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6 Nations: Best Players & Moments of 2018

Following on from naming our team of the tournament, we pick out the best of the rest. 

 
Team of the Tournament - see here for more details & who just missed out. 
15 Jessy Tremouliere (France), 14 Caroline Boujard (France), 13 Ellie Kildunne (England), 12 Jade le Pesq (France) , 11 Danielle Waterman (England) , 10 Katy Daley-McLean (England), 9 Pauline Bourdon (France), 1 Caryl Thomas (Wales) , 2 Agathe Sochat (France), 3 Sarah Bern (England), 4 Safi N’Diaye (France), 5 Poppy Cleall (England), 6 Giada Franco (Italy) , 7 Claire Molloy (Ireland), 8 Gaelle Hermet (France)

Player of the Tournament:  Jessy Tremouliere (France)
Tremouliere, a talented footballer,  switched to rugby aged 16 when she accompanied a friend to a trial. Her talent was spotted quickly, and she made her French debut only three years later.  Some disagreements with then-French coach Christian Gallonier, who wanted to turn her into a 10,  as well as competition for her preferred 15 shirt from Caroline Ladagnous, kept her on the edge of the French team, despite her reliable kicking, something that France had lacked since the retirement of Sandrine Agricole. Management changes and the late conversion of France to sevens finally gave her opportunities and knowledge that she is finally the first choice to the starting team has boosted her confidence. Her kicking, a legacy of her football days, has in this tournament been exceptional. Finally the potential that first became evident a decade ago is being given full rein. This was Tremouiere's Grand Slam."
 
Best 6 Nations Newcomer - Ellie Kildunne (England)
At just 18 years old, Kildunne is a phenom, with an ability to play in a number of positions across the backline and an innate attacking instinct that has seen her compared to Emily Scarratt. She has the fortune of playing outside a wonderful passing 10 and 12 in Katy Daley-Mclean and Rachael Burford so it would be interesting to see her play more under pressure for space. Nonethless, she is a huge talent and has lit up the tournament. Also worth a mention here are Giada Franco, who has exploded into life for Italy having made her debut off the bench. Jess Kavanagh-Williams who will be a mainstay for Wales on the wing from here on in and French winger Cyrelle Banet who has also taken all her chances and more. 
 
Young Player of the tournament - Gaelle Hermet
It is almsot impossible to believe that the French captain is only 21 years old. Replacing Gaelle Mignot was never going to be easy- the former French captain had become a totem and the heart of French passion and drive. But Hermet has done it her own way and led her team into a Grand Slam at the first attempt. Add to her leadership, her wonderful running and defensive abilities, and she is the all round package. 
Other young players who have impressed include Wales backrow Alisha Butchers and of course Kildunne. 
 
Frustration of the Tournament  - Scheduling
We have long rallied against the scheduling of simultaneous games in this competition, something which denies fans and media a chance to watch and cover all of the games live. The final round of games took the biscuit with England kicking off at a ridiculous 5.30pm, and Wales and France playing just 30 minutes later. The fact that England attracted such a good crowd at such an unappetising time must surely be a lesson to the RFU that it is worth copying the French model of taking test games around the country, to venues that are supportive and will help market matches. Aside from that, please 6 Nations, no more clashing matches. 
 
Highlight off the pitch - the crowds 
Not only did France attract a world record crowd for their clash with England with more than 17,000 turning out; but crowds have been up elsehwere too. England attracted over 6,000 to Coventry for their game against Ireland, comfortably beating anything they've drawn at the Twickenham Stoop while crowds were also up in Scotland and Wales. We have long argued that the demand from fans in the women's game is for test 15s and the women's 6 Nations, following on from the World Cup, is proving it. Better venue choices and better scheduling will only help.