Six Nations: What the stats tell us

Date published: March 12 2015

With three rounds gone and two to go, we took a closer look at the numbers coming out of the Six Nations Championship.

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" goes the saying, but some numbers just can't be ignored. We picked out a few to spark the inevitable debate.

Ireland lead the way…but have scored just three tries

You can understand why All Blacks coach Steve Hansen isn't on the edge of his seat. Ireland have been ruthlessly efficient, but they haven't set any fields alight with their attacking play.

In their defence, defending champions have been brilliant on…well..defence! The only side left in the running for the Grand Slam may have only crossed the whitewash three times, but they have also only conceded one try (against France).

England top the try-scoring charts with eight from their three games while Italy are next best with six. Wales and Scotland have four each, with France lagging behind with just two.

In total, 27 tries have been scored in nine games for an average of three per game.

Ireland have had a lot of ball to play with

You only need to take a look at the scrum-half passing stats to get an idea of just how much possession Ireland have enjoyed. Conor Murray has not only made the most passes (269) but has also put ball to boot more often than anyone else (35).

By comparison, Ben Youngs has made just 160 passes.

Leigh Halfpenny is the top points scorer, but he isn't necessarily the most accurate kicker.

Of the place kickers who have attempted more than five shots at goal, Greig Laidlaw and Johnny Sexton are the best marksmen with a success rate of 90.91%

Halfpenny is at 82.35% for a total of 39 points.

Italy's Kelly Haimona is only hitting the target with 33% off the tee while Camille Lopez (67%) and George Ford (75%) could do better.

With only two rounds left, Jonny Wilkinson's tournament record of 89 points in a season (set in 2001) looks safe.

Scotland have seen yellow far too often

Of the nine yellow cards dished out so far, four have been shown to Scottish players. To be fair, two of those came in the dying minutes against Italy but it's still a damning statistic. Vern Cotter won't be impressed.

Stuart Hogg is the most dangerous player in Europe

Scotland's full-back leads the numbers in no less than four categories. He has made the most carries (38), metres (304 – 124 more than the next best, his team-mate Mark Bennett), clean breaks (5) and beaten the most defenders (13).

Chris Robshaw is the tournament's top tackler

No one will ever be able to say England's skipper doesn't work hard. 60 tackles in three games makes for an impressive average. He's only missed four.

Jonny Gray isn't doing badly either with 51 hits and only one miss. Bernard Le Roux has made 48 for France, but has missed five.

Eddy Ben Arous can do more than just scrum

The top jackal in the Six Nations is surely a back rower? Nope! France's fresh-faced loosehead leads the way for turnovers won with six – not bad considering he has started just twice.

George Ford is changing the image of English fly-halves

England's young pivot has certainly broken from the mould of his predecessors. Forget about standing deep in the pocket and kicking the leather off the ball, Ford leads the offload stats with six.

Interestingly, France have three players in the top five (Mathieu Bastareaud, Yoann Huget, Thierry Dusautoir) on the offload charts but continue to be criticised for their conservative style.

With thanks to @AccentureRugby