Six Nations Stats – Week 1
With England on a 15-game unbeaten run, Ireland dismantling the All Blacks in Chicago last, and Scotland on an upward trend, this year’s tournament is more competitive than ever. We’ll be looking at the stats each week to identify some of the top performers.
Meters Made (Total)
Stuart Hogg (104) was Scotland’s best attacking threat – scoring two tries and cementing his place on the Lions tour come June, in case there was any doubt.
Despite Hogg’s exceptional performance, Frenchmen Virimi Vakatawa (121) and Scott Spedding (116) racked up the highest meters gained with the ball in hand. 60-meter-try man George North (108) was in third place. Full-backs Rob Kearney (105) and Mike Brown (104) were close behind with Leigh Halfpenny (56) making the least meters of any full-back this weekend, yet surprisingly winning the MOTM award in Rome.
Irish fly-half Paddy Jackson (4), standing in for the injured Sexton, broke the line the most of any player this weekend, and scored a brilliant try in the process. The pre-match pundits backed him to shine and despite the result, he certainly showed why Joe Schmidt had every confidence in him. Sexton will regain the jersey once fit, but an able understudy is emerging.
Elliot Daly (3) broke the French defence more than any other man in white, whilst Nakaitaci (3) and Liam Williams (3) did so for their respective nations. Stuart Hogg (2) was Scotland’s brightest spark when it came to clean breaks.
The space a full-back is blessed with as they attack from deep hands them the best platform to beat the first man. Rob Kearney (7) led the way this week with team-mate Robbie Henshaw (6) also causing problems for Scotland. Paddy Jackson (5) again features whilst Mike Brown (3) and Jonny May (3) evaded the most Frenchmen. Scott Spedding (5) and Vakatawa (4) were the best runners for the French
Jonathan Davies (5) had a fantastic game for Wales at centre, scoring the men in red’s first try and assisting in Liam Williams’ score later in the game. Italian Venditti (3) beat the most Welsh defenders, whilst Stuart Hogg (3) yet again featured on top for the Scottish.
The main defensive headline this week was that Welshman Justin Tipuric (4) , who famously hasn’t missed a tackle since last year’s competition, missed the most out of anyone for his country. In fairness to Tipuric, one or two were from kick chases, but one did allow a strong line break from the Italians. Scotland’s Dunbar (5) was the only player to miss more this weekend, but was closely followed by team-mates Finn Russell (4) and Huw Jones (4). Contrary to the score-line, only one Irishman missed more than a single tackle- that player being Keith Earls (2).
Howler of the weekend perhaps came from Italian full-back Padovani (3) who didn’t make a single tackle, whilst at Twickenham, captains Dylan Hartley (4) and Guilhem Guirado (3) dropped off the most tackles for their respective teams.
This is perhaps where the game was won at Murrayfield. Brothers Jonny Gray (27) and Richie Gray (23) made an incredible fifty tackles between them, whilst Richie missed none and Jonny missed two. Ross Ford (19), Hamish Watson (19) were also amongst twelve Scotland players to make 10 tackles or more at the weekend.
Irish centre Garry Ringrose (13), who Keith Wood refused to brand as the new Brian O’Driscoll on Saturday, had a fine game in defence making the most tackles of any Irish back and missing only one. Captain Rory Best (17) made the most for Ireland and he missed none, and Devin Toner (15) had a good shift bunking down at second row. Ireland’s defensive effort saw six players make more than 10 tackles.
England nearly faced an upset as France came out swinging and took the game to the wire. Launchbury (15), Wood (15) and Itoje (15) were the red rose’s top tacklers, whilst Gourdon (15) had the highest tackle count for les bleus.
Player of the Week
Stuart Hogg – Lived up to the pre-game hype that surrounded his name, and delivered two tries and a solid attacking display.
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