There were tries and points aplenty in Round 2 – and behind the headlines are a string of statistics providing context to the weekend’s action.
England’s trip to Italy kicked off proceedings and Simon Middleton’s side grew in authority as the game progressed, running in seven of their nine tries after the break to book a place in Super Saturday’s grand final.
Ireland were similarly clinical as they got their campaign up and running with a 45-0 triumph against Wales in Cardiff, setting up a Pool B decider against France in Round 3.
There were a selection of standout individuals while this week’s stats also reveal some excellent collective efforts.
173 – metres made by Beibhinn Parsons
There was plenty of excitement around Ireland’s 19-year-old flyer going into their Championship opener against Wales and it did not take long for Beibhinn Parsons to show why.
Having opened her account with a terrific 10th-minute individual score, the winger doubled her tally three minutes later from much closer range after collecting Hannah Tyrrell’s cross-field kick.
Those two runs – particularly the first – helped make up a staggering tally of 173 metres gained across the 80 minutes from just nine carries, with 13 tackles broken – both were weekend-highs.
24 – carries by Dorothy Wall
While Ireland’s backs were on form, the pack played an equally effective role in pinning Wales back and laying the platform for the likes of Parsons and Eimear Considine to shine.
Dorothy Wall was particularly influential, covering every blade of grass – or should we say, patch of 3G turf – at Cardiff Arms Park and set off on 24 carries, making 116 metres in the process.
The 20-year-old capped her performance with a try while just in front of her in the scrum, Nichola Fryday also impressed with three turnover wins.
14 – tackles by Siwan Lillicrap
Some of the numbers do not make pretty viewing for Wales, who conceded 45 points, missed 39 tackles and lost 10 of their own lineouts.
But standing tall on a challenging afternoon was captain Siwan Lillicrap, who topped the Welsh charts for carries (10), metres made (57) and tackles (14).
All that while playing through the pain barrier following an injury which eventually saw her forced off late on – it was impossible not to sit back and admire the No.8’s fighting spirit.
9 – tackles broken by Meg Jones
Meg Jones picked up the Player of the Match award in England’s 67-3 victory over Italy following a performance full of attacking verve in Parma.
The inside centre was a constant threat and proved a slippery customer for Italy to handle, breaking nine tackles during as many carries – three more than anyone else on the field.
Jones (110m) was one of four Red Roses backs to hit three figures for metres carried, joining Emily Scarratt (111m), Abby Dow (133m) and Ellie Kildunne (150m), and will hope for the opportunity to impress from the start once more in the final.
4.0 – England points per visit to 22
We mentioned last week how England’s cutting edge made the difference against Scotland and it was a similar story in Round 2.
England spent nine minutes and 23 seconds inside the Italian 22 and averaged 4.0 points per visit, an improvement on an already impressive total of 3.47 points per visit last time out.
The overall possession stats, which finished 61% in England’s favour, suggest a tighter contest than the final score would have you believe – but Simon Middleton’s side made their time with the ball count in style.
195 – tackles made by Italy
England enjoying the bulk of the possession meant plenty of defensive work for Italy – and they carried out much of it doggedly.
Ten of the starting XV saw their tackle counts hit double figures and Melissa Bettoni joined them, making 11 tackles in just 36 minutes after being introduced from the bench.
Lucia Gai and Valeria Fedrighi led the way with 17 apiece as Italy crunched into 195 tackles in total, comfortably the most of any team in action during Round 2.