March 15, 2012
All Blacks wing Doug Howlett runs in a try on debut against Tonga in 2000 © Getty Images
Wesley Fofana's try against England last weekend means that the Clermont Auvergne centre now has four in four for France. Although he had a burgeoning reputation going into the Six Nations - as one of his country's best up and coming talents - he had much to prove with the likes of Yannick Jauzion and Florian Fritz waiting in the wings.
He joins some notable names in having achieved the feat, but there are seven players who stand above him after keeping that try-scoring record going into their fifth match - and in some cases sixth and seventh.
With that in mind, this week's Scrum Sevens looks at a group of backs who started well and just kept on rolling.
Doug Howlett - New Zealand
The All Blacks' record try-scorer got his international career of to a flying start with eight in seven Tests for the Kiwis. Howlett - who has 62 caps to his name and five Tri-Nations titles - took his bow with tries for the national side versus Tonga in 2000 and followed that up with scores in his next six, where the All Blacks came up against France three times as well as clashes with Italy, Samoa and Argentina. After being dumped out of the 2007 Rugby World Cup at the quarter-final stage, Howlett upped sticks for Europe and won the Heineken Cup with Munster.
Mikaele Pesamino - Samoa
The former IRB Sevens Player of the Year scored 56 tries during the 2009 Sevens Series and began his Test career in a similar fashion. Coming on as a replacement for Samoa, he crossed the line on his debut against Papua New Guinea and followed that up with a hat-trick a week later against the same opponents after being thrust into the action from the outset. His try-scoring prowess did not end there as he dotted the ball down in his next three Tests - against Tonga, Japan and Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup.
Nicknamed 'lightning', Pesamino only made one more appearance for Samoa in the long form of the game - in October 2010 - but there was a time when it looked as if he would make a substantial impact in the Aviva Premiership when Sale recruited him. The move never came to fruition, with visa issues and a change in management at the Sharks scuppering the switch.
Jack Tarrant - Japan
With seven caps to his name and no Rugby World Cup appearances, Tarrant's feats for Japan may eventually be consigned to some dark corner of the rugby archives, but scoring six tries in five matches for your country is no mean feat. While one came against Samoa, the other five came against the rugby powerhouses of Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and the Junior All Blacks.
Tarrant never made it to a World Cup, but he did turn out for North Harbour in the NPC and can tell his grandchildren that he scored against a side consisting of future World Cup winners Colin Slade, Victor Vito and Israel Dagg when he grabbed his sixth and final try for Japan against the All Blacks' younger brothers.
Rupeni Caucaunibuca - Fiji
Although the Fijian flyer was troubled by off the field issues, there is no doubting his immense talent. Widely perceived as being the closest thing to Jonah Lomu the world has had since, Caucaunibuca is currently at Toulouse but sidelined through injury.
He has just eight caps for the national side, which is a disservice to a man of his ability. Periods of going AWOL and indeterminate spells out of action harmed his standing in rugby's pantheon but with nine tries in first five Tests for the Islanders - including a famous score against Scotland - and notable spells with the Blues in Super Rugby and Agen in France, Caucaunibuca has enough highlights to accompany his legend.
Tot Robinson - England
Similar to Tarrant, Robinson scored six tries in his first five games for England, but unlike the Japan centre, Robinson's scores came at the turn of the 20th century. He made his debut against Ireland in 1897 - scoring in the process - and kept his run going with tries against Scotland the same year, one against Ireland in 1898, one against Wales in 1899 and a double a year later versus Ireland. Despite his try-scoring heroics, Robinson was only on the winning side twice during his eight-cap turnout for England.
Hernan Senillosa - Argentina.
The versatile back announced himself on the international rugby scene with an incredible 12 tries in first six Test matches for the Pumas. A centre or wing, he turned out for Argentina in both the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and while he has appeared against respected sides such as the France and the All Blacks, his first six appearances came against less-successful nations.
He marked his debut with a score against Uruguay before following it up with back-to-back hat-tricks against Paraguay and Chile. With another five tries in his next three Tests - versus the same opponents - Senillosa looked set for bright things on the domestic scene. Prior to a two-year sojourn with Montferrand, he had the opportunity to turn out for Leeds and while he featured in their 2002 Parker Pen Challenge Cup campaign, he never appeared for them in the Premiership.
John Ryan - Australia
Ryan only appeared for the Wallabies' Test side on six occasions, but the three-quarter crossed the line in each match. He took his bow for Australia against Japan - where he scored a hat-trick - prior to their 1975 tour of Britain and Ireland, which was led by the legendary half-back John Hipwell and coached by the late David Brockhoff. Ryan followed his successful first appearance against Japan with scores against Ireland and the USA before repeating the feat against Fiji in their three-Test series in June 1976. He sadly died six years later, aged just 33.
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