The 2018 NatWest 6 Nations came to a thrilling finale on Super Saturday with Ireland sealing a dramatic Grand Slam while Scotland and Wales also finished on a high.
Ireland secured a memorable third Grand Slam with a 24-15 win over England at Twickenham much to the delight of the visiting fans on St Patrick’s Day.
Earlier Scotland had denied Italy a first win of the Championship with a second-half comeback in Rome while Wales’ defence held firm to secure second in the table at France’s expense.
We’ve been through the stats for round five to uncover a bit more about how each of the three games unfolded during the weekend. Stander and deliver
Powerful Ireland No.8 CJ Stander made more carries than any other player on Super Saturday – with one seeing him dot the ball down against the base of the post.
That was the conclusion of a finely worked training ground move from Ireland with Tadhg Furlong and Bundee Aki both instrumental.
Stander proved to be a constant threat to the England defence with 24 carries, six more than Stuart Hogg managed against Italy in Rome.
Hogg and Gray both carried 18 times as the Scots came from behind to snatch victory with Sebastian Negri proving his worth to the Italian team with 17 carries.
England’s difficulties in breaking down the stubborn Irish defence are demonstrated by Mako Vunipola being their main threat with ball in hand with 15 carries. Ball Carries CJ Stander 24 Stuart Hogg 18 Jonny Gray 18 Sebastian Negri 17 Mako Vunipola 15 Two-time Player of the Championship Stuart Hogg again demonstrated his threat as he was the only player to make a century of metres from his huge number of carries.
The full-back made 111 metres in Rome, scoring Scotland’s fourth and final try in a performance reminiscent of his previous 2016 and 2017 Championships.
France wingers Benjamin Fall and Gael Fickou, who finished off a fine team try, were the next most aggressive players in terms of metres made but it wasn’t enough to earn victory in Cardiff.
The pair made 77 and 70 metres respectively at Principality Stadium but, aside from Fickou’s try, they were unable to turn their progress into points on the scoreboard.
Jonny May (74) and Mike Brown (64) also made gains as did Italy duo Mattia Bellini (59) and man of the match Tommaso Allan (59) though all four were on losing sides.
Metres Made Stuart Hogg 111 Benjamin Fall 77 Jonny May 74 Gael Fickou 70 Mike Brown 66 Mattia Bellini/Tommaso Allan 59 Finally, in the tackle stakes, Iain Henderson and Sergio Parisse led the way with 22 tackles each for Ireland and Italy respectively.
British & Irish Lion Henderson led the way for Ireland at Twickenham as they secured a historic triumph while Parisse did everything in his power to stop the Scots.
He was ably assisted by hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini who made 19 hits himself with Dean Budd chipping in with 17 as Scotland piled on the pressure in the latter stages.
The visitors in Rome were forced into plenty of tackles themselves though with Hamish Watson (21) and Jonny Gray (20) both close behind the leaders for round five.
Elsewhere, George Kruis (18) and Tadhg Furlong (18) demonstrated that it’s not just the loose forwards who can make an impact in the defensive line in the Championship these days. Tackles Iain Henderson/Sergio Parisse 22 Hamish Watson 21 Jonny Gray 20 Leonardo Ghiraldini 19 George Kruis/Tadhg Furlong 18 Dean Budd 17 Alun Wyn Jones/Josh Navidi 16