France remain in the hunt for the Six Nations 2021 Championship following a dramatic victory over Wales in Paris, which ended their visitors’ Grand Slam hopes.
Ireland rounded off their campaign with victory over England in Dublin, while Scotland warmed up for Friday’s rearranged match at Stade de France with an eight-try defeat of Italy.
But, where were the matches won and lost? We run the numbers to find out…
Dulin dazzles as France break Welsh hearts
Brice Dulin was ultimately the man who extinguished Wales’ Grand Slam hopes, as he exploited the space created by Gaël Fickou and Arthur Vincent to score the match-winning try in the final play in Paris.
It was not a difficult finish for the full-back, but it was one that capped a fine, Player of the Match performance at Stade de France.
Dulin finished the match having broken 11 tackles while making 138 metres from 12 carries. It was his 14th-minute chip over the Welsh defence, meanwhile, that found Matthieu Jalibert, who fed Antoine Dupont to score Les Bleus’ excellent second try.
No player on the pitch in Paris made more metres or evaded more tackles than Dulin, although his team-mate Virimi Vakatawa put in a bruising shift with ball in hand, making 119 metres from 15 carries.
Wales came within seconds of claiming the Grand Slam, and were led superbly again by their indefatigable captain Alun Wyn Jones, who made 22 tackles while contributing 11 carries to the attacking effort.
No player in red or blue made more tackles than Jones, although France captain Charles Ollivon and number eight Grégory Alldritt each put their body on the line with 21.
Henshaw excels as Ireland beat England
Given the final score and the apparent dominance that Ireland enjoyed against England on Saturday, it may come as a surprise that the visitors spent almost three times as much time in the opposition 22 as their hosts did.
Ireland, though, were extremely clinical at the Aviva Stadium, averaging five points for every visit to the English 22, as opposed to their opponents’ two.
It was a performance built on the steadying influence of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray at half-back, who kicked away possession — the pair kicked a combined 530 metres — but did so in a controlled manner.
That gave the hosts a platform from which Robbie Henshaw, reunited with Bundee Aki until his former Connacht team-mate’s red card, could put in a Player of the Match performance.
Henshaw made 10 carries into heavy traffic, beat two defenders and provided one offload in attack, while contributing eight tackles, one of which was dominant, and winning a turnover in defence.
On his final Ireland appearance, meanwhile, CJ Stander made 35 metres from eight carries, beating two defenders, and missed none of his 10 tackles on defence.
For England, Maro Itoje once again led the efforts to turn the tide with 14 tackles, while Mark Wilson made 13 and Tom Curry 11 — four of which were dominant.
Van der Merwe, Jones and Watson shine in Edinburgh sunshine
Duhan van der Merwe will have enjoyed himself at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon as he played a key role in Scotland’s biggest ever Six Nations win.
The Edinburgh winger made 192 metres from 10 carries, and broke free of 13 attempted tackles in the act of scoring two of his side’s eight tries.
Only Huw Jones, who made an incredible 217 metres from 14 carries, made more ground with ball in hand for Scotland. Jones also made 10 tackles in the match, second only to Matt Fagerson from a Scottish perspective.
Player of the Match Hamish Watson also enjoyed a busy afternoon under the Edinburgh sun. The back-row provided a try assist and made 83 metres from 14 carries during his 66 minutes on the pitch.
It was a tough afternoon to be wearing the light blue of Italy, a fact that was borne out by the number of tackles the visitors got through.
Second-row Niccolo Cannone topped the tackle stats with 25, while number eight Michele Lamaro made 23 and replacement prop Giosue Zilocchi completed 16 in just 47 minutes on the pitch.