When it comes down to it, rugby is about scoring more points than your opponents, so it’s only right that those who excel at racking up points should be celebrated.
Last week, we examined the try-scoring records from the history of the Guinness Six Nations and now we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the elite points-scorers.
RONAN LEADS THE WAY
While Brian O’Driscoll has scored more tries than anyone in Championship history, his long-time Ireland teammate Ronan O’Gara leads the way in points.
Between 2000 and 2013, O’Gara notched a mammoth 557 points in 63 Six Nations matches – scoring ten tries, 109 penalties, 81 conversions and six drop goals.
Perhaps his most famous three points came in the 77th minute of the Championship showdown with Wales in the final game of the 2009 Championship.
His drop goal secured a famous victory for Ireland in Cardiff, a first title since 1985 and his country’s first Grand Slam triumph in 61 years.
O’Gara is just 11 points ahead of the second-highest points scorer in the competition, Jonny Wilkinson (more about him later!) who has 546.
His all-time record could also be under threat in the not-too-distant future as a pair of still-active kickers are within striking distance – another Irishman, Johnny Sexton third on the all-time list with 505 points and England Owen Farrell having racked up a round 500.
But for now, O’Gara is still the Six Nations points king.
We promised more about Wilkinson and the England legend owns a couple of Six Nations points records of his own.
He scored the most points in a single game when slotting 35 against Italy in 2001 – one try, nine conversions and four penalties his haul as the Azzurri were put to the sword at Twickenham.
Wilkinson gained a reputation as an unerring kicker from the tee and used that to also rack up the most points in a single Championship.
That too came in 2001 as he notched a remarkable 89 points in five games – an average of almost 18 points per game as, in addition to his 35 against Italy, he clocked 14 against Wales, 13 versus Scotland, 18 against France and nine against Ireland.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
We also look to England’s 2001 vintage for a couple of team points record, as the Red Rose lit up the Championship that year.
The 80 points they compiled in the 80-23 triumph over Italy at Twickenham is the most points by a team in a single Six Nations match, while their 229 accrued across the Championship is also a single-campaign record.
They cleared 40 points in every match apart from the 20-14 defeat to Ireland to cement their place as one of the most free-scoring teams in Six Nations history.
It’s also possible to bag a point haul in defeat and twice in Championship history, teams have scored 35 points in a losing effort.
During the 2001 Championship, which surely has to go down as one of the most entertaining competitions in history, France went down 43-35 to Wales in Paris and 14 years later it was Les Bleus who again notched 35 points in vain.
Their Round 5 clash at Twickenham ended 55-35 in England’s favour as five tries from the visitors failed to ensure victory.
CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
Finally, while we rightly laud those individuals and teams who rack up big points, let’s take a moment to appreciate those who stop the opposition scoring.
England’s 2003 team, who would famously win the World Cup later that year, were statistically the best defensive team in Six Nations history.
Across the five games, they conceded just 46 points – the fewest by any team in a single campaign – en route to a Grand Slam as France scored 17 points against them in the opener but every other opponent was restricted to single figures. A truly remarkable effort in point prevention.