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O'Connell thrilled with Player of Six Nations title

By David Kelly

Tributes from throughout the rugby world were flooding in last night as Ireland captain Paul O'Connell was crowned RBS Six Nations Player of the Championship.

In the wake of his astounding leadership as Joe Schmidt's side claimed back-to-back titles, the second-row deservedly carried off the title after concluding the campaign with a brace of astonishing individual displays.

"I'm delighted to receive the RBS Player of the Championship Trophy," said O'Connell, who will parade his award at half-time in this evening's PRO12 game between Munster and Connacht.

"When you see the names that have gone before, you realise what a great honour it is. I'm very grateful for all the supporters who voted for me."

Securing over 26 per cent of the public vote, O'Connell, the opening try-scorer in the record-equalling away win against Scotland in Murrayfield last week, received the backing of 18,842 fans.

This shortlist is decided through a combination of match statistics, analysing the best performing players across a set range of criteria, and a public vote.

The combination of the two processes is designed to ensure the 12-man shortlist is a true reflection of the greatest players throughout the Championship.

Wales' Alun-Wyn Jones came in second with 19 per cent of the vote.

The race for third place was a hotly contested affair with just 0.9 per cent of the votes separating Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw (third with 7,750 votes) and Wales' Dan Biggar (fourth with 7,681 votes).

Belfast Telegraph

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