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The Breakdown: a statistical look at round two of the Six Nations

Rugby | Six Nations

The Breakdown: a statistical look at round two of the Six Nations

The Breakdown: A statistical look at round two of the Six Nations

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As the leading sides in Europe do battle in the Six Nations, we preview the second round of matches.

Wales stole the show on the opening weekend of the 2018 Six Nations with their shock demolition of Scotland, but they head to Twickenham needing to halt England's fine home record.

Warren Gatland's men made light of a lengthy injury list to hammer their visitors 34-7 in Cardiff, while England were 46-15 victors over Italy in Rome.

Scotland will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing showing when they take on France at home, although history suggests they may be waiting a while for their next Murrayfield win over Les Bleus.

In the weekend's remaining Test, Ireland host Italy in a fixture for which all the statistics point to a comfortable home win.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the best stats ahead of the second round of matches.

 

Ireland’s Iain Henderson in action with France’s Yacouba Camara.

Ireland’s Iain Henderson in action with France’s Yacouba Camara.

Ireland v Italy

The omens are not good for Italy, who have won just two of their 45 away fixtures in Six Nations history and have never been victorious in the second round of matches.

The Azzurri could equal their own record for the most consecutive defeats in the competition (13) and Ireland have won the last four fixtures between these sides by an average margin of 40 points.

Italy coach Conor O'Shea will be relieved to see CJ Stander drop to the bench - the Ireland number eight made the most carries of any player on the opening weekend (24). Sebastian Negri (18) was second.

Anthony Watson of England dives over for his second try during the NatWest Six Nations match between Italy and England in Rome.

Anthony Watson of England dives over for his second try during the NatWest Six Nations match between Italy and England in Rome.

Sergio Parisse is 94 metres away from becoming the first player to gain 3,000m in the Six Nations - he has made 94m and above at least once against each nation in the championship, except for Ireland.

 

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend at the NatWest 6 Nations game between Wales and Scotland at Principality Stadium on February 3, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend at the NatWest 6 Nations game between Wales and Scotland at Principality Stadium on February 3, 2018 in Cardiff, Wales.

England v Wales

England have won their last 14 home matches in the Six Nations - a run that started following a 19-12 defeat to Wales at Twickenham in 2012.

Five of the last seven Six Nations matches between these sides have been decided by the margin of a converted try or less, with the last three being won by England by five or four points.

Danny Care will become England's most capped scrum-half and has been involved in nine tries in his last nine appearances, despite starting only four of those matches.

Wales wing Steff Evans (103) was the only player to gain more than 100 metres on the opening weekend, while Josh Navidi managed to win a round-high three turnovers.

 

Scotland v France

Despite their chastening defeat at the hands of Wales last weekend, Scotland come into this match in fine home form, having won seven of their last eight matches at Murrayfield. New Zealand are the only side to win in Edinburgh during that period.

That said, Scotland have generally had to wait 10 years between home wins over France in the Five/Six Nations - their last three have come in 1996, 2006 and 2016.

The fixture boasts an average aggregate score of only 37, making it the lowest-scoring in the competition's history.

France were beaten 15-13 by Ireland on the opening weekend - making a record 253 tackles - and claimed the wooden spoon on the only other occasion they lost their first two matches of the Six Nations (2013).

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