Updated: Dec 18, 2020
As we look upon a weekend of exciting European club Rugby, it's now time to reflect on our favourite hits and scary bits from the ANC. If this is the only time we ever see this tournament, I'm glad it went out with a bang; even if it meant that most England fans had squeaky bums throughout the weekend. We've already given you our 'Team of the Tournament', but now we want to give you something a little more personalised... 'Worst Player', 'Best Player', 'Biggest OMG Moment', 'Best Match' and more... Let's dive right in!
Player of the Tournament - Tom Curry
Even though Brice Dulin got the official honour/accolade from the ANC themselves, I think fans across the globe were unanimous in their praise for Tom Curry throughout the full competition. He carried like a freight train, tackled like his life depended on it and was one of the few consistent performers who arguably could have been MOTM every game he played in. A few honourable mentions have to go to Maro Itoje, Brice Dulin and Caelin Doris who all had great tournaments too.
Worst Player of the Tournament - Rhys Carré
I know most Rugby fans hate negative sentiments, however I often think that's misinterpreted as moaning. A structured critique or a statistical overview of why someone hasn't played well is still very valid in this sport. Rhys Carré definitely shows a lot of promise at club level, and has been impressive in short bursts internationally, but this wasn't his time. His performance against Ireland was one of the worst in the competition, being dragged off early due to a complete battering at scrum time. He offered nothing with ball in hand, his work rate was dwarfed by his opposite number on several occasions and he just looked out of his depth. There are a couple of honourable mentions here too, including Owen Farrell, Henry Slade, Samson Lee and Maxime Mbanda.
Game of the Tournament - England 18 - 7 Ireland
We might come under a lot of flack for this one, especially with the final being so tense, competitive and evenly matched, but we felt the England vs Ireland game gave you everything. A 'Try of the Tournament' contender in Jonny May's solo effort, huge hits from Underhill, Vunipola, Curry and Healey, spirited physicality from Launchbury and Ryan, and a lineout masterclass by Maro Itoje. It was certainly a game of two halves, the first being dominated by England and the second being a brave and rejuvenated comeback from Ireland. Also it was one of the few games that wasn't shot to pieces by England yawn-inducing kicking game. Honourable mentions go to England vs France and Fiji vs Georgia.
Performance of the Tournament - Nemani Nadolo
We said he would be the one to watch going into this competition! However, it's just so frustrating that we only got to see him the one time, but boy did he deliver! In one game he equalled the tally for 'Top Try Scorers'... A beast with ball in hand and brick wall in defence, Nadolo is a special player; a Fijian Rugby legend. He took Georgia to pieces and they just couldn't handle his relentless physicality and abnormal size. Honourable mentions have to go to Tom Curry (vs France), Jalibert (vs England) and Itoje (vs Wales).
Biggest 'OMG' Moment - Owen Farrell Misses in Extra Time
We could have been mega-positive and pick that amazing Jonny May try or the Georgian solo effort that was the official 'Try of the Tournament', but screw it, Owen Farrell missing a kick bang in front of the posts in sudden death extra time nearly gave me a stroke... Being in a room full of family who had to bear witness to three missed kicks in normal time just put the cherry on the cake for me. We feel bad for big Faz' because it's a huge achievement reaching that big 1000 mark, but gosh did he make it hard for himself! When the ball rebounded off of the posts, the nation came together to shout 'Oh my God' at their screens, THATS WHY this is our 'Biggest OMG Moment'.
The 'Eddie Jones' Award for S***housery - Eddie Jones (for dropping Jack Willis TWICE)
Look I love Underhill and Curry, I think Earl is great off of the bench too, but dropping Jack Willis after he scored, made two turnovers and tackled so well against Georgia was an absolute shocker. Not just that, later in the tournament after England had just put in a sorry performance against a weak Welsh side, they call him up (we think to provide England with a better presence at the breakdown) just to drop him AGAIN! If I was Lee Blackett at Wasps, I would be absolutely fuming. With the exception of Launchbury, your two best players in Willis and Robson have spent 5 weeks out, missing the pre season and first three matches of the new season just to play an accumulated overall time of LESS than 80 minutes internationally... I'd be spitting! Willis is a young guy playing in a position of which England have immense depth, but like the Simmonds brothers, like Marcus Smith, like Maunder, Randall, Spencer and Robson, he can barely get a look in, and what does Eddie Jones have to say for himself? Well not a lot really, he recalled Ludlam to the team, dropped him again and then just blew off the idea of having a forwards dominated split on the bench; excellent s***housery.
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