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6 stars of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations

The 2016 RBS 6 Nations concluded on Saturday with England claiming a first Grand Slam since 2003.

Here Press Association Sport's Andy Newport takes a look at the six men who have stood out during this year's Championship:


England's wrecking-ball number eight was arguably the brightest star of the tournament. Man of the match in the Red Rose's victories over Scotland and Ireland and fantastic against the French, he played a pivotal role in their march to the Grand Slam with his destructive surges. The Saracens man has also set records for the number of carries and defenders beaten and currently looks a strong bet to start for the British and Irish Lions Test team when they head to New Zealand next year.

MARO ITOJE (England)

Another Saracens man who has made an impressive impact for Eddie Jones' Championship-winning side. The fact Itoje sat out England's opening weekend win over Scotland and was given only the final 26 minutes of their match with Italy on his debut yet still makes the list gives an indication of just how stirring his performances were in the wins over Ireland, Wales and France. Warren Gatland's Wales in particular found it impossible to shake off the 6ft 5in lock as he tackled everything in sight.


The former England skipper looked a spent force after leading an England team that suffered pool stage humiliation at last autumn's World Cup. But credit must go to Jones for sticking by the Harlequins flanker, even if he did strip him of the captaincy. Switching the 29-year-old from blindside to openside has taken much of the pressure off his shoulders also, and he has responded to the criticism which flew his way after that controversial late line-out call against Wales during England 2015 by performing with poise and consistency.

STUART HOGG (Scotland)

The Scotland full-back has always been his country's most dangerous weapon when cut loose, but this year he has shown an extra creative dimension. His back-of-the-arm assist for Tommy Seymour in Rome and the overhead flick that teed up Tim Visser against France are the two shining examples, while he also dived over to get Scotland motoring against France and produced a stunning solo break his try against the Irish in Dublin. Looks like it is a three-way fight between the Glasgow man, England's Mike Brown and Leigh Halfpenny for the Lions number 15 shirt.


Some pundits feared the Wales flyer's wings had been clipped by a series of lay-offs caused by his concussion problems. But he roared back in stunning fashion against Scotland as he danced past a series of tackles to score, while his redemption was complete with further touchdown successes against France, England and Italy to leave him the competition's top scorer on four tries.Wales lost out on the title to England, but it was all in spite of the Northampton man's best efforts.


Les Bleus are embarking on another transformation job under Guy Noves following the mortifying end to Philippe Saint-Andre's reign at the World Cup. Toulon hooker Guirado has been given the task of holding together the fragile spirit in the French camp, and while his side have hardly sparkled, he has at least led by example. Named man of the match against Ireland and a try scorer versus both Wales and Scotland, his leadership will be vital if France are to continue down the road towards former glories.


From Belfast Telegraph