SHINGLER A SIX NATIONS STAR, STATISTICS REVEAL
FRENCH flyer Teddy Thomas has enjoyed a blistering start, following up his stunning solo try against Ireland with a double strike against Scotland at Murrayfield – although he has been one of the players dropped for this weekend’s clash with Italy following a late-night incident in Edinburgh.
Leigh Halfpenny’s long-awaited brace on the opening weekend puts the Scarlet among six players who are one try behind the Frenchman. Teddy Thomas (France) 3 Anthony Watson (England) 2 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) 2 Jonny May (England) 2 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) 2 Robbie Henshaw (Ireland) 2 Sam Simmonds (England) 2
HALFPENNY is denied top spot by Ireland pivot Sexton, who landed five out of his conversion attempts in the eight-try rout of Italy.
The Leinsterman deserves to be out in front just for that incredible drop goal in Paris. Johnny Sexton (Ireland) 25 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) 24 Greig Laidlaw (Scotland) 22 Owen Farrell (England) 18 Maxime Machenaud (France) 16 Teddy Thomas (Italy) 14
THE one thing you can rely on from CJ Stander is carries, and a lot of them.
The Munster battering ram leads the way from centre Bundee Aki, who is proving a real handful in the Irish midfield.
The workrate and appetite for the ball of Steff Evans is highlighted by his position in third. Shingler also flies the flag. CJ Stander (Ireland) 37 Bundee Aki (Ireland) 30 Steff Evans (Wales) 29 Jonny May (England) 28 Sebastian Negri (Italy) 27 Aaron Shingler (Wales) 26 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) 26 Stuart Hogg (Scotland) 26
SCOTLAND full-back Stuart Hogg, player of the tournament for the last
AARON Shingler’s outstanding start to this season’s NatWest 6 Nations is reflected in the official stats for the opening two rounds.
The Scarlets flanker leads the tournament charts for off-loads and line-outs won, and also features two seasons, is setting the pace again.
Stockdale’s long-range interception against Italy has hoisted him up to second, while it is Evans who heads the Welsh challenge. Stuart Hogg (Scotland) 202 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) 161 Matteo Minozzi (Italy) 157 Steff Evans (Wales) 156 Mattia Bellini (Italy) 147
Mike Brown (England) 133
IT’S the English duo of Jonny May and Owen Farrell in the top six for carries and turnovers won.
Back-row partner Josh Navidi is another prominent Welshman, – arguably the player of the Championship so far – who head this chart.
Leigh Halfpenny and Evans are one adrift. Jonny May (England) 4 Owen Farrell (England) 4 (11 players on three, including Leigh Halfpenny and Steff Evans)
THOMAS has been the shining light in a miserable opening fortnight for Les Bleus, while fellow speedster Virimi Vakatawa has also proven elusive.
Gareth Anscombe beat six defenders against England alone. Hadleigh Parkes sits alongside him. Teddy Thomas (France) 9 Bundee Aki (Ireland) 8 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) 8 Virimi Vakatawa (France) 8 Anthony Watson (England) 7 Gareth Anscombe (Wales) 7 Hadleigh Parkes (Wales) 7 Matteo Minozzi (Italy) 7
THE transformation of Wales’ attacking game is highlighted by the fact that three of Warren Gatland’s side make the top six in this category. Shingler leads the way from Anscombe, while it is no surprise to see Evans in there with his ability to free the arms and keep the ball alive a major part of his attacking armoury. Aaron Shingler (Wales) 5 Gareth Anscombe (Wales) 4 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) 4 Keith Earls (Ireland) 4 Owen Farrell while Gareth Anscombe’s impressive second-half showing in Saturday’s controversial 12-6 defeat at Twickenham has elevated him among the leading Championship performers.
The statistics for the matches are provided by Opta. (England) 3 Steff Evans (Wales) 3
YOU had to feel for French skipper Guilhem Guirado as he watched Sexton’s match-winning drop goal sail over the posts at the Stade de France in round one. In that match France put in a Six Nations record of 253 tackles, with the hooker making 31 of those, joining Luke Charteris in the record books. The workaholic Josh Navidi is his nearest challenger. Guilhem Guirado (France) 50 Josh Navidi (Wales) 36 Sebastien Vahaamahina (France) 35 Chris Robshaw (England) 33 Jonny Gray (Scotland) 29 Sam Simmonds (England) 29
NAVIDI has been a real menace at the breakdown in the opening two rounds and is the Championship’s turnover king with five from the first two matches.
He is followed by back-row cohort Shingler. Josh Navidi (Wales) 5 Aaron Shingler (Wales) 3 Owen Farrell (England) 3 (10 players on two)
LINEOUTS WON (INCLUDING STEALS)
SHINGLER has long been viewed as one of the best line-out operators in the Guinness PRO14 and he has been a go-to man for team-mate Ken Owens during this Championship. His 11 takes includes one steal. The Irish duo of Devin Toner and Peter O’Mahoney are next in line, while the Welsh lock pairing of Cory Hill and Alun Wyn Jones also make the top six. Aaron Shingler (Wales) 11 Devin Toner (Ireland) 9 Peter O’Mahony (Ireland) 9 Cory Hill (Wales) 8 Courtney Lawes (England) 7 Alun Wyn Jones (Wales) 6 Grant Gilchrist (Scotland) 6 Yacouba Camara (France) 6
THE hookers have been delivering some impressive darts during the Championship and it is the England skipper Dylan Hartley who is the only starter to have hit his target with every throw.
Young Dragon Elliot Dee has done the same when he has replaced Ken Owens, with the Wales No. 2 having just one black mark to his name, like fellow Lion Rory Best. Dylan Hartley (England) 100% (14 from 14) Leonardo Ghiraldini (Italy) 100% (7 from 7) Elliot Dee (Wales) 100% (3 from 3) Sean Cronin (Ireland) 100% (3 from 3) Rory Best (Ireland) 96 (25 from 26) Ken Owens (Wales) 96 (22 from 23)
> Aaron Shingler and, far right, Gareth Anscombe