A look at the stats, provided by Opta, paints a picture of why Guinness Player of the Championship Tommaso Menoncello was so effective this year.

Italy’s backs were one of the 2024 Championship’s standout features across almost every discipline, and Menoncello was at the heart of it all.

The 21-year-old Benetton centre made more dominant tackles than any other back this year, with eight.

Equally adept on the other side of the ball, he had a 42.4% dominant carry rate, placing him fourth in the table - just a fraction behind Player of the Championship nominee and fellow midfielder Bundee Aki.

He dealt with the traffic in midfield with aplomb, making 46 tackles that placed him third amongst backs this year (unsurprisingly, his midfield partner Juan Ignacio Brex made 53, while their fly-half Paolo Garbisi made 57).

Menoncello ranked seventh for attacking rucks hit (35, one ahead of France’s Gaël Fickou), while ranking fifth for defensive ruck hits (15). He also beat ten defenders.

For backs with a minimum of 30 carries, Menoncello had a 71.4% gainline success rate, making him seventh overall in this category. When you consider that the top four are back three players (Freeman, Lowe, Nash, Penaud - in that order), it underlines Menoncello’s outsized output with the ball in hand.

Topping it all off, Menoncello also provided a try assist in the narrow loss to England in round one. Italy would go on to claim their most successful Championship campaign ever; one in which young Menoncello played a vital part.