Wales sit top of the Six Nations 2021 table following victory over England in a memorable match at the Principality Stadium.

Ireland, meanwhile, leapfrogged England and Scotland — whose match was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the France camp — with their first win of the Championship.

How did Wales and Ireland secure victory? We run the numbers to find out…

Faletau drives Wales forward as England’s indiscipline continues

Wales wrapped up the Triple Crown with an eventful 40-24 victory over England and there was one man — in red — who stole the show in Cardiff.

Taulupe Faletau has been back to his devastating best during the Six Nations 2021, and finished the match having made more carries (18) than any player on the pitch, for 122 metres with ball in hand. Opposite number, Billy Vunipola was the only other player to make more than a century of metres (123).

British and Irish Lions number eight, Faletau also made 14 tackles during his Player of the Match performance, with only Josh Navidi (15) and England’s Tom Curry (18) making more. 

Faletau is now second on the list for carries (38) and tackles (53) made during this year’s Championship and has helped to propel Wales into Grand Slam contention.

England’s propensity to concede penalties continued in Cardiff, where they did so on 14 occasions, to Wales’ nine. Eddie Jones’ side have now conceded 41 penalties in this year’s Six Nations, the same number as Italy.

Maro Itoje was the chief offender on Saturday, finding himself on the wrong side of referee Pascal Gaüzère’s whistle five times. He has now conceded 10 penalties across three Championship games, four more than Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones and Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne.

Connors seizes his opportunity, Lowe too hot to handle

Ireland fans finally had something to cheer on Saturday as Andy Farrell’s team ran in six tries in Rome to beat Italy 48-10.

Flanker Will Connors marked his first start of this year’s Championship with two tries, from seven carries, and it was a standout performance on both sides of the ball from the Leinster man. 

Connors proved himself to be an adept support runner for his first try at the Stadio Olimpico, while his second was a more routine effort for a forward. 

However, as an openside flanker, his bread and butter is defence and he did that exceptionally well too. James Ryan was the only Irishman to contribute more tackles (19) than Connors’ 14.

One player who may feel unfortunate not to have got himself on the scoresheet in Rome is James Lowe, who made a mammoth 125 metres from eight carries down Ireland’s left wing.

Lowe, who had a second-half try chalked off for a Craig Casey forward pass, has amassed 347 metres with ball in hand during the Six Nations 2021, 41m more than his closest challenger, team-mate Garry Ringrose — who scored Ireland’s first try in Rome as he added 100m to that tally.

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