The first round of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations is in the books and it was a great weekend for the wingers across the three matches.
Ireland debutant Mack Hansen, Scotland livewire Darcy Graham and French pocket rocket Gabin Villière all stood out and have been nominated for the Guinness Six Nations Player of Round 1, along with Scotland No.8 Matt Fagerson.
So after a weekend in which Ireland, Scotland and France got off to a winning start, it is now your turn to decide who was the best performer of the lot.
MACK HANSEN – IRELAND 29-7 Wales
What a dream debut for Mack Hansen, the Connacht winger settled into international rugby with aplomb against Wales. Receiving the ball in space with barely a minute on the clock, it was his break that set up Bundee Aki’s first try in Dublin, with the winger also throwing the final pass for his provincial colleague.
And he was not done there, Hansen racked up 149 metres with ball in hand, the most of any player in Round 1, while also breaking three tackles in an all-action display.
DARCY GRAHAM – SCOTLAND 20-17 England
He might be the complete opposite of wing partner Duhan van der Merwe but Darcy Graham demonstrated on Saturday that there is still space for the little man in the game. It was his break after being unleashed by Stuart Hogg that set up Ben White for the game’s opening try, Graham making it into a two-on-one by stepping past Joe Marchant before putting in the scrum-half.
It was also Finn Russell’s cross-kick to Graham, illegally batted into touch by Luke Cowan-Dickie, that led to Scotland’s penalty try to draw level.
And after one near miss at an attempted turnover earlier in the game, Graham made the decisive play at the death to seal the 20-17 success.
MATT FAGERSON – SCOTLAND 20-17 England
Scotland were always going to have to match England up front if they were to come out victorious at BT Murrayfield, and No.8 Matt Fagerson played a major role in ensuring they did so. Scotland’s go-to carrier in the pack, Fagerson racked up 53 metres with ball in hand, a total only bettered by his wingers – an impressive feat considering how many of his eight carries were in tight.
Fagerson also led the charge in a sterling defensive effort, making 13 and missing none as England were restricted to just six tackle breaks all game despite dominating possession.
GABIN VILLIÈRE – FRANCE 37-10 Italy
It had been 14 years since a Frenchman scored a hat-trick in the Guinness Six Nations, but Gabin Villière imitated Vincent Clerc in style on Sunday against Italy.
The former Sevens star probably did not expect to get many chances considering the damp conditions, but the ball came his way often and he took full advantage.
A spectacular early take under a high ball showed that Villière was here to play, and he grabbed his first try right at the end of the first half with a slide into the corner. A second followed after the break, racing onto the shoulder of Grégory Alldritt, collecting his offload and then mesmerising his way past Edoardo Padovani to score.
And there was just enough time for him to complete his hat-trick, Yoram Moefana putting him over in the final play of the game to cap off a 37-10 success.
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