It’s all been a bit serious around here lately, what with all the predictions, analysis and an actual, legitimate interview. Time, we’re sure you’ll agree, to lower the tone. Yes, the pundit hats are being hung up for a short while as we shamelessly celebrate the fine forms, good looks and down right rawr of our favourite Six Nations boys. Alongside an anonymous panel of Manpilers, we have made our selections. This isn’t about fairly representing each squad, nor who has the best chance of taking home the silverware. This, our dear readers, is our Scrummy XV.
“There is no such thing as a hot loosehead prop,” came the bold claim from one panel member. Before anyone jumped up to counter this argument, the majority realised that they agreed. Several minutes of head scratching later, a lone voice with a serious weakness for front row forwards took a stand and nominated Cian Healy with the proviso it’s “without the shaved head and gypsy mo”. As no one else had a preference, our loosehead was named. A last minute shout out goes to Alex Corbiserio, who’s Italian heritage put him at a definite advantage in what was always in danger of becoming a distinctly continental line up…
Again, our unofficial doyenne of the front row was adamant that there was only one man for the job and that man was Dylan Hartley. Needless to say, said doyenne is in no way affiliated with Warren Gatland. Few will be surprised to hear that the rest of the judges weren’t so easily convinced and The World’s Prettiest Hooker, Dimitri Szarzewski was swiftly selected after a majority vote. Because he’s worth it.
Things got a little easier here as several votes went one way. Sure, we were anxious to get to the squabbling over all those pretty backs, but one voter’s weakness for a certain type of man coupled with another’s claim that “Every team needs at least one cave man” meant that, regardless of the first shout out for Wales with Ryan Bevington, this had to go to Martin Castrogiovanni. Wild hair, wild beard; Castro is classic prop.
Ah, locks. The Achilles Heel of three quarters of the Manpilez ladies. We knew there was a risk of all out war with this, so thank goodness there were some definite preferences across the board. Our second Irish boy was brought on board at 4 with the inclusion of prankster extraordinaire, our very own Duck Wrangler, Mr Donncha O’Callaghan. The thighs, the eyes, the mischevious grin; we just can’t resist that Donners charm.
The startling inevitability of our number 5 meant that his name was already bolded on the original list of suggestions that circulated. It seems only right that the first of our Welsh boys should be one whose gwlads are always just those few decibels louder, whose pride is just that little bit more fierce and whose pretty blonde curls make all the girlies swoon. Yeah, you know it. We’re all a-flutter for Alun Wyn Jones. Locky love also went out to our favourite giants Simon Shaw, Richie Gray, Nathan Hines and Jerome Thion. Difficult choices!
After the locks, it’s the lovely fierce flankers that we turn to and where the props left us struggling, we were spoiled for choice here. Because we are very dedicated to our perving, some (flimsy) ground rules were put in place which meant that nominations for injured players were null and void. Thus, the very topical Tom Croft didn’t win a place in our XV. Rather it was a pair of Killer Bs, Johnnie Beattie and John Barclay, who beat off the competition in the shape of Alessandro Zanni, Tom Wood and David Wallace to join our back row.
Another controversial position, this became a clear Wales v Italy showdown. No amount of insistence and pouting could put Ryan Jones at Eight, however. This one was crafted for the returning wonder that is Sergio Parisse. Hair loss be damned, The Big Man still cuts a fine figure on and off the pitch and the weeping during the anthem is the kind of thing that turns a girl weak at the knees. It’s not just us ladies, either – did you see the BBC’s ode prior to the Italy v Ireland game? It seems no one can resist a bit of a Sergio swoon.
It’s tempting, when asked to compile the ultimate hot squad, to simply respond with “France”. However, Chabal may not be to everyone’s taste (you fools) and we already have our cave man. Regardless, there were just too many delicious Bleus to not let the bias shine through at some point. To that end, there was a unanimous demand for the pretty, pocket sized powerhouse that is Morgan Parra to take the glamour role of scrum half. The logical conclusion was to appoint the stunning Francois Trinh-Duc as his partner, just the way the gods of the stadium intended.
And if we’re not talking France, let’s talk Italy. There is a Manpilez lady to staunchly defend both teams, but the Italian camp didn’t have to try too hard to ensure this went to Mirco Bergamasco. Representing both brothers this year, Bergamasco the Younger may have toned down the peroxide and gone all manly with a beard, but he is by no means less gorgeous. Countless comparisons to classical Italian sculpture aside, there’s no doubt that the crestfallen Mirco we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks has pulled at the heartstrings. Come here, Mimi. We’ll give you a hug.
After all that ooh la la and ciao, bello, the Celts fought back with full force to claim their places at 12 and 13. This is where it got pernickety, with literally less than tens of emails being fired back and forth to the effect of “But x is technically a wing,” and “Yes, but y is being played at centre” and “Ooh, z! Did you see that one photo where…”
Feet were put down and eventually, two were named. First up, our favourite Big Doc, Jamie Roberts. No one seemed to really be able to place what it is about Jamie that gets the eyebrow arching in approval. It might be the general massiveness of him, or that endearingly soft voice. Whatever it is, he wears that jaw well.
There are some that might argue that there’s only one number 13 and those people will probably be wearing green. As it is, the allure of Brian O’Driscoll transcended nationality and with his dual weapons of handsomeness and heroics, there was no way he wasn’t making the final cut.
On the bench: Gonzalo Canale and Gordon D’arcy.
Much like his counterpart on the left wing, this boy is one half of a pair of beautiful brothers with a penchant for getting their kit off in a series of increasingly jaw droppingly suggestive photographs. If you haven’t guessed it by now, you haven’t been paying nearly enough attention to your lessons at Uncle Gigi’s School of Rugby Filth. It’s Max Evans. Google “Dieux du Stade 2010” but, for the love of God, don’t hold us responsible for the results. The acronym “NSFW” was probably invented for Max and his brother Thom.
This one was the wild card, with no clear front runner to begin with. It’s only in hindsight that the similarities between the three shortlisted players becomes apparent…
It was ultimately the refusal of one panel member to make any choices beyond fly half (“I don’t do backs”), that meant Luke McLean was the victor. Yet again, those Italian genes have given an undeniable edge and coupled with that lazy Aussie grin, Luke is a delicious combination of cute and fierce, even when he is the beardiest of the brunettes with his Grizzly Adams look. We’ll be sure to supply plenty of razors with that Scrummy XV shirt.
With that much hard work choosing from just six squads, we’d better start shortlisting for the World Cup Scrummy XV now…
With thanks to our panel of voters
Words by Anna