In what looks like being the most open Six Nations for years, Laidlaw and Joseph look to have leading claims of being top tournament points and try scorers.
With the 2016 Six Nations kicking off on February 6th, and the Eddie Jones era with England getting into full swing, top-class international rugby union is ready to return to our screens.
So many changes have been made since the Rugby World Cup, so how will Europe’s elite fare when kicking over the posts or looking to cross the try line? Here are five top points or try scorer shouts to follow throughout the Six Nations campaign.
Greig Laidlaw is top points scorer
Tempting as it is to side with Betfair’s best-priced 9/4 favourite Dan Biggar in this market, there is real competition between him and fellow fly half Rhys Priestland for the Wales jersey. One poor performance from Biggar and he could be dropped to the Dragons bench.
With fitness issues once again rearing their ugly head for Ireland’s Jonny Sexton (top odds of 11/4 with Betfred) and Jones needing to decide on a kicker between George Ford and Owen Farrell, it is Scotland skipper Laidlaw that is surely worth a punt at a much more rewarding price.
Kicking an impressive 79 points during the Rugby World Cup last autumn, no Northern Hemisphere fly half found their mark more than Laidlaw, who is a hugely tempting 10/1 chance with Betway to put most points on the board in the Six Nations.
Wesley Fofana is top France try scorer
A change of coach by Les Bleus has meant Mathieu Bastareaud has been axed from the roster by new boss Guy Noves, leaving the burden to fall on fellow centre Fofana.
With Paddy Power offering fantastic top odds of 5/1 for Fofana to be France’s top try scorer, the Clermont man can build on previous impressive performances in recent Six Nations campaigns to live up to that price.
Gareth Davies is top Wales try scorer
To have crossed as many times as South Africa legend Bryan Habana at the last Rugby World Cup means scrum half Davies has elevated his name into elite company.
Those five tries in as many matches proved something of a surprise source, but it gives Warren Gatland’s Wales something of an extra outlet when they are looking to get over the line.
Ladbrokes have Davies at a best price of 5/1 to be the Dragons’ top dog when it comes to try scoring again, and those odds are well worth taking if he replicates his autumn form in the Six Nations.
Tommy Seymour is Scotland top try scorer
Many commentators have been taken aback by the marked improvement the Tartan team have made under Vern Cotter. A repeat receipt of the Six Nations wooden spoon this term is hard to see, given on how the Scots took the game to Australia, only to be eliminated in controversial fashion during the World Cup quarter-finals.
Winger Seymour is a key player for Scotland, especially as Tim Visser may miss early matches of the campaign through injury. Seymour’s four Rugby World Cup tries, including a second-half crossing against the Wallabies, were evidence the USA-born wideman is fulfilling his potential.
Priced up best by Paddy Power at 5/1 to once again be their main try threat, Seymour should kick on with confidence high in Cotter’s camp.
Jonathan Joseph is tournament top try scorer
Under their first-ever foreign manager in Jones, England are expected to respond to a dismal showing as Rugby World Cup hosts and play a more athletic and aggressive brand of rugby.
Although he personally underwhelmed last autumn, Red Rose centre Joseph was leading try scorer in the last Six Nations tournament, crossing four times, so is a sweet 16/1 top-price with Sky Bet to repeat that feat.
Likely to be given more freedom afforded by a more physical-looking set of forwards, including new England captain Dylan Hartley, punters can expect Joseph to target Six Nations weak links Italy again in a bid to boost his try tally.