Round 2 of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations delivered yet more rugby drama heading into the first rest week of this year’s Championship, where we can all catch our breath.
England bounced back from Round 1 disappointment with a 41-18 triumph over Italy, Wales edged 14-man Scotland 25-24 in a thriller at BT Murrayfield before France stayed on track for a Grand Slam with a hard-fought 15-13 victory over Ireland in Dublin.
Plenty of individuals put in impressive performances and we’ve selected four men to be in the running for the Guinness Six Nations Player of Round 2.
Now it’s up to you, the fans, to decide who earns the gong by voting below. And here’s a reminder of what they did on the opening weekend.
A sublime attacking performance from Anthony Watson helped spark England into life at Twickenham, as he crossed for two tries in the defeat of Italy.
One of those was a cheeky interception score, with the other a smooth finish coming in from his wing to send covering Azzurri defenders the wrong way.
He finished with 160.5 metres to his name – the highest of any player in Round 2 – while also topping the average distance per carry charts with 22.9m and ending joint top of the tackle breaks rankings (6).
A week after being starved of possession in the defeat to Scotland, Watson was an attacking lynchpin as England got off the mark.
Only 20 years old but Louis Rees-Zammit already looks like he belongs on the international stage and legends-turned-pundits Jonathan Davies and Jeremy Guscott weren’t wrong when saying a star had been born during Wales’ narrow victory over 14-man Scotland.
He got a try in the first half before a simply exquisite match-winning score after the break – racing down the wing before chipping the ball over Stuart Hogg, gathering and dotting down – to take his Championship tally to three in two games.
No-one made more linebreaks in Round 2 than Rees-Zammit’s three, while he also ranked in the top five for average distance per carry (10.9m) and average distance per kick (44.4m), showing what an impressive all-round game he already has.
Having been named Player of the Championship in the Autumn Nations Cup, Brice Dulin is now bringing his talents to bear on the Guinness Six Nations stage as France go in search of a Grand Slam.
The full-back was flawless under the high ball against Ireland – and you rarely win in Dublin without being so – while also producing a try assist with a perfectly-timed pass out to Damian Penaud for a crucial score.
He made 60 metres on just eight carries, broke four tackles and was accurate in his clearing kicks when needed. A superb all-round display from Dulin that saw him named Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match.
France’s captain fantastic played a crucial role once again as Les Bleus were made to work hard before eventually sealing a first victory in Dublin for a decade.
No-one in the Guinness Six Nations made more tackles than his 19 in Round 2, while he also hit 29 attacking breakdowns (fourth highest of Round 2), topped the chart for cleanouts (10) and was almost unbeatable at the lineout with seven takes on his own team’s throw, a high for the Round.
In addition to that often-unnoticed dirty work, the skipper also grabbed France’s first try when he went over in the corner following Dupont’s initial break and Matthieu Jalibert’s pass.