Another busy weekend of Gallagher Premiership rugby is in the books and aside from a slightly drab encounter between Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors on Sunday, it certainly lived up to all expectations.
OPTA have released their weekly round-up of the top statistical performers in the competition and it’s fair to say that the free-flowing theme of the weekend has not hurt their numbers.
Gloucester’s Jason Woodward led the way in metres carried with 134m, followed closely by Simon Hammersley (112m), Santiago Cordero (111m), Alex Goode (104m), Henry Slade (103m) and Piers O’Conor (101m). The back-three players understandably excelled, but a special mention for Slade, who had one of the standout performances of the week from outside centre, where he tormented Wasps’ defence in the 13 channel.
Cordero wasn’t just making metres on Saturday, he was also making defenders miss, as he chalked up an extremely impressive 11 defenders beaten at the Ricoh Arena, whilst his five clean breaks also set the benchmark in that category.
A resurgent George Ford also stood out, leading the best of the rest with nine defenders beaten on the weekend, as thrived in Geordan Murphy’s Leicester side. Replacement Jake Polledri had a noteworthy eight defenders beaten, whilst Vereniki Goneva was next up with seven, who was also part of the same frenetic game at Welford Road as Ford was. Ahsee Tuala, Elliot Daly, Christian Wade, Nathan Hughes and Hammersley all chipped in with six apiece.
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Ford again came second to Cordero in clean breaks with four, a spot he shared with Bath’s Semesa Rokoduguni. Chris Pennell, Matt Banahan, Adam Thompstone, Matt Gallagher, Alapati Leiua, Slade, Goode, Goneva and Hammersley were all next up with three clean breaks each.
Hughes was the king of keeping phases alive with six offloads, closely followed by fellow Fijian Goneva, who had five. Zach Mercer, Sam Lewis, Harry Mallinder and Tuala rounded out the top six with three offloads each.
On the defensive side of the ball, no one could hold a candle to the work rate of Sale, where Jono Ross (31) and Ross Harrison (29) led the way in tackles, followed by equally familiar faces in these rankings in Lewis Ludlow (22) and Mark Wilson (21).
A pair of England internationals will be frustrated with their missed tackles, with Joe Launchbury and Ben Youngs leading the way with six this weekend. Dave Attwood, Sione Kalamafoni and Sam Simmonds will also be disappointed with their tallies of five missed tackles apiece.
Another week of high penalty counts saw Alex Waller, Jamie Gibson, Ben Harris and Michael Rhodes earn the ire of the referee’s whistle most frequently, with each player pinged three times.
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