A SIX NATIONS dream team compiled by the Daily Telegraph has named just one Irish player in the XV, despite Joe Schmidt’s men chasing a third successive title.
New captain Rory Best is the only Irishman among the selection, which was made by Mick Cleary, who has been the paper’s rugby correspondent for nearly 20 years.
The decision puts Ireland on par with Italy and Scotland, who each got just one selection, namely Sergio Parisse and Scottish scrum half Greig Laidlaw.
England has three representatives (Mike Brown, Anthony Watson and Joe Launchbury) while Wales players make up almost half of the team with seven selections.
Ireland begin their Six Nations campaign against the Welsh in Dublin on Sunday, February 7.
The Telegraph’s ‘best combined XV’:
Mike Brown (England), Anthony Watson (England), Wesley Fofana (France), Jamie Roberts (Wales), George North (Wales), Dan Biggar (Wales) , Greig Laidlaw (Scotland), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Rory Best (Ireland), Rabah Slimani (France), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Joe Launchbury (England), Dan Lydiate (Wales), Sam Warburton (Wales), Sergio Parisse (Italy).