Six Nations Review 2012: Top 5 PUMA Athletes

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Last Saturday saw the culmination of a typically exciting Six Nations tournament which featured no less than 26 PUMA Rugby Athletes. But who were the best five and why?


1. Tommy Bowe

A hugely successful tournament for the likeable Irishman saw him come away with stats that read: played five scored five. However, the bare stats fail to explain the full story of a player who has developed a world-class instinct for being in the right place at the right time. His kick-chase try against France in Paris was a particularly masterful piece of finishing that perfectly showcased a player currently operating in his highly impressive prime. 

2. Wesley Fofana

Le Guépard terrified defences and consistently broke the gain line for Les Blues. Something of an unknown package before his dramatic debut against Italy he went on to score four tries in his first four games, breaking records as he went. Inexplicably moved out to the wing for the final game against Wales he still managed to put in a huge hit on Jonathan Davies that further emphasised his all-round game. Still only 24.

3. David Denton

In a disappointing tournament for the Scots, the emergence of several talented young players was one of the few high points of the campaign. Denton was definitely one of these and he announced his arrival with a hugely impressive Six Nations debut against England at Murrayfield where a number of devastating runs earned a Man-of-the-Match award. He subsequently went on to show glimpses of his burgeoning talent in the following four games and looks a real prospect for the future.

4. Donnacha Ryan

Substitute performances against Wales, Italy and France had hinted that the Irish powerhouse was ready to move from his place as bit-part squad member to being a key player. This was confirmed when brought in to start in place of the injured Paul O’Connell against Scotland. An imperious performance in which he stole frequent line-outs and bullied the Scots in the loose was followed by an equally solid display at Twickenham. Ryan has now well and truly cemented his place in the Irish second row.

5. Ian Evans 

The giant lock played every minute of Wales’s historic Grand Slam. Robust in defence, great support play in the loose and a superb technician in the set-piece. Evans brought stability to an area of the Welsh squad that could have proven an Achilles Heel following the citing of Bradley Davies and the late return from injury from Alan Wyn-Jones. Surely played himself into Lions contention for 2013.

Honourable mention must also go to PUMA Athlete Manu Tuilagi who scored arguably the try of the tournament against France with a scything and virtually unstoppable run into the corner from a midfield turnover.