The annual rugby feast that is the Six Nations will soon be upon us, with holders France looking to win back-to-back trophies for the first time since 2007, ahead of their home World Cup this autumn.
Ireland, outright favourites at 13/10, are aiming to become the fourth different winner in four years.
Matches get underway on Saturday 4th February with Wales hosting Ireland, before Twickenham welcomes a Calcutta Cup contest, with new head coach Steve Borthwick hoping to lead England – at 1/4 for victory – to a first win over Scotland in three campaigns.
The following day, the holders France travel to Rome to face an Italy team looking to avoid a seventh consecutive wooden spoon.
As six teams dream of glory, let’s take a look at the five players who have left the greatest mark – in terms of points – on the tournament since its expansion to its current form in 2000.
The only Welshman to make the top five, it’s possible that former record cap-holder Stephen Jones might only be able to enjoy his place on the list for a few more weeks.
Leigh Halfpenny, now 34, lies 50 points behind Jones’ 467 and could force his way into the top five with a strong showing in Warren Gatland’s side this time around.
Fly-half Jones debuted for his national side in 1998 and scored the majority of Wales’ points as they ran to the Grand Slam in 2005, including a 14-point haul in the victory in Paris.
A fine 16 points steered Wales to top honours for the first time in 27 years against Ireland in Cardiff, a feat that was repeated just three years later with another strong performance from Jones.
One of two active players on this countdown, England’s Owen Farrell has notched around 500 points since making his England debut in the 2012 Calcutta Cup.
Only introduced to rugby union at age 14 after a childhood spent playing league, fly-half Farrell has gone on to become one of the foremost figures in the English game, winning three Championships and three Triple Crowns.
Spoiler alert – a successful campaign this time around could well see him become his country’s leading Six Nations points scorer, with a famous face leading the way by 46 points.
Such an achievement could well be in the offing, too – a punt on Farrell to score the most points in the tournament is available at 7/2, leaving him second in the betting, behind a certain Ireland star.
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Pre-tournament favourite to finish with the most points to his name – priced at 2/1 – fly-half Johnny Sexton is set to embark on another Six Nations adventure, 15 years on from his first selection.
Winner of back-to-back Championships in 2014 and 2015, a Grand Slam win brought about a hat-trick of titles for Sexton in 2018 and with the Dubliner hinting last year that the upcoming World Cup could be his last tournament, 2023 may well mark his final bow.
The Leinster man sits third on the list for now, but with a 31-point lead on Farrell, could well end the tournament – and possibly his international career – in top spot.
Best known for kicking England to World Cup heaven in 2003, Wilkinson also helped England to four Six Nations titles in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2011 – including one Grand Slam.
While far more potent with his feet than with his hands, Wilkinson did chip in with three Six Nations tries.
Towards the end of his career, the Englishman jostled for top spot on this list, losing his crown in 2009 before briefly reclaiming it the following year.
But though Wilkinson will forever be remembered as one of the best of his generation, the overall points honours are reserved for one man.
Only five players have racked up more Six Nations appearances than Ronan O’Gara, but none have outscored him.
The Irishman’s 557 points from 63 caps are unmatched, though both Farrell and Sexton have eyes on his title in 2023.
While only champion once, in 2009, O’Gara was the backbone of the Irish side for many campaigns, leading them to four Triple Crowns.
He won his first cap in the first instalment of the competition back in 2000 and scored the first Irish international try at Croke Park in the 2007 event, becoming captain the following year.
Against Wales in 2011 he became the first Irishman to surpass the 1,000 point mark in international matches, going on to surpass Brian O’Driscoll as his country’s all-time caps leader – though O’Driscoll would later take the honour back.
The lie of the land could be set to change again as the 2023 Six Nations Championship gets underway.
Wales and France race for a fifth title, while the English and Irish seek a return to their former best. For Scotland and Italy, the chance to cause an upset will, as always, be relished.