In lead up to the Six Nations, we dip into YouGov Profiles data to reveal Britain’s favourite rugby union players.
We focus on Brits who are rugby union followers – i.e. those who say they watch or follow the sport regularly.
Owen Farrell is set to miss the entire Six Nations with injury, and it’s a big blow to the tournament as the 30-year-old is a firm fan favourite. A fifth of rugby union followers (20%) picked him as one of their favourite players, earning him the top spot in the list.
Maro Itoje, who has won four English Premiership titles with Saracens and three Six Nations championships, is marked as a favourite by 17% of fans. Welsh and Harlequins legend Alan Wyn Jones (17%) is a favourite with a similar proportion of fans.
Welsh captain Dan Biggar (15%), Manu Tuilagi (14%), Stuart Hogg (14%) and Billy Vunipola (14%) also rank high in the hearts of British rugby union followers. Mako Vunipola (11%), Tom Curry (11%) and Jonny Sexton (11%) round out the top ten with the support of one in nine rugby followers each.
Who are the rising stars?
Compared to January 2021, the player who has registered the biggest increase in fan following, from 7% to 11%, is Scotland’s Finn Russell. Russell has been in outstanding form for his Parisian club – Racing 92 – in the European Champions Cup.
Ireland’s Robbie Henshaw is up two percentage points, with 4% of British rugby fans picking him as one of their favourites compared to 2% last year.
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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.