Paul O’Connell wins Six Nations Player of the Tournament

Paul O'Connell

Paul O’Connell

Paul O’Connell has been voted the Player of the 2015 Six Nations Rugby Championship.

The Irish skipper won a public vote after leading his team to back-to-back titles, playing superbly all through the five matches and even scoring the opening try in the decisive win over Scotland last weekend.

Wales forward Alun-Wyn Jones was second, with Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw pipping Wales fly-half Dan Biggar for third place.

O'Connell becomes the first Irishman to gain the accolade since his current team-mate Tommy Bowe five years ago.

A shortlist of 12 players was decided through a combination of match statistics, analysing the best performing players across a set range of criteria and then followed by a public vote.

O'Connell, who won his 100th cap during the tournament, said: "I am delighted to receive the RBS player of the championship trophy.

"When you see the names that have gone before, you realise what a great honour it is. I am very grateful for all the supporters who voted for me."

A total of 70,448 votes were cast, with O'Connell gaining 18,842 of those.

Joseph O’Brien to ride over jumps on Sunday

Joseph O'Brien

Joseph O’Brien

Top flat jockey Joseph O’Brien will ride over jumps in Limerick on Sunday, missing the opening day of the Flat season at the Curragh.

The Ballydoyle horses at the Curragh will be ridden instead by Joseph's younger brother and sister, Donncha and Ana, and by top English pilot Ryan Moore.

The move will increase speculation that O'Brien will turn to mixing it with Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty over jumps sooner rather than later.

It is no secret that 21-year-old O'Brien struggles to keeping his growing body at the 9st limit that the best flat jockeys must maintain. He gave an interview last week in which he admitted that he would ride over jumps some day, but also spoke about really looking forward to riding some of his father's cracking three-year-old prospects later in the season.

All at Ballydoyle are well aware that double-Epsom Derby winner Joseph will not be able to ride for them for the next decade and have made repeated attempt to secure the services of Moore as their stable jockey. But he has refused to move his family to Ireland, as his children are all settled into their schools in England.