The All-Time Best Six Nations Team: A Starting XV of Legends

The Six Nations Championship, a prestigious rugby competition featuring England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales, has witnessed some of the finest players in the history of the sport. Selecting an all-time best team from such a storied competition is no easy task, but here’s a look at a starting XV that comprises the best players ever to grace the Six Nations stage.

1. Loosehead Prop: Gethin Jenkins (Wales)

Gethin Jenkins is widely regarded as one of the greatest props in rugby history. His combination of scrummaging power, mobility, and defensive prowess set him apart. Jenkins earned over 100 caps for Wales and played a crucial role in three Grand Slam-winning teams (2005, 2008, 2012).

2. Hooker: Keith Wood (Ireland)

Keith Wood, known as “The Raging Potato,” was a dynamic and inspirational hooker. His ball-carrying ability, leadership, and knack for scoring crucial tries made him a standout player. Wood was named World Rugby Player of the Year in 2001 and was instrumental in Ireland’s resurgence in the early 2000s.

3. Tighthead Prop: Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)

Martin Castrogiovanni was a cornerstone of the Italian pack for over a decade. Renowned for his scrummaging strength and relentless work rate, Castrogiovanni was a key figure in Italy’s development in the Six Nations, earning 119 caps over his career.

4. Lock: Martin Johnson (England)

Martin Johnson, a towering presence in the second row, captained England to Grand Slam victories in 1995 and 2003, as well as the World Cup in 2003. His leadership, physicality, and lineout skills made him one of the most formidable locks in rugby history.

5. Lock: Paul O’Connell (Ireland)

Paul O’Connell was a linchpin of the Irish pack for over a decade. His commanding presence in the lineout, aggressive tackling, and leadership qualities were instrumental in Ireland’s Six Nations successes, including their Grand Slam win in 2009.

6. Blindside Flanker: Richard Hill (England)

Richard Hill was the unsung hero of England’s back row during their successful period in the early 2000s. Known for his tireless work rate, defensive solidity, and ability to disrupt opposition play, Hill was a key player in England’s Grand Slam and World Cup victories in 2003.

7. Openside Flanker: Thierry Dusautoir (France)

Thierry Dusautoir was a relentless force for France, known for his defensive prowess and leadership. His standout performances in the Six Nations and his ability to deliver in crucial moments made him one of the best flankers of his generation.

8. Number Eight: Sergio Parisse (Italy)

Sergio Parisse is arguably Italy’s greatest ever player. His exceptional skills, leadership, and consistency over nearly two decades have earned him admiration worldwide. Parisse’s ability to perform at the highest level, even when Italy struggled, sets him apart.

9. Scrum-Half: Gareth Edwards (Wales)

Gareth Edwards is often cited as one of the greatest rugby players of all time. His speed, vision, and game management were unparalleled. Edwards played a key role in Wales’ dominance in the 1970s, winning multiple Five Nations titles, including three Grand Slams.

10. Fly-Half: Jonny Wilkinson (England)

Jonny Wilkinson is synonymous with precision and composure under pressure. His kicking accuracy, tactical awareness, and defensive strength were pivotal in England’s Six Nations triumphs and their 2003 World Cup victory. Wilkinson remains one of the most celebrated fly-halves in rugby history.

11. Left Wing: Shane Williams (Wales)

Shane Williams was a dazzling winger known for his speed, agility, and try-scoring ability. As Wales’ all-time leading try-scorer, Williams played a crucial role in their Six Nations successes, including Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008.

12. Inside Centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Brian O’Driscoll, a legendary centre, is Ireland’s most capped player and one of the top try-scorers in Six Nations history. His exceptional skills, vision, and leadership were instrumental in Ireland’s Grand Slam victory in 2009 and multiple Six Nations titles.

13. Outside Centre: Jeremy Guscott (England)

Jeremy Guscott was a stylish and graceful centre, known for his speed, intelligence, and scoring ability. Guscott played a key role in England’s Grand Slam victories in the 1990s and was a standout player throughout his international career.

14. Right Wing: Rory Underwood (England)

Rory Underwood is England’s leading try-scorer and one of the most prolific wingers in rugby history. His pace, finishing ability, and consistency made him a key figure in England’s backline during the 1980s and 1990s.

15. Fullback: Serge Blanco (France)

Serge Blanco, a flamboyant and dynamic fullback, was known for his attacking flair and ability to create something out of nothing. Blanco’s contributions were pivotal in France’s Five Nations successes in the 1980s, and he remains one of the greatest fullbacks the game has ever seen.


Assembling an all-time best Six Nations team is a challenging task given the wealth of talent that has graced the competition. The players selected for this starting XV have left an indelible mark on rugby history through their exceptional skills, leadership, and memorable performances. This team, spanning different eras and nations, represents the very best of the Six Nations and the timeless appeal of this storied tournament.

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