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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 07:08 GMT
Team of the 2005 RBS Six Nations
By James Standley

After waiting for a generation Wales fans were finally able to celebrate a Grand Slam as the Dragons turned out to be the stars of the 2005 Six Nations.

As expected their backs dazzled but the biggest surprise was the performance of the Welsh forwards, who had been written off as too lightweight to compete with the big boys.

As a result the Welsh dominate our team of the tournament, although there are also three English players, one Scot, one Frenchman and two Irish players.

The French may consider themselves unlucky as they finished as runners-up, but many of their players found themselves just edged out by outstanding performances from the men who made our selection.

15 CHRIS PATERSON

The Scotland full-back would have flourished had he been playing for Wales, but still excelled in a poor team. Gareth Thomas, Kevin Morgan and Julien Laharrague played well but Paterson edges it.

14 JOSH LEWSEY

The Wasps winger has become England's most consistent performer behind the scrum. He ran with pace and power every time he had the ball and tackled his heart out as well.

13 BRIAN O'DRISCOLL

Many of the Irish disappointed but O'Driscoll could have done little more, scoring a fine try against England and an even better one to nearly drag them back into it against France.

12 GAVIN HENSON

His nerveless penalty against England set the Welsh on their way, and his kicking and tackling when required were prodigious. Damien Traille had his moments but Henson stands out.

11 SHANE WILLIAMS

His willingness and ability to attack from deep played a major part in Wales' sparkling displays. His lack of size saw him occasionally struggle in defence, but going forward he was a joy to behold.

10 STEPHEN JONES

With the benefit of some good ball from the improved Welsh pack, the France-based fly-half showed he could both control a game and get the dangerous Welsh backs moving.

9 DWAYNE PEEL

He grew with every game and was integral to the Welsh displays. His passing was fast and accurate and he was a constant threat with the ball in hand, which is why he edges out Dimitri Yachvili.

1 GETHIN JENKINS

The Wales loose-head turned in some immense displays. He not only carried the ball with real intent but, more importantly, was a real menace to the opposition in the scrums.

2 MEFIN DAVIES

The Welsh front row surprised everyone this season by providing a solid platform and the nuggety Davies played a major role. Steve Thompson and Sebastien Bruno will also have their backers.

3 MATT STEVENS

There were doubts when the young prop was picked by England but he quickly dispelled them with fine ball carrying and solid scrummaging to edge out Nicolas Mas and Adam Jones.

4 MALCOLM O'KELLY

The veteran lock became the most-capped player in Irish history and was the one Ireland forward to enhance his reputation. Fabien Pelous was again a big presence for France.

5 BRENT COCKBAIN

The big Australian-born second row confirmed his status as the hard-man of the Wales pack. Marco Bortolami made a bid for stardom, while Paul O'Connell had his moments.

6 SERGE BETSEN

The Biarritz flanker was once again a mighty presence in a heavily-revamped French back row. The big-hitting Jason White impressed for Scotland but missed games through injury.

7 MARTYN WILLIAMS

Handed his chance by Colin Charvis' injury, Williams went on to become player of the tournament with some hugely intelligent and committed displays, edging out French youngster Yannick Nyanga.

8 MARTIN CORRY

Few English players enhanced their reputations but Corry was outstanding throughout and ended as England captain. Michael Owen starred in a Wales pack which confounded expectations.



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