Just like that another weekend of Rugby World Cup action has come and gone filled with joy and despair and everything in between.
Following the second weekend at the global showpiece, Planet Rugby takes a closer look at which players lead the way in the different facets of the game.
England’s George Ford was on point again for the Red Rose as he loaded up with another impressive points haul of 14 against Japan in their second World Cup fixture.
That takes his points tally to 41 so far in the tournament, and only one ahead of the next-best player.
Runners-up: Ireland’s all-time points scorer, as of last weekend Johnny Sexton, is in the second spot with 40 points with Wallaby Ben Donaldson in third with 30. Damian McKenzie of New Zealand managed 26 points in his first appearances whilst Rikiya Matsuda of Japan rounds out the top five with 24.
🙌 What a moment!
☘️ Johnny Sexton is Ireland's all-time leading point scorer.
👏 Congrats Johnny!
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) September 16, 2023
Ireland’s Bundee Aki continued his fine form with yet another brace this weekend against Tonga as his side put another 50+ points performance in Pool B.
The two-try haul takes the robust centre’s tally to four tries in just two games, which is halfway to the record of eight tries in a single tournament held by legendary trio Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), Bryan Habana (South Africa) and Julian Savea (New Zealand).
Runners-up: Sexton trails his teammate by one try after scoring under the posts, whilst Springboks duo Cobus Reinach and Makazole Mapimpi both bagged hat-tricks in their first appearance of the tournament. Another Irishman, Tadhg Beirne, features in the top five with three tries of his own.
It is no surprise to see Aki atop of another category, given his outstanding form in the tournament so far. The hard-running star was at the centre of Ireland’s attack against Tonga, where he made 19 carries in the match.
Bundee Aki was outstanding again on Saturday.
19 carries for 80m, beat 10 defenders and made 2 clean breaks.
He was also very busy at the set-piece.
Found himself in the lineout for Caelan Doris’ maul try, and scrummaged on both sides when Peter O’Mahony was in the bin. pic.twitter.com/o0iR7iVFkR
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) September 18, 2023
The 19 from last weekend takes his total to a competition-leading 39 carries with the ball in hand.
Runners-up: Last week’s leader in the carry stats, Viliame Mata, has fallen quite far behind Aki with a total of 28 for the Fijian. All Black Beauden Barrett (26), Fijian Ilaisa Dorasese (26) and Hugo Keenan (25) make up the top five players.
Most clean breaks
Surprise, surprise, Aki is the leader yet again in this category. Most of his clean breaks came against Romania in the first round of action, but the star added two more against Tonga to take his tally to seven for the competition.
Runners-up: All Blacks wing Caleb Clarke made some ground on Aki and sits on six clean breaks just ahead of Ireland’s Mack Hasen, who is also in sparkling form on five. David Havili of New Zealand (four) and Selesitino Ravutaumada of Fiji (three) are the final two stars in the five best.
There is a new tackle leader this week in the form of the tireless Japanese forward Jack Cornelsen, who was very committed in defence against England, making a whopping 16 tackles.
The high tackle count in the Brave Blossoms’ loss catapulted the star to the top of the pile with a total of 35 tackles in two games.
Runners-up: Not far behind is Japan veteran Michael Leitch on 32, with Welsh duo Will Rowlands and Jac Morgan, as well as Romanian skipper Cristian Chirica all on 27 tackles.