TOP BAR - Fixtures

Billy Vunipola, Tusi Pisi, Sean Maitland and Callum Green top the Opta Statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby

It was a record-breaking Aviva Premiership Rugby performance for Leicester Tigers on the opening day of the new season, as they edged out Gloucester Rugby 38-31 in a pulsating clash.

Richard Cockerill’s men have won seven of their last nine league matches against the Cherry & Whites, but not even the most stubborn of Tigers fans would have expected their second-half resurgence at Kingsholm.

Trailing 31-7 with half an hour remaining, Leicester clawed back the 24-point deficit to win the game and notch up the biggest comeback in the club’s 136-year history.

Gloucester meanwhile have lost the last four Aviva Premiership games in which they have led at the break, as the season began with a familiar feeling for David Humphreys’ side.

New signing JP Pietersen was directly involved in three of Leicester’s tries, the winger scoring one and assisting two, which was more than any other player over the whole weekend.

Powerful forward Billy Vunipola made the most carries of anyone with 23 according to last weekend’s Opta Statistics, as Saracens started the defence of their title with a commanding 35-3 win over Worcester Warriors.

Saracens won on the opening day for the fifth time in a row, while they stretched their dominance over Worcester to six straight wins, racking up more than 30 points each time.

Sunday’s 25-20 victory over Exeter Chiefs maintained Wasps’ home record – which has seen them win every Aviva Premiership game at the Ricoh Arena in 2016.

The two sides have built quite the rivalry in the last two seasons, and the first win in four league encounters will taste extra sweet for Wasps after they lost in the semi-final to the Chiefs last season.

Dai Young’s men also banished their opening-day blues, which has seen them lose their last four round one matches.

Elsewhere, fly-half George Ford kicked off the Todd Blackadder era at Bath Rugby with a narrow 18-14 win at Northampton Saints.

Ford slotted over two drop-goals, just two shy of last season’s entire tally of four, while the result ended Bath’s ten-game wait for a win.

Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks played out another close battle, with the home side’s 19-17 win becoming the latest of ten consecutive games where the margin has been eight points or less, including two draws.

Sinoti Sinoti put in an eye-catching performance and no other player beat defenders more than him and Sean Maitland with seven.

Elsewhere, Bristol Rugby became the latest newly-promoted side to lose to Harlequins, who extended their favourable record to ten wins from 11 matches against the Aviva Premiership Rugby’s new boys – with last season’s defeat to Worcester the only blemish.

And Bristol fly-half Tusi Pisi gained 137 metres, more than any other player and the most by a fly-half since Shane Geraghty’s 167 against Northampton in April 2014.

 

Tackles

Marco Mama (Worcester), TJ Ioane (Sale) – 19

Tommy Taylor (Wasps) – 18

 

Carries

Billy Vunipola (Saracens) – 23

Tom Marshall (Gloucester Rugby), TJ Ioane (Sale Sharks)  – 18

 

Metres Made

Tusi Pisi (Worcester) – 137

Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle) – 100

Christian Wade (Wasps) – 93

 

Defenders beaten

Sean Maitland (Saracens), Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle) – 7

Tom Marshall (Gloucester Rugby) – 6

 

Offloads

Billy Vunipola (Saracens) – 5

Louis Picamoles (Northampton), Chris Harris (Newcastle) – 4

 

Lineouts won

Calum Green (Newcastle) – 7

Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Maro Itoje (Saracens) – 6

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