Stats review: Six Nations sides round off vintage autumn

Hamish Watson 17/3/2018
It was a weekend to savour for the cream of the Six Nations crop in the final round of autumn Tests, with four sides claiming impressive and contrasting victories.

It was a weekend to savour for the cream of the Six Nations crop in the final round of autumn Tests, with four sides claiming impressive and contrasting victories.

Scotland outwitted Argentina in the wet, while England marshalled their powerful back division to great effect and closed out their November with victory over Australia.

Wales, runners-up in the 2018 Six Nations, will enter the 2019 edition of Rugby’s Greatest Championship with momentum after beating South Africa and Ireland outlasted USA.

Here’s a deeper look at the numbers behind the results and which individuals stood out across the weekend’s action.


Joe Cokanasiga’s display of raw power against the Wallabies augurs superbly for England, with Eddie Jones poised to further unleash the winger in the 2019 Six Nations.

The Bath flier broke the game open with two remarkable runs in the space of four minutes, a brace of bursts that made up 75 of the 107 metres he made.

He beat three men on his try-scoring burst on 56 minutes, brushed off Dane Haylett-Petty and split the defensive line to dot down under the posts.

A further four were left in the dust on the hour mark as the 21-year-old showed his fancy feet, crashed through Haylett-Petty again only to be dragged down by Michael Hooper.

In two moments, Cokanasiga beat more defenders than any Six Nations star – apart from Garry Ringrose, who ran 119 metres and beat eight defenders in Ireland’s win over USA.

Red Rose colleague Elliot Daly made 82 metres from ten carries, while November bolter Mark Wilson trucked up 17 times and is a contender for back-row minutes in the Six Nations.

Most metres made Garry Ringrose (Ireland) – 119  Joe Cokanasiga (England) – 107 Louis Picamoles (France) – 106 Elliot Daly (England) – 82 Mark Wilson (England) – 68

Most defenders beaten Garry Ringrose – 8 (Ireland)  Joe Cokanasiga (England) – 7 Tito Tebaldi (Italy) – 6 Elliot Daly (England) – 5 George North (Wales) – 4


If Hamish Watson wasn’t quite confident of being the man in possession of Scotland’s seven jersey for the third successive Six Nations, he will be after an outstanding autumn.

A starter on the blindside in nine of his country’s last ten outings in Rugby’s Greatest Championship, Watson crunched through the challenges in a scrappy win over Argentina.

Only Watson’s Tartan team-mates Jonny Gray and Jamie Ritchie, who stepped in at seven for the convincing win over Fiji, came close to matching his tackle count.

Now the challenge for the Edinburgh man is to provide the ball-carrying grunt Gregor Townsend is searching for in the back row – he carried nine times for only six metres.

Most tackles made Hamish Watson (Scotland) – 20  Jonny Gray (Scotland) – 19  Jamie Ritchie (Scotland) – 18 Aaron Wainwright (Wales) – 16  Jake Polledri (Italy) – 15


In their efforts to secure a fourth win from four autumn Tests, Wales knew they needed to win the set-piece battle and lay a platform to stand a chance of beating South Africa.

The metronomic accuracy of Ken Owens’ throwing saw the Scarlets hooker find his man on seven occasions and provided his side with plenty of go-forward ball.

Whether they sensed the vulnerability of the Springbok lineout – that succumbed under pressure against England earlier this month – or not, it worked a treat.

The Welsh scrum functioned superbly, as well, a solid set-piece move from the base of the scrum setting Liam Williams free for the second try of the day.

Most successful lineouts Wales – 12/12 England – 9/9  Scotland – 8/10  Italy – 8/11 Ireland – 9/12