Rugby Union


Six Nations: Five players hoping to finish as top try scorer

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England and Ireland are leading the way after two rounds of Six Nations fixtures, but which players are vying to finish as the tournament’s top try scorer?

With two wins and a bonus point apiece, England and Ireland remain on course to fight it out for glory in the final round of fixtures at Twickenham on March 17.

To ensure that a St. Patrick’s Grand Slam showdown remains on the cards, England must be victorious on trips to Scotland and France, while Ireland must defeat both Wales and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

But while those two nations lead the way in the standings, the race to end up as the tournament's top try scorer remains as open and unpredictable as ever.

Eight players could not be separated with three tries each last year, but can anyone break ranks this time around?

Here's a look at five players hoping to carry their side not only over the line, but to victory as well.

Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)

Leigh Halfpenny's starting spot was up for debate going into the tournament, but after playing a starring role against Scotland, his absence was certainly felt at Twickenham as a foot infection ruled him out of the England clash at the 11th hour.

Despite the setback, the Scarlets No 15 is expected to return for their upcoming game in Ireland, where he will look to add to the two tries he scored against Scotland on the opening weekend.

Wales head into the match at the Aviva Stadium as underdogs, but looking forward, the final two games - at home to Italy and then France on the final day - will have Halfpenny licking his lips at the prospect of crossing over on multiple occasions, as well as kicking further points with his boot.

The visit of Italy in particular offers Halfpenny the perfect opportunity to pass the 700-point mark for Wales, with the Swansea-born star having taken 671 points in 75 appearances to date.

Wales v Scotland - NatWest Six Nations

Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)

Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale must have feared it wasn’t his afternoon after failing to score any of Ireland’s first six tries against Italy last Saturday, but the 21-year-old rallied to complete the rout with a second-half double.

Stockdale carried for a match-high 132 metres against Italy, leaving six defenders in his wake, though it will only get tougher for him and Ireland as they prepare to host Wales and Scotland before heading to England.

And with centre Robbie Henshaw ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, the pressure piles onto Stockdale's shoulders – in what is his debut campaign - as Ireland look to end their three-year wait for Six Nations glory.

Ireland v Italy - NatWest Six Nations

Jonny May (England)

Jonny May is England’s top ball-carrier of the tournament to date (28 carries in two games), and it was his two first-half tries against Wales which ensured Eddie Jones’ side made it two wins from two, albeit in edgy fashion.

The Leicester Tigers wing has been far from prolific since making his test debut in 2013, having crossed over 10 times in 29 tests going into the Six Nations, but his double against the Welsh will hand the 29-year-old a fresh belief that he can play a pivotal role in England securing a second Grand Slam in three years.

Awkward trips to Scotland and France will likely see try-scoring opportunities arrive in short supply for England – May and his fellow backs must be clinical when any half-chance presents itself.


Anthony Watson (England)

Two tries against Italy made for a perfect start to the 2018 campaign for Anthony Watson, who picked up just the solitary try in last year’s tournament.

The England wing made more than 10 metres per carry against Italy, but was unable to take that impressive display into the tense affair against Wales as he picked up a knock early in the second half.

England coach Jones confirmed Watson should be fit and raring to go for the Scotland clash next Saturday, and the man who started all three of the Lions’ encounters in New Zealand last year will be desperate to return to his try-scoring ways at Murrayfield.

When Watson performs, England excel – only once have England failed to win when the 23-year-old has gone over.

England Open Training Session

Huw Jones (Scotland)

The boot of Greig Laidlaw may have kicked Scotland to an enthralling comeback victory over France, but it was Huw Jones' deficit-reducing try which handed them belief going into the second period.

A late Maxime Machenaud penalty did extend France's lead to 20-14 at the break, but Jones' superbly angled run and subsequent finish under the posts had Murrayfield on its feet and confident of a strong second 40 – which was promptly delivered by the plucky Scots.

Scotland v France - NatWest Six Nations

Jones may be among 17 players with one try to their name this tournament, but the Glasgow Warriors centre is one of the standout members in that pack, having evidently carried on the form which saw him score in all three Autumn Internationals against Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.

He can only hope for an equally as telling contribution in the upcoming games against England and Ireland, but it’s the final-round fixture against Italy in Rome which offers him the greatest opportunity to add to his tally.

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