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Brad Barritt, Mike Haley, Billy Vunipola and James Horwill top the Opta Ratings

As Aviva Premiership Rugby returned with a bang this weekend, a host of Saracens, Harlequins and Sale Sharks players dominated the Opta statistics.

Sarries maintained their position at the league summit with a convincing win over Leicester Tigers – their fifth in a row over Richard Cockerill’s side with all of those wins coming by a margin of at least two converted tries.

Five of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top six tacklers in Round 7 were Saracens players as the wolfpack was resolute in defence.

Click here to see this season’s stats leaders

Brad Barritt lead Jim Hamilton and Jackson Wray with 24 in total, and that tally was the most ever recorded by a back since Opta records began in 2008-09.

Hamilton and Wray also dominated the lineouts, winning 11 and nine respectively, but it was Quins’ Australian veteran James Horwill who ruled the skies with 13 lineouts won which was Opta’s second-highest ever tally.

Billy Vunipola also turned in a typically swashbuckling performance, leading the way in offloads with eight, alongside Northampton Saints’ Louis Picamoles – who was named man-of-the-match for his try-scoring contribution against Gloucester Rugby.

Saracens’ No.8 also made 99 metres throughout the game and mustered a league-high 24 carries, and he now only trails Exeter Chiefs’ Thomas Waldrom for the season in that category.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond singled out Mike Haley for special praise after their victory at Bristol Rugby, and the stats show the impressive full-back was fully deserving of his first England call-up last week.

He made 158 metres, the most of anyone in Aviva Premiership Rugby last weekend, and also led the way with nine defenders beaten – more than any other player this season.

Two Harlequins men in Tim Visser and Joe Marchant trailed Haley in the metres made stats, while the latter also beat eight defenders from as many carries.

Jonny May continued his promising comeback from injury by beating seven defenders in Gloucester’s loss to Northampton – the Cherry & Whites have now not beaten the Saints in six matches.

Meanwhile Jimmy Gopperth became the first player to reach 100 points this season in Wasps’ win over Newcastle Falcons; he already has 111 thanks to five tries, 25 conversions and 12 penalty goals.

The victory maintained Wasps’ 100 per cent home record in 2016, and they’ve now won all 11 Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures at the Ricoh this year, securing try-bonus points in eight of those games.

And Bath Rugby continued their run of late tries as Semesa Rokoduguni’s 87th-minute effort downed the Chiefs.

Todd Blackadder’s side have scored ten tries (half of their total) in the last 20 minutes of their games this season, which is more than any other side in the league.

 

Tackles:

Brad Barritt (Saracens) – 24

Jim Hamilton (Saracens) – 22

Jackson Wray (Saracens) – 21

Carries:

Billy Vunipola (Saracens) – 24

Alex Goode (Saracens) – 22

Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints), Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) – 18

Metres gained:

Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) – 158

Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 151

Joe Marchant (Harlequins) – 140

Defenders beaten:

Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) – 9

Joe Marchant (Harlequins) – 8

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) – 7

Offloads:

Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints) – 8

Lachlan McCaffrey (Leicester Tigers) – 4

Matt Banahan (Bath Rugby), Jack Tovey (Bristol Rugby) – 3

Lineouts won:

James Horwill (Harlequins) – 13

Jim Hamilton (Saracens) – 11

Jackson Wray (Saracens) – 9

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