TOP BAR - Fixtures

Ben Curry, Thomas Waldrom, Vereniki Goneva, Ashley Johnson and James Short top the Opta Rugby Rankings

Winger Christian Wade was flying high in the Opta Rugby Rankings in Round 9 of the Aviva Premiership Rugby as he helped Wasps close the gap on Saracens at the top of the table.

Wade’s 131 metres made and eight defenders beaten saw him second in both categories as Wasps ran in five tries to reduce the deficit at the summit of the league to just four points.

Only Vereniki Goneva made more metres (154) than the Wasps flyer, aided by his breakaway try in Newcastle Falcons’ 22-16 win over Northampton Saints.

It is the second time Goneva has topped 150 metres this season and this week’s tally is the best for a Newcastle player since Opta started collecting data in 2008/09.

Wade’s Wasps teammate Frank Halai made 115 metres to conclude the top three while it was Falcon Marcus Watson who beat the most defenders (9) in Round 9.

Three Wasps players made at least 100 metres in this game (Wade 131, Halai 115, Miller 100) and the only other time they’ve managed this, since 2008/09, was against London Welsh in November 2014 (Wade, Miller & Alex Lozowski).

With Wasps’ attacking threats obvious it was maybe no surprise that Sale Sharks’ debutant Ben Curry topped the tackle charts with 22 in their 34-24 defeat.

Ben and his brother Tom Curry became only the fourth set of twins to play side-by-side in the top flight over the weekend while Olly Robinson (20) and Andrew Kitchener (19) also impressed with their tackle counts.

Elsewhere, Exeter Chiefs’ ever-reliable No.8 Thomas Waldrom was top of the carries chart with 21 as the South West side beat Worcester Warriors 57-22.

Waldrom’s fellow Chief Olly Woodburn was joint third on defenders beaten with six while James Short made five breaks and Ian Whitten made three in addition to his three offloads.

Jonny Hill’s three lineout steals in their victory is a league high figure for the season as the Chiefs scored 50 or more points in an Aviva Premiership Rugby game for the fifth time.

Bristol Rugby’s search for a first Aviva Premiership Rugby win of the season continues after their 21-16 defeat to Leicester Tigers but the West Country side have picked up a losing bonus point in three of their last four games.

For the Tigers, ten of their last 11 wins away from home have come by single figure margins, with nine of those coming by a converted try or smaller.

Finally, Harlequins’ 21-20 win was their third consecutive success over Bath Rugby, something they have only achieved once before, when they won four on the bounce across 2008 and 2009.

Tackles

Ben Curry (Sale Sharks) 22
Olly Robinson (Bristol Rugby) 20
Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors) 19

Carries

Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 21
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) 20
Ashley Johnson (Wasps) 19

Metres made

Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 154
Christian Wade (Wasps) 131
Frank Halai (Wasps) 115

Defenders beaten

Marcus Watson (Newcastle Falcons) 9
Christian Wade (Wasps) 8
Ben Tapuai (Bath Rugby) & Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) 6

Offloads

Ashley Johnson (Wasps) 4
Will Hurrell (Bristol Rugby), Ian Whitten (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Lambert (Harlequins), Marland Yarde (Harlequins) & Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs) 3

Breaks

James Short (Exeter Chiefs) 5
Ian Whitten (Exeter Chiefs), Rob Miller, Christian Wade (both Wasps), Tim Visser (Harlequins), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby) 3

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