Wales’ Lydiate named player of Six Nations

Lydiate said in a statement today, “I am genuinely chuffed to bits.” — Reuters picLydiate said in a statement today, “I am genuinely chuffed to bits.” — Reuters picCARDIFF, March 21 — Wales flanker Dan Lydiate has been named the Six Nations’ player of the tournament to round off a wonderful championship for Warren Gatland’s team who last Saturday secured their third grand slam in eight years.

More than 30,000 public votes were registered, almost double that of last year, as Lydiate triumphed from a 12-man shortlist that included three of his Wales teammates.

Lydiate collected more than 25 per cent of the vote, while Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton was second with 12 per cent and Italy captain Sergio Parisse third, with 11.6.

Lydiate was man of the match in the wins over Scotland and France, where his crunching tackles and huge appetite for work from the blindside position have turned him into a real crowd favourite.

“I am really surprised to be honest. I am genuinely chuffed to bits,” Lydiate said in a statement today.

“It tops off an amazing competition for me and for Wales. To be part of such a talented Wales team and win the grand slam in Cardiff on Saturday was incredible in itself but to then be voted Player of the Championship is absolutely unbelievable.

“It is a massive honour to win, especially given the quality of the other players up for the award.”

The player of the championship award shortlist was compiled from the man of the match winners, awarded by the host broadcasters for the first four weekends.

England, who finished second in the championship and won four of their five games, did not have a single player on the shortlist. — Reuters