Stats show Finn Russell and George Ford’s influence in Six Nations opening round

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Scotland's Finn Russell and George Ford of England.

Split with Scotland's Finn Russell and George Ford of England.

The opening round of the Six Nations served up some spectacular rugby, from the dominance of Ireland over France to the tight wins for England and Scotland over Italy and Wales respectively.

Before the second weekend of action arrives, Planet Rugby takes a closer look at the leading individual performers in the tournament so far.

Most points

Leading the way after round one is England’s fly-half George Ford who played a critical role in his team’s narrow victory against Italy. He finished the game with 17 points thanks to five penalties and a conversion.

Based on the Red Rose’s style and the unavailability of Marcus Smith it would be silly to bet against Ford doubling down on his points lead against Wales this weekend.

Runners up: Next on the list is Irishman Jack Crowley who scored 13 points in the first game of the post-Johnny Sexton era. Elsewhere, Tommasso Allan scored 12 points to become his country’s top points scorer in Six Nations history whilst Scotland skipper Finn Russell also notched 12 points. Lethal running Duhan van der Merwe rounds out the top five with 10 points.

Most tries

It was going to be impossible to keep him quiet for long as the gargantuan Van der Merwe returned to his try-scoring ways with a brace against Wales.

The upturn in form at Test level will be a relief to the wing who was quiet by his standards at the Rugby World Cup. Undoubtedly, Van der Merwe will be a threat again this weekend as Scotland welcomes France to Murrayfield.

Runners up: There is a host of players on one try for the tournament with England duo Elliot Daly and Alex Mitchell as well as Frenchmen Paul Gabrillagues and Damian Penaud amongst the weekend’s try scorers.

Most try assists

Unsurprisingly the audacious Finn Russell leads the way in this category after bagging two assists in the clash against Wales.

Russell is a master of the attack and will only grow in this category making him the main candidate to finish the tournament with the most assists.

Runners up: Several players managed one assist including Tommy Freeman (England), Matthieu Jalibert (France) and Paolo Garbisi (Italy) amongst others.

Most carries

One for all the hard workers and leading the way is none other than England’s Ben Earl who has grown in stature as a Test player over the last 18 months through his typically high work rate on both sides of the ball.

England clearly used him as a primary ball carrier with the back-row notching up an impressive 16 carries at the weekend. As long he stays fit, these numbers will remain high throughout the competition.

Runners up: France skipper Gregory Alldritt and Welshman Cameron Winnett both tallied up 15 carries with Josh Adams on 14 and Italian duo Monty Ioane and Sebastian Negri with 12 apiece.

Most tackles

Continuing with the focus on the hard workers we have the best on the defensive end with Italy’s passionate skipper Michele Lamaro leading the charge with a whopping 19 tackles against Italy.

The number of tackles is no surprise with Lamaro always emptying his tank and expect him to continue doing so whenever he takes to the pitch.

Runners up: Scotland star Matt Fagerson was one short with 18 whilst new Wales skipper Dafydd Jenkins maxed out on 17 tackles. Rounding out the list is Alldritt on 16 whilst compatriot Charles Ollivon and Italy’s Negri made 15 tackles.

Most breakdown steals

There was one very clear king of the breakdown from the opening round and it was Wales star Tommy Reffell who claimed a remarkable three steals – all of which were crucial for his team getting back into the game against Scotland.

Reffell’s prowess on the ground makes him a very valuable tool for head coach Warren Gatland who will possibly look to employ the flank again to disrupt England’s fast breakdown this weekend.

Runners up: Many players managed one steal with England duo Maro Itoje and Ethan Roots as well as Alldritt and Italian Lorenzo Cannone amongst some of the names.

READ MORE: Six Nations: Five things we learnt from the opening round of action