The 12 man shortlist for the Six Nations player of the tournament has been announced with the competition looking tighter than ever…

Five of the countries have players on the shortlist with back-to-back champions Ireland and runners-up England combining to make up seven of the nominees.

For the men in green skipper Paul O’Connell is joined on the list by scrum-half Conor Murray and centre Robbie Henshaw.

England have emerging stars George Ford and Jonathan Joseph – who also finished as the tournament’s top try scorer – joined by Billy Vunipola and Ben Youngs.

Wales and Scotland have two nominees each, Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones for the former and Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg for the latter.

And last but by no means least, Italy have one sole representative on the list, captain and talisman Sergio Parisse.

How the selection was made:

Throughout the 2015 RBS 6 Nations each player has been awarded (or deducted) points based on statistical performance across different action categories that cover all aspects of the game.

To ensure fairness, the RBS 6 Nations analysts have weighted the importance of different actions depending on different positions. These categories have been collated to give each player an overall performance score.

The top scoring players are listed below in alphabetical order.

  • Biggar, Dan (WAL)
  • Ford, George (ENG)
  • Gray, Jonny (SCO)
  • Henshaw, Robbie (IRE)
  • Hogg, Stuart (SCO)
  • Jones, Alun Wyn (WAL)
  • Joseph, Jonathan (ENG)
  • Murray, Conor (IRE)
  • O’Connell, Paul (IRE)
  • Parisse, Sergio (ITA)
  • Vunipola, Billy (ENG)
  • Youngs, Ben (ENG)

You can vote for your player of the tournament here.