Six Nations: Who will be the goal-kicker for each team this year, and their statistics

Jared Wright
rugby Who the France kicker, England kicker, Wales kicker, Scotland kicker, Italy kicker and Irleand kicker will be during the 2023 six nations

England fly-half Marcus Smith topped the points-scoring charts in the Six Nations in 2022, but will he even be kicking for the side this year? 

The history of the Six Nations is littered with famous drop goals, conversions or penalties that have won or lost matches and titles for teams. Last year proved no different, with Paolo Garbisi kicking Italy to a famous win over Wales, with two further Tests decided by three points or less. 

Planet Rugby highlights who will be the likeliest kicker for each nation in 2023 and who their back-ups will be, with the statistics accurate as of January 26.


First choice: Owen Farrell

England's Owen Farrell kicks a penalty during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium

Marcus Smith kicked superbly from the tee in Farrell‘s absence during last year’s Six Nations, but he will relinquish the duties to his captain for 2023.

Farrell has been England’s go-to kicker for the better part of a decade, and although he has kicked at a 75 per cent (38/52) success rate for Saracens in the Premiership this season, he is likely to retain the duties for the Test team.

During the Autumn Nations Series, Farrell struggled with a leg injury limiting his kicking ability; he handed the kicking tee to Smith, the natural back-up. The Quins playmaker has been sidelined for a large chunk of the season to date but has kicked at a 95 per cent success rate in the Premiership (19/20) and 75 per cent (12/15) in the Champions Cup.

Outside of the pair, Elliot Daly and Henry Slade provide long-range options for Steve Borthwick’s side, but Fin Smith is the next in line if Farrell and Smith aren’t on the pitch. The uncapped Northampton Saint fly-half has kicked 81 per cent of his attempts in the Premiership (21/26).

We might see George Ford, who has been injured all season, return to the England set-up later in the Six Nations. He wouldn’t take the kicking duties off Farrell but could be trusted with the responsibility ahead of Marcus Smith if the pair were both on the pitch.


First choice: Thomas Ramos

France kicker Thomas Ramos of during the 2022 Autumn Nations Series

The place kicker for France will be donning the number 15 jersey, and it is a two-horse race between Ramos and Melvyn Jaminet.

Jaminet was the favoured option in 2022, starting all five Six Nations matches and scoring 54 points from the tee, but Ramos was the starter during the Autumn Nations Series.

Les Bleus head coach Fabien Galthie is spoilt for choice as the pair have both kicked at an 84 per cent success rate in the Top 14 this season. Jaminet (41/49) has had more shots at goal than Ramos (21/25), but they are both extremely accurate and consistent.

The French squad comprises players who regularly kick for their club or are handy back-ups. Romain Ntamack is the next in line for the kicking duties for Les Bleus, with Matthieu Jalibert not far behind, mainly depending on who is on the pitch.

Uncapped scrum-halves Nolann Le Garrec and Leo Coly kick for their clubs, Racing 92 and Montpellier, while third-choice fly-half Antoine Hastoy is the top points-scorer in the Champions Cup and is La Rochelle’s first choice from the tee.

Finally, Antoine Dupont has shown that he is more than capable of filling in when needed.


First choice: Johnny Sexton

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton scores a conversion during the Six Nations match at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Picture date: Saturday February 5, 2022. Johnny Sexton

Like Farrell for England, Sexton has been the first-choice place kicker for Ireland for several years. The Ireland captain is close to breaking several Six Nations records this season, including the most points scored in the competition’s history.

When Sexton isn’t on the pitch, Ross Byrne or Jack Crowley will take the kicking duties, with Conor Murray being a back-up option.

Sexton has a 68 per cent success rate (13/19) for Leinster this season but expect him to be far more accurate in the Six Nations. Crowley has converted five of his seven shots at goal for Munster for a 71 per cent success rate, while Byrne has comfortably kicked the most, converting 87.5 per cent of his 56 attempts at goal.


First choice: Paolo Garbisi

Italy's Paolo Garbisi kicks the winning conversion during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium

Italy’s go-to placekicker, Garbisi, will miss at least the opening two rounds of the Six Nations. Still, when he returns, he will most likely return to the starting XV and take over the kicking duties.

In his absence, Tommy Allan is set to start in the number 10 jersey and kick for the goal. The Harlequins pivot has been in good form from the kicking tee for the Famous Quarters this season. In the Premiership, he has converted 23 of his 28 attempts and missed just one of his five attempts in the Champions Cup, leaving him with a success rate of 84 per cent.

Outside of Allan, winger/full-back Edoardo Padovani is a handy back-up place-kicker. In contrast, backup fly-half Giacomo Da Re has kicked sparingly for Benetton, missing one of his three shots at goal in the United Rugby Championship.


First choice: Finn Russell

Scotland's kicker Finn Russell lines up a penalty kick during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff

Starting fly-half Russell will be the Scots’ go-to place-kicker when on the pitch, with the 30-year-old kicking at a 93 per cent success rate in the Top 14 for Racing 92. He has missed just three times from 55 attempts in 13 matches.

Meanwhile, the uncapped Ben Healy will likely deputise for Russell if he replaces the veteran pivot. The Munster fly-half has raised the flags 16 times in 18 attempts in the URC for an 89 per cent success rate.

Blair Kinghorn and Stuart Hogg are other options named in the initial squad, while Ulster scrum-half John Cooney will provide further depth when he is called up later in the tournament when he officially qualifies for Scotland.


First choice: Dan Biggar

Wales kick Dan Biggar during the 2022 Castle Lager Incoming Series match between South Africa and Wales six nations

Warren Gatland has the dependable Biggar to rely on for the kicking duties during the Six Nations but also has incredible back-up options in full-back Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Patchell.

In his seven appearances for Toulon this season, Biggar has taken 28 shots at goal and has been successful on 21 occasions, a 75 per cent success rate.

Meanwhile, Halfpenny has been in superb kicking form knocking over 28 of his 34 kicks at goal for an 82 per cent success rate and providing Wales with a long-range option.

While Patchell has kicked just 13 times this season at a 62 per cent accuracy, he is usually a reliable option, but there are further back-ups in Owen Williams and Joe Hawkins.

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