Ireland Men: Who Did What 2021 Six Nations

Published Categorised as 2020-21, Editorial, International Rugby Men, Ireland Men, Six Nations Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Ireland vs France ©INPHO/James Crombie

The 2021 Six Nations was unique in that it was the first, and hopefully only, Six Nations tournament to be played, in totality, during a global pandemic. The teams trained in their individual isolation bubbles and there were no crowds in attendance.

Ireland won 3 of their five games, picking up 3 bonus points over the tournament for a 60% match points pick up.

Round 1Wales21 – 16IrelandCardiff
Round 2Ireland13 – 15FranceDublin
Round 3Italy10 – 48IrelandRome
Round 4Scotland24 – 27IrelandEdinburgh
Round 5Ireland32 – 18EnglandDublin

At the time of writing Ireland are placed second in the Six Nations Table (below) but it is possible that they could finish anywhere between 2nd and 4th depending on the result in the rearranged fixture between France and Scotland which is to be played on Friday 26th March at 20:00.

2021 Six Nations Standings at 25 March 2021

Players Used

Ireland coach Andy Farrell called on 32 players throughout the tournament. The overall makeup saw 19 Leinster, 7 Munster, 4 Ulster and 2 Connacht players named in the squads who clocked up 5,921 minutes played, following 2 red cards and 1 yellow card, over the tournament.

Minutes Played

The provincial breakdown by minutes played is shown below. (Connacht clock in at 1.5%, it’s slice of the pie too small to show the number!)

2021 Six Nations. Minutes Played by Province

Only one player played every minute of all five games with Hugo Keenan claiming that honour in his first Six Nations series. The departing CJ Stander put in a full shift in his final appearances only missing out on 17 minutes on the pitch over the 5 games.

Ulster’s most used player was Iain Henderson who averaged over 65 minutes per game.

Hugo Keenan400
CJ Stander383
Robbie Henshaw378
Tadhg Beirne376
Keith Earls330
Iain Henderson326
Garry Ringrose320
Johnny Sexton309
James Lowe307
Rob Herring280
Team Total5921
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Minutes Played

Points Scored

Ireland scored a total of 136 points, the points coming from 12 tries, 11 conversions (92% conversion rate) and 18 penalties.

Unsurprisingly, Johnny Sexton tops the table with 65 points scored from 10 conversions and 15 penalties. Billy Burns was the only Ulster scorer in the tournament with 6 points from 2 penalties.

Keith Earls, Tadhg Beirne and Will Connors were the leading try scorers with 2 each.

Johnny Sexton3090101565
Keith Earls33020010
Tadhg Beirne37620010
Will Connors19520010
Billy Burns720026
CJ Stander3831005
Garry Ringrose3201005
Hugo Keenan4001005
Jack Conan1131005
Robbie Henshaw3781005
Ronan Kelleher1211005
Ross Byrne410115
Team Totals5921121118136
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Points Scored

Meters Carried

James Lowe made the most ground with the ball in hand and made the most distance per carry. You can make your own call as to how effective those carries were, but, compared to the likes of Earls, it would be hard to argue that the Munster veteran didn’t have more successful outcomes at the end of his carries.

Henderson was Ulsters main carrier and was the third highest placed forward, who made their carries in the heavy traffic. Stander was the leading carrier, amongst the forwards, not only taking on the most carries but also generating the most distance per carry.

James Lowe3074334210.3
Hugo Keenan400364477.7
Garry Ringrose320358448.1
CJ Stander383346724.8
Robbie Henshaw378304634.8
Tadhg Beirne376213504.3
Keith Earls330182257.3
Tadhg Furlong218133314.3
Iain Henderson326125333.8
Jamison Gibson-Park231113195.9
Team Totals592136566565.6
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Meters Carried


I found the number of offloads completed by Ireland particularly disappointing. They completed a total of 19 which works out at less than 4 per game. For comparison, France have completed 39 offloads in their 4 matches to date.

Garry Ringrose3203
Robbie Henshaw3783
Tadhg Beirne3763
CJ Stander3832
Johnny Sexton3092
James Lowe3071
James Ryan1751
Jamison Gibson-Park2311
Jordan Larmour861
Tadhg Furlong2181
Will Connors1951
Team Totals592119
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Offloads Completed

Meters Kicked

Lowe also tops the meters kicked as well as the meters carried though over half of that total came against France where he was used for clearance kicks in preference to Ulster player Burns.

James Lowe3071058
Jamison Gibson-Park231854
Johnny Sexton309669
Conor Murray150561
Hugo Keenan400299
Billy Burns72177
Garry Ringrose320139
Robbie Henshaw378107
Jordan Larmour8687
Keith Earls33045
Team Totals59214040
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Meters Kicked

Lineout Success

Ulster’s Henderson was the main go to jumper in the lineouts, closely followed by Beirne. James Ryan would have had a similar total if he had been available for more minutes. Despite only being available for just over two games Ryan was the most disruptive on opponents put ins with 3 steals.

Iain Henderson32612113
Tadhg Beirne37610212
James Ryan175639
Ryan Baird43303
Jack Conan113202
Rhys Ruddock80202
CJ Stander383123
Robbie Henshaw378101
Team Totals592137845
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Lineout Success

Tackles Made

The redoubtable Stander clocked up the most tackles over the series though Connors and Ryan have a higher success rate. As you would expect, 8 of the top 10 tacklers are forwards with only Robbie Henshaw and Sexton hitting those heights for the backs.

Henderson, is once again the shining light for Ulster and Rob Herring also makes the top 10.

CJ Stander38347394%
Iain Henderson32641785%
Robbie Henshaw37840785%
Tadhg Beirne37639295%
Will Connors19537197%
Rob Herring28034587%
James Ryan17532197%
Andrew Porter18330391%
Johnny Sexton30930488%
Cian Healy25629976%
Team Totals59216179287%
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Tackles Made

Turnovers Won

Beirne was lauded throughout the tournament for his breakdown work and it shows in the number of turnovers won with the Munster player well ahead of second placed Henderson.

However, Ireland’s average of just under seven turnovers per game is some distance behind those they conceded.

Tadhg Beirne37610
Iain Henderson3266
CJ Stander3835
James Ryan1753
Robbie Henshaw3782
Ronan Kelleher1212
Cian Healy2561
Garry Ringrose3201
Jack Conan1131
Keith Earls3301
Rob Herring2801
Tadhg Furlong2181
Team Totals592134
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Turnovers Won

Turnovers Conceded

Ireland conceded 60% more turnovers than they won, which is surprising, and Lowe was the main culprit which somewhat blighted his overall contribution.

James Lowe30710
Garry Ringrose3206
Keith Earls3306
Johnny Sexton3094
Iain Henderson3263
Tadhg Beirne3763
Billy Burns722
Cian Healy2562
Jamison Gibson-Park2312
Jordan Larmour862
Josh van der Flier1892
Ronan Kelleher1212
Team Totals592155
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Turnovers Conceded

Penalties Conceded

An average of around 10 penalties conceded per match would be power for the course these days and Ireland come in at 9.2.

Some of the gloss is taken off Beirne’s overall display with his total of 7.

Tadhg Beirne3767
Cian Healy2564
Ronan Kelleher1214
Conor Murray1503
Dave Kilcoyne1203
Tadhg Furlong2183
Andrew Porter1832
Garry Ringrose3202
Jamison Gibson-Park2312
Johnny Sexton3092
Keith Earls3302
Peter O’Mahony312
Team Totals592146
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Penalties Conceded

Cards Received

I’m firmly on the side of World Rugby’s efforts to reintroduce skill at the contact area, in preference to physical assault, for the safety of players. It’ll be difficult for players who have been coached throughout their careers to push the boundaries of physical domination but the game should be better and open to more players when we come out the other side.

Given their limited numbers in big physical specimens Ireland should be moving the emphasis away from contact and making the ball do a bit more work.

Peter O’Mahony3101
Bundee Aki6401
Conor Murray15010
Team Totals592112
2021 Six Nations. Ireland Men Cards Received

All the Ireland player stats provided by aws

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