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Dazzling Duhan and Liquid Lowe: Weekend in numbers

Dazzling Duhan and Liquid Lowe: Weekend in numbers

Duhan van der Merwe fantasy

There were no shortage of impressive individual displays over the opening weekend of the Autumn Nations Cup.

Whether it was familiar faces like Jamie George, debutants such as James Lowe or the likes of Duhan van der Merwe looking to cement their places on the international scene, Round 1’s three fixtures provided plenty of choice when it came to standout performances.

There were also positives in losing causes for Italy and Georgia, both of whom will be looking to build on promising weekends and saw several players show what they are capable of.

All three games provided statistics that jump off the page – let’s cast an eye over the numbers behind the action…

143 – metres made by Duhan van der Merwe

Believe the hype. Duhan van der Merwe has been terrorising defences in an Edinburgh jersey in recent years and the early signs suggest he can do likewise at international level.

His score in Florence on Saturday, hitting a great line to dart over from close range, brought his Scotland tally to two in as many starts and helped the visitors to a 28-17 win – their fifth victory in a row.

The 25-year-old was in fine form with ball in hand across the 80 minutes and made 143 metres from his eight carries to add bite to Scotland’s attack.

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He also used his power to join the rolling maul which sent George Turner over the line for Scotland’s fourth try late on in a sign of his adaptable skills.

Van der Merwe may be new to international rugby but he has not taken long to acclimatise and will relish the challenge France will provide next weekend.

10 – carries by James Lowe

Another wing who looks here to stay on the international stage is Ireland’s James Lowe, who popped up all over the pitch in a fantastic debut on Friday night.

The Leinster star – who, like Van der Merwe, has recently qualified for his adopted nation on residency grounds – made 10 carries against Wales at the Aviva Stadium, regularly coming off his wing to stay in the thick of the action and help his side make hard yards.

That tally was the joint-highest in the Ireland team along with player of the match Caelan Doris and Lowe made 85 metres from his carries, as well as crossing for a late try to cap a fine display.

Lowe showed he was up for the battle from the outset in an early altercation with Liam Williams and looks an excellent addition to the options at Andy Farrell’s disposal.

2 – turnovers won by Danilo Fischetti

Italy ended on the losing side in Florence but few did more in their attempts to prevent that than prop Danilo Fischetti, who put in an all-action display.

His two turnover wins – which both came within the space of five first-half minutes – were more than anybody else on the field and he embarked on 10 carries, making 39 metres in the process.

Fischetti was also a dominant force in the scrum for an Italian side who scored one of the tries of the weekend when a series of neat offloads ended with Matteo Minozzi crossing.

It can be hard for front-rowers to stand out but Fischetti did just that on Saturday and will look forward to fronting up against Fiji in Round 2.

44 – metres kicked by Jamie George

OK, the three tries scored by Jamie George were probably more influential when it came to both the result at Twickenham and the destination of the player of the match award.

But perhaps the more eye-catching statistic is seeing 44 in the ‘metres kicked’ column for a player wearing the No.2 shirt. After all, who doesn’t enjoy seeing a front-rower putting boot to ball?

George clearly enjoyed his grubber kick himself, digging out a picture for the obligatory post-match Instagram post.


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Away from the kick, the 30-year-old put in a superb display in England’s 40-0 success. Three of his five carries ended in tries as he recorded his first international hat-trick while he was also successful with all six of his tackles and accurate at the lineout.

19 – tackles made by Taulupe Faletau

Friday night turned into a long one for Wales, who had to repel Ireland attacks for large parts of the contest at the Aviva Stadium.

At the forefront of their rearguard action was Taulupe Faletau, who put in 19 tackles in Dublin – more than any other player over the weekend.

His tackle success rate was 100 per cent and his efforts were backed up by his fellow back-rowers, with Shane Lewis-Hughes and Justin Tipuric making 18 and 15 tackles respectively.

Wales will hope to kick-start their tournament against Georgia next week and can take heart from a determined display by their formidable No.8.

40 – metres made by Otari Giorgadze

Georgia’s back-rowers all showed their carrying capabilities at Twickenham and Otari Giorgadze was particularly strong, making 40 metres from six carries having only come off the bench with 21 minutes to play.

The man he replaced, Beka Gorgadze, also made 40 metres on Saturday – as did openside flanker Giorgi Tkhilaishvili – while inside centre Merab Sharikadze was his side’s most threatening back with ball in hand as he made 42 metres from his three carries.

Giorgadze, who plays his club rugby for Brive in the French Top 14, will hope his useful cameo may earn him a starting berth for next week’s trip to Parc y Scarlets and his side will be quietly confident of making an impression against an out of sorts Welsh outfit.

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