The second round of autumn international fixtures didn’t disappoint as four Six Nations sides claimed victories on a stunning day of action.
England thought they had claimed a memorable triumph over New Zealand when Sam Underhill crossed the line, before the try was chalked off as the All Blacks won 16-15 at Twickenham.
Wales put to bed their ten-year losing streak to Australia with a narrow 9-6 victory thanks to Dan Biggar’s accuracy from the tee.
Scotland racked up the points with a hugely impressive 54-17 victory over Fiji at BT Murrayfield as Gregor Townsend’s side ran in eight tries in Edinburgh.
Ireland weren’t at their level best, but they scrapped their way to a 28-17 win over Argentina as Johnny Sexton marked his return to international action with 13 points.
Meanwhile, Conor O’Shea’s Italy secured a valiant 28-17 win over Georgia to maintain their unbeaten run against the Lelos.
France were narrowly edged out against South Africa in a 26-29 loss as Mbongeni Mbonambi struck late to secure the win for the visitors in Paris.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the Six Nations players that filled up the stats sheet in the second weekend of autumn internationals.
Chris Ashton made his first England start in four years when he lined up at Twickenham against the All Blacks and he looked unfazed as he put England’s first try on the board.
The England wing hadn’t featured on the international scene since making his last appearance against New Zealand in 2014 – ironically the last time England played the All Blacks.
The Sale Sharks man was on hand to score his first try when he struck early into the game with an impressive dart down the right flank following Ben Youngs’ fine pass.
Ashton made only one clean break in the match and that was enough to see him score, but it was his compatriot Jonny May that topped the metres made chart in the game by running 66m against the All Blacks.
That feat doesn’t come close to matching the running distance made by France’s Teddy Thomas though, as the 25-year-old made a stunning 97 metres against the Springboks.
Selected metres made Teddy Thomas (France) – 97 Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) – 80 Jonny May (England) – 66 Tommaso Allan (Italy) – 60 Pete Horne (Scotland) – 56 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) – 56
DOESN’T GET BIGGAR THAN THAT
Wales hadn’t beaten Australia in their last 13 meetings when they faced off in Cardiff as Warren Gatland’s side aimed to put to bed ten years of hurt.
It may not have been the free-flowing attacking game that fans had expected prior to kick-off at the Principality Stadium, but it certainly set up an intense ending as neither side were able to make a telling breakthrough.
Up stepped Dan Biggar and the Northampton Saints man put away the game winning penalty with little hesitation to secure a 9-6 victory.
The last time Wales won by a smaller margin was a 9-8 victory against Ireland in 1981, and it was their lowest-scoring triumph since the 11-3 win over England in the 1988 Five Nations.
Equally key to the victory was the Welshmen’s willingness to match Australia in the tackle as Justin Tipuric recorded a wholesome 20 challenges in the clash with the Wallabies.
Out of the Six Nations side’s, only England’s Underhill made more than tackles him this weekend with 24 against New Zealand.
The Bath player would also have upped his metres made in the match to 66 metres, had his dash to the line past Beauden Barrett counted with the try overturned by TMO.
Selected tackles made Sam Underhill (England) – 24 Justin Tipuric (Wales) – 20 Maro Itoje (England) – 20 Mark Wilson (England) – 17 Ross Moriarty (Wales) – 15 CJ Stander (Ireland) – 14
SEYMOUR OF THAT
Scotland ran in eight tries in their hugely impressive triumph over Fiji as Tommy Seymour notched a hat-trick at BT Murrayfield.
A whole host of players stood out for Gregor Townsend’s side, including 23-year-old Sam Skinner on debut. The Exeter Chiefs man made ten carries in the tie, completed all seven tackles he attempted and made one clean break in the match.
Stuart Hogg equally rose to the challenge, returning from injury in fine style with ten runs in the match, three defenders beaten, and 50 metres made.
But it was Seymour that grabbed the headlines with his hat-trick after the break as the Glasgow Warriors man proved unstoppable against the Fijians.
The 30-year-old wing made nine runs, 33 metres, two clean breaks and beat three defenders throughout the match.
Selected defenders beaten Jonny May (England) – 5 Jordan Larmour (Ireland) – 5 Teddy Thomas (France) – 5 Mathieu Bastareaud (France) – 4 Pete Horne (Scotland) – 4 Michele Campagnaro (Italy) – 4 Tommy Seymour (Scotland) – 3