The Guinness Six Nations kicked off with a bang over the weekend as Wales put Italy to the sword in Cardiff; Ireland repelled the brave Scots in Dublin; and England slumped against a new-look French outfit in Paris.
Wales U20 let slip the lead against Italy and were unable to claw it back as they lost 7-17 at Stadiwm Zip World, while Ireland U20 defeated their Scottish rivals 38-26. England U20 fared better than their senior side, who snatched victory with a 79th minute try, to end the game 24-29.
Wales Women suffered an opening defeat against Italy, who scored two tries in quick succession to race out in front, and the hosts at Cardiff Arms Park were unable to overcome the deficit, eventually losing 15-19. England Women ran out 13-19 winners against France in Pau, while Ireland Women held on at Donnybrook to claim their first victory of the championship.
So how did our own players get on during Wales' opening games against the Azzurri?
Alun Wyn Jones
- The captain played the full 80 minutes and made 16 tackles against Italy, with a success rate of 100%.
- He also made six tackle assists and one dominant tackle.
- At Wales' own rucks, Jones made his presence felt 19 times, 17 of which he was among the first three Welsh player to arrive and cleared out the opposition on six occasions.
- He also hit opposition rucks seven times and won lineout ball on three occasions.
- Jones has now overtaken both Gethin Jenkins and JPR Williams' Welsh Championship record, with 35 victories.
- The Ospreys captain was outstanding at the Principality Stadium, also playing the full 80.
- He made 13 metres in his three carries, crossing the gain line on each occasion.
- The openside made 20 tackles without missing a single one and managed to turn the ball over once.
- The most staggering statistic is his attacking ruck arrivals, securing Wales the ball on no fewer than 27 occasions, 8 more than any other player in the squad. He also participated in eight defensive rucks.
- Tipuric's performance gained him the player of the match accolade.
- The Ospreys winger made his fifth international start at outside centre and played in the midfield for the full 80 minutes.
- The big man powered over the whitewash after 76 minutes, taking his tally up to 40 tries for wales, equalling the record of Gareth Thomas.
- His 20th Six Nations takes him to 200 points in the championship, just three tries shy of equalling Shane Williams' Six Nations record.