Will the Guinness Six Nations try record be broken this year?

Louis Rees-Zammit scores his sides second try despite Tadhg Furlong 7/2/2021
The 2021 Guinness Six Nations has seen plenty of dramatic and historic moments through the first two rounds but are we on course for the most tries by a single player in a Championship record to be broken?

The 2021 Guinness Six Nations has seen plenty of dramatic and historic moments through the first two rounds but are we on course for the most tries by a single player in a Championship record to be broken?

We take a look at the prospects of that record falling this year, as well as some other milestones that have been hit so far.

What is the current record?

The current record for most tries in a single Five or Six Nations campaign is held by Jacob Stockdale, who crossed seven times en route to being named Player of the Championship back in 2018.

The Ireland winger didn’t actually score in Round 1 that year but dotted down twice in Rounds 2, 3 and 4 before crossing on the stroke of half-time in Round 5 against England for the record-breaking seventh try and helping his team clinch a Grand Slam.

The fact that Stockdale only had two tries to his name heading into the first rest week will give this year’s crop hope of breaking that record, especially Louis Rees-Zammit – who has three tries after two games.

The Welsh wing wizard scored a brilliant match-winning try in the Round 1 victory over Ireland before crossing twice in the narrow win over Scotland at the weekend, meaning just four more tries in the final three rounds will see him match Stockdale’s record with five the magic number to break it.

Rees-Zammit’s attempt to make history – in his first Guinness Six Nations no less – with be a fascinating sub-plot over the next few weeks, while even the trio of players with two tries currently to their name could fancy their chances of getting themselves in the mix.

England’s Anthony Watson, France’s Teddy Thomas and Scotland’s Stuart Hogg are all proven world-class finishers, so any one of them scoring six tries in the final three games to break the record isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

In fact, Hogg is coached by a man used to making try-scoring history, as Gregor Townsend became the first Scot since 1925 to score a try against every other country in a single Five Nations back in 1999.

What other milestones have been or could be reached this year?

Rees-Zammit’s heroics in his first two Guinness Six Nations contests, combined with his tender age, prompted speculation that he could end up being the man to break Wales’s all-time try-scoring record later in his career.

That’s currently held by the great Shane Williams, who crossed the whitewash 58 times between 2000 and 2011, although the man himself warned against heaping too much pressure on the youngster after just four international tries.

As Williams alludes to in his tweet, George North may well be the man to break his record – the winger-turned-centre crossing for his 42nd Wales try during the Round 1 victory over Ireland, leaving him 16 short.

North is still only 28 years old – a fact that is easy to forget given his 102 international caps for Wales and the British & Irish Lions – so he should have plenty of time left to increase his tally further.

The Welshman has 21 tries in the Championship and one more will move him joint-third with Williams on the all-time list (regardless of nationality), while record holder Brian O’Driscoll is also within his sights on 26.

North isn’t the only winger climbing the all-time lists after Jonny May took sole possession of second place on England’s try rankings thanks to his acrobatic, diving finish against Italy in Round 2.

It was May’s 32nd try, taking him clear of Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood, meaning only the great Rory Underwood is now ahead of him – albeit still 17 clear, having dotted down 49 times between 1984 and 1996.

Watching May and North continuing to climb their respective lists will be something for rugby fans to enjoy not only for the rest of the Championship but moving forward as well.