to Ireland's first Triple Crown since 1985, D'Arcy was the runaway winner of the poll, run by the BBC Sport website.

He collected half of the 12,000 votes, four times as many as team-mate Paul O'Connell, who finished second.

England wing Ben Cohen pipped Wales full-back Gareth Thomas for third, with France flanker Serge Betsen fifth.

D'Arcy admitted he was surprised to receive the award, despite his current form.

RBS/BBC PLAYER POLL
1 Gordon D'Arcy (Ireland) 50%
2 Paul O'Connell (Ireland) 13%
3 Ben Cohen (England) 9%
4 Gareth Thomas (Wales) 8%
5 Serge Betsen (France) 6%
Others: 14%

"It was definitely not expected - kind of a bolt from the blue," he told BBC Sport.

"It's flattering to win this award by such a large margin. What can I say? It's been a dream, this last couple of months.

"Since Christmas everything seems to have gone right, so to win something like this is the icing on the cake.

"Having played for Ireland before and not really made any impact, I know I have to work even harder now to stay where I am.

"I won't be drifting off into obscurity this time."

The centre insisted he would not be distracted by talk of him making next year's Lions tour to New Zealand.

"The challenge for me now is to make sure the next time I play an international I stay at the standard I've set.

"Six months is a huge amount of time in rugby.

"Six months ago I didn't make the World Cup squad, so I wouldn't be so na´ve to look that far into the future about the Lions. But fingers crossed."




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Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy
"Since Christmas everything seems to have gone right for me"



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