After assuming control of Sale Sharks’ No.15 shirt in recent weeks, Mike Haley showed at Newcastle Falcons exactly why Steve Diamond has placed his trust in the 20-year-old.
While Italian international Luke McLean was away with the Azzurri, Haley played 80 minutes in victories over London Irish and Harlequins.
And despite McLean’s return for Sunday’s trip to Kingston Park the youngster kept his shirt, making the most of the opportunity.
According to Opta statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby, Haley completed more carries (18) than any other player in the league and racked up 146 metres in the process – also the league’s best.
Sale’s side – containing Haley, an on-song Danny Cipriani and captain Dan Braid, once again fit and firing – clearly kept the Falcons busy in the North East, with two Newcastle players leading the league’s tackle count.
Andy Saull topped the pile with 20, while young hooker George McGuigan was tied for second with London Irish and Scotland flanker Blair Cowan, both on 18.
Meanwhile, it was another Irish exile hot on Haley’s tail in the carries department, Ofisa Treviranus collecting 15 in their defeat to Gloucester Rugby.
Thomas Waldrom may not have added to his hefty Aviva Premiership Rugby try tally in Exeter Chiefs’ victory over Saracens, but he was never far from the action, with 14 carries and 119 metres made – only Haley and Newcastle Falcons wing Sinoti Sinoti (125) compiled more of the latter.
Elsewhere Bath Rugby dominated the lineout in their victory over Harlequins, Stuart Hooper (10) winning more than anyone in the league, with teammate Dominic Day and Leicester Tigers’ Graham Kitchener next best on seven.
London Welsh wing Seb Stegmann made the most clean breaks, with four, and completed three offloads, while teammate and namesake Jewell was among just four players across the weekend to beat five defenders.
Selected statistics from Opta:
Andy Saull (Newcastle Falcons) 20
Blair Cowan (London Irish) & George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons) 18
Ben Nutley (Northampton Saints) 17
Julian Salvi (Leicester Tigers) 16
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 18
Ofisa Treviranus (London Irish) 15
Alex Goode (Saracens), Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs), Alesana Tuilagi (Newcastle Falcons), Andrei Ostrikov (Sale Sharks) & Nick Scott (London Welsh) 14
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 146
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons) 125
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 119
Seb Stegmann (London Welsh) 110
Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers) 102
Stuart Hooper (Bath Rugby) 10
Dominic Day (Bath Rugby) & Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers) 7
James Down (London Welsh) 6
Kieran Low (London Irish) 5
Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks) 17
Alex Goode (Saracens) 15
Rory Clegg (Newcastle Falcons) & Will Chudley (Exeter Chiefs) 14
Greig Laidlaw & James Hook (both Gloucester Rugby) 11
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