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Top performers in Six Nations revealed

SPOTLIGHT: Three rounds of the Six Nations have been completed and a number of key players have already led the way in terms of their performance.

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We take a look at the leading men in the Six Nations according to the latest Opta stats as we cherry-pick notable performers, some more obvious than others.

The findings throw up a number of questions. For example, does the lack of any out-and-out Irish leaders in most individual player categories suggest a far more equitable share of the workload?

See what you think…

Metres Gained: Cameron Winnett (WAL)
Winnett may be on the smaller side in stature, but that’s not been an obstacle when it comes to his powers of evasion and flat-out speed. The youngster from the Rhondda has made more metres than anybody else in this year’s Championship – and 24 more than his nearest rival, James Lowe. Not even the marauding Duhan van Der Merwe (181) comes close. Having gained almost as many metres as France duo Matthieu Jalibert and Damian Penaud put together, Cardiff back Winnett might represent one of the green shoots of Wales’ emergence from some difficult years.

Top performers:

Cameron Winnett (WAL) – 260; James Lowe (IRE) – 236; Monty Ioane (ITA) – 218; Duhan van der Merwe (SCO) – 181; Calvin Nash (IRE) – 178; Thomas Ramos (FRA) – 175; Freddie Steward (ENG) – 152; Ange Capuozzo (ITA) – 144; Matthieu Jalibert (FRA) – 139; Damian Penaud (FRA) – 134.

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Top performers in Six Nations revealed

Defenders Beaten: Rio Dyer (WAL) and Ben Earl (ENG)
Dragons wing Rio Dyer is proving himself to be a favourite with Wales head coach Warren Garland, and it’s not hard to see why, when he plays every game like it could be his last. He’s beaten 12 defenders so far, level with Ben Earl (who some pundits have even suggested should be played at centre). Earl is the only forward in the top 10. Wing Monty Ioane, who appears to be an ever-present across a number of categories, such is his potency in attack, is third with 10.

Top performers:

Rio Dyer (WAL) – 12; Ben Earl (ENG) – 12; Monty Ioane (ITA) – 10; Damian Penaud (FRA) – 9; Duhan van der Merwe (SCO) – 9; Kyle Rowe (SCO) – 9; Tommy Freeman (ENG) – 9; Gaël Fickou (FRA) – 9; Jack Crowley (IRE) – 9; Cameron Winnett (WAL) – 9.

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Tackles Made: Michele Lamaro (ITA)
‘Industrious’ doesn’t begin to sum up the workrate of Azzurri captain Michele Lamaro, but it’s a good start. The flank has made a breathtaking 55 tackles after three rounds of play – he also tops the dominant tackles list, with six – with Wales’ Tommy Reffell nine behind. Lamaro’s Italy teammate, lock Niccolò Cannone, is third with 41. Two front row forwards have been putting themselves about too, in prop Pierre Schoeman (36) and hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi (34). Workhorses, one and all.

Top performers:

Michele Lamaro (ITA) – 55; Tommy Reffell (WAL) – 46; Niccolò Cannone (ITA) – 45; Dafydd Jenkins (WAL) – 41; François Cros (FRA) – 40; Caelan Doris (IRE) – 38; Charles Ollivon (FRA) – 38; Pierre Schoeman (SCO) – 36; Maro Itoje (ENG) – 35; Federico Ruzza (ITA) – 34; Gianmarco Lucchesi (ITA) – 34.

Carry Dominance: Sione Tuipulotu (SCO)
At the heart of Scotland’s deadly attacking game is Sione Tuipolutu (one half of the delightfully-named ‘Huwipulotu’ midfield pairing, along with Huw Jones). Just how influential is the Glasgow centre? Well, considering his carry dominance is 19.9% higher than the next person – Kyle Rowe, his teammate for club and country, who has featured in one fewer match – you could say: very. The greatest disappointment is that he’s now ruled out for the remainder of the Championship through injury. The next man in line is Grégory Alldritt (52.4%), who along with Josh van der Flier (43.8%), is the only forward in the list of leading carry dominators.

Top performers:

Sione Tuipulotu (SCO) – 73.7%; Kyle Rowe (SCO) – 53.8%; Grégory Alldritt (FRA) – 52.4%; James Lowe (IRE) – 51.9%; Alex Mitchell (ENG) – 50%; Damian Penaud (FRA) – 47.1%; Bundee Aki (IRE) – 45.8%; George North (WAL) – 44.4%; Josh van der Flier (IRE) – 43.8%; Rio Dyer (WAL) – 41.7%

Tackle Success Rate: Maro Itoje (ENG), Manuel Zuliani (ITA), Elliot Dee (WAL), Tadhg Beirne (IRE)
Of the players who have made a minimum of 20 tackles in this year’s Championship, only four can boast a 100% tackle success rate: second rows Maro Itoje and Tadhg Beirne, flanker Manuel Zuliani, and hooker Elliot Dee. No back features in the top list, but loosehead prop Cyril Baille pops up once again with a 96.6% tackle success rate, with tighthead Zander Fagerson marginally ahead of him on 96.8%.

Top performers:
Maro Itoje (ENG) – 100%; Manuel Zuliani (ITA) – 100%; Elliot Dee (WAL) – 100%; Tadhg Beirne (IRE) – 100%; Jack Dempsey (SCO) – 97%; Zander Fagerson (SCO) – 96.8%; Cyril Baille (FRA) – 96.6%; Grégory Alldritt (FRA) – 96.4%; Adam Beard (WAL) – 96.2%; Paul Boudehent (FRA) – 95.8%.

Turnovers Won: Tommy Reffell (WAL)
Flank Tommy Reffell must be a nightmare to play against, such is his disruptive influence at the breakdown. Followers of Reffell since his fledgling days with the Under-20’s and Leicester will say it was ever thus, and won’t be surprised to see him atop the list of turnovers won. Fellow back row forward Sam Underhill is making up for lost time in the England jersey and has five turnovers, with Maro Itoje and Gianmarco Lucchesi behind him on four. Most surprising, perhaps, is the presence of Reffell’s former Tigers teammate George Ford among these turnover titans. The flyhalf has made three turnovers.

Top performers:

Tommy Reffell (WAL) – 6; Sam Underhill (ENG) – 5; Maro Itoje (ENG) – 4; Gianmarco Lucchesi (ITA) – 4; François Cros (FRA) – 3; Huw Jones (SCO) – 3; George Ford (ENG) – 3; Grégory Alldritt (FRA) – 3.

Top performers in Six Nations revealed

Lineout Takes: Federico Ruzza (ITA)
Rampaging second row Federico Ruzza is a cornerstone of the Italian pack, and he is evidently their target man at this set-piece, taking 17 lineouts in three matches. While Wales’ lineout has faltered at key moments, back row forward Aaron Wainwright (15) and lock Dafydd Jenkins (12) have been the go-tos in this area. Tadhg Beirne, Ollie Chessum and Scott Cummings are all level with Jenkins in third.

Top performers:

Federico Ruzza (ITA) – 17; Aaron Wainwright (WAL) – 15; Dafydd Jenkins (WAL) – 12; Tadhg Beirne (IRE) – 12; Ollie Chessum (ENG) – 12; Scott Cummings (SCO) – 12; Maro Itoje (ENG) – 10; Adam Beard (WAL) – 10; Charles Ollivon (FRA) – 10; Ethan Roots (ENG) – 9.

Line Breaks: James Lowe (IRE)
Wing James Lowe had to feature in here somewhere. The wing is so often Ireland’s trump card when one is required, and his seven line breaks are the most in the Championship this year. In what has been an otherwise muted campaign for another wing, Damian Penaud, the Frenchman still has five line breaks to his name, with three other wings, Rio Dyer, Duhan van der Merwe and Elliot Daly, all joined by hooker Dan Sheehan and second row forward Tadhg Beirne on four.

Top performers:

James Lowe (IRE) – 7; Damian Penaud (FRA) – 5; Rio Dyer (WAL) – 4; Duhan van der Merwe (SCO) – 4; Dan Sheehan (IRE) – 4; Tadhg Beirne (IRE) – 4; Elliot Daly (ENG) – 4; Kyle Rowe (SCO) – 3; Tommy Freeman (ENG) – 3; Louis Bielle-Biarrey (FRA) – 3; Monty Ioane (ITA) – 3.

Top performers in Six Nations revealed

Source @SixNations

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