Damian Penaud (right) can shine for France
Damian Penaud (right) can shine for France

Rugby union betting tips: Six Nations top tryscorer preview and best bets

Can Damien Penaud deliver in a second Six Nations? Jon Newcombe of The Rugby Tipster analyses past trends and gives an insight into who to back in this season’s Championship.

Six Nations betting tips: Top tryscorers

1pt Damian Penaud to be the top tournament tryscorer at 8/1 (Sky Bet, bet365)

2pts Duhan van der Merwe to be the top Scotland tryscorer at 13/8 (Betfred)

1pt Josh Adams to be the top Wales tryscorer at 5/2 (Sky Bet)

1pt Damian Penaud to be the top France tryscorer at 5/2 (Sky Bet, BoyleSports)

1pt Mack Hansen to be the top Ireland tryscorer at 9/2 (Sky Bet)

0.5pt Alex Dombrandt to be the top England tryscorer at 10/1 (Sky Bet)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Last year wasn’t a vintage year in the individual try-scoring stakes with a below-average three tries enough for French DAMIAN PENAUD and Gabin Villiere and Ireland’s James Lowe to finish on top of the charts.

The French duo both missed a game apiece whilst Lowe could even afford to sit out two matches. Normally, though, credible contenders need to tick the following boxes – be a virtual ever-present; play for an attacking team; be bang in form.

DUHAM VAN DER MERWE, the only Scotland international to ever win the award outright, didn’t miss a single minute of play in the 2021 Championship and finished on top of the pile, and it was the same with France’s Charles Ollivon in 2020. Prior to that Jonny May only missed 11 minutes of the full 400 possible in 2019, whilst Jacob Stockdale’s record-breaking seven tries in a single Six Nations came from 394 minutes of action in 2018.


Although this is an individual accolade, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact rugby is still very much a team game. Fourteen of the 23 previous Six Nations have ended with an outright top tryscorer and on each occasion, the winner has come from the top two try-scoring teams.

Ireland and France fall into that category by some distance. In the three Championships that Andy Farrell and Fabien Galthie have been in charge of their respective teams, Ireland have scored 53 tries to France’s 52, which places them numbers one and two. To put it into context, Wales are next best with 41.

So with that in mind, our focus is on France and Ireland’s squads and the players that are proven picks and try-scorers.

An ankle injury has robbed Villiere of the opportunity to get off to a flying start this time around but Penaud is very much fit and on song, hence his relatively short odds (8/1) as favourite to win this year’s accolade and become the first player since Will Greenwood (2001-2002) to go ‘back-to-back’.

Penaud finished 2022 as the leading tryscorer from the tier one nations across the calendar year and it is very difficult to find any reason not to back him again, as we did last time around.

Damian Penaud can shine for France
Damian Penaud

If there was a prize for try assists as well as tries scored, France captain Antoine Dupont would walk it.

Injury permitting, Dupont, the 2022 Player of the Championship, is guaranteed to start every game, especially with the inexperienced Léo Coly and Nolann Le Garrec as scrum-half cover. With a strike-rate of five tries in his last 10 starts in the Six Nations, he can’t be ruled out at 12/1; however, he’s likely to spend much of the Championship as a marked man.

Over the past 12 months, Yoram Moefana’s versatility has led to him becoming an increasingly popular presence in France’s starting XV, on the wing or at centre – a role he could fulfil again this year with Jonathan Danty sidelined. But the Bordeaux-Begles man simply doesn’t score enough tries for our liking – just two for France last year and only one in 13 matches for his club this season – and should be longer than 22/1.

So, if you’re looking for a French outsider, how about in-form hooker Julien Marchand, a 33/1 shot? Having broken his Test duck at the 22nd attempt against Australia in November, the Toulouse man will be hungry for more. Hookers love a ‘meat pie’ in more ways than one and France have a maul as good as any to capitalise on lineout drives close to the opposition line.

Hansen the pick of the Irish

As for Ireland’s hookers, Ronan Kelleher is the most prolific of the lot in try-scoring terms but it looks as though injury will prevent him featuring in the early stages of the Championship.

In the backs, Hugo Kennan is an underrated cog in the Leinster, sorry Ireland, machine, but doesn’t tend to get on the scoresheet perhaps as much as he should.

So, for us, MACK HANSEN is the best bet to top-score for his country. The Aussie-born Ireland wing has started every Test from the second Test against the All Blacks onwards, scoring tries against South Africa and Fiji and always looks a threat when in possession.

England’s pragmatism and the fact Steve Borthwick won’t know his best side yet puts us off going down that avenue in the search for a top try-scorer, but if you were to put a wager on an Englishman, No.8s Sam Simmonds (33/1) and ALEX DOMBRANDT (40/1) have multiple tries in them.

That said, Ollivon, Imanol Harinordoquy and CJ Stander are the only forwards to have been Six Nations top try-scorers, so it might pay instead to chance Dombrandt at prices in the 8-10/1 range to be the top Englishman.

As good as Ange Capuozzo is at creating his own opportunities, recent history would have to be defied for an Azzurri player to top the Six Nations try-scoring charts. Mirco Bergamasco shared the honour with Shane Horgan in 2006 and is, to date, the only Italian to do so.

Adams the focus of Welsh attacks

JOSH ADAMS (16/1) proved early on in his career, whilst at Worcester, that he doesn’t need to be in a successful team to score tries, and not many are tipping Wales to set the Championship alight even with Warren Gatland back at the helm.

The Cardiff speedster can finish with the best of them though, and Gatland’s attacking game plan will focus heavily on getting the ball to him as much as possible, so he looks a rock-solid bet to be the top Wales tryscorer at 2/1.

Which leaves Scotland. Had Darcy Graham been fit, he’d have been our choice. The jinking, jack-in-the-box winger was, the last time we looked, top scorer in the URC despite not playing for Edinburgh since early December and beats defenders for fun.

VAN DER MERWE provides a very different threat and takes some stopping with his size and physicality and is 18/1 to repeat his 2021 success. At 13/8, he has little to beat among his teammates here and rates banker material.

Top-notch or top-knot? It’s time for Stuart Hogg to get people talking about his rugby again and not just his hairstyle. And 50/1 (BoyleSports) does seem a tad generous. Hogg finished top along with seven other players in the 2017 Six Nations, after scoring three tries, and is guaranteed of his place in the team.

However, Penaud is the one they've all got to beat and there's no reason at all to change tack. He's a very fair price and is the cornerstone of our tryscorer staking plan at 8/1 overall and 5/2 to be the pick of the French.


Posted at 1005 GMT on 01/02/23

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