James Short is enjoying a stellar season with Exeter Chiefs and the winger was at perhaps his best yet on Sunday as they beat Bath Rugby.
According to Opta statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby, Short totalled a mammoth 176 metres made at Sandy Park – the most of any player across the round – and beat seven defenders in the process.
Only Telusa Veainu of Leicester Tigers has beaten more men in the league this season than Short’s tally of 40, while he is also one of just three players to have amassed more metres than the Exeter man, who now boasts 872.
This weekend, meanwhile, only two players passed more defenders – Newcastle Falcons winger Giovanbattista Venditti (10) Christian Wade of Wasps (9).
Venditti’s efforts were all the more impressive as they came in a comprehensive 32-6 defeat to Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm, where Cherry & Whites full-back Rob Cook racked up 18 carries for 141 metres.
Tom Collins – Northampton Saints’ hat-trick hero in victory over Worcester Warriors – was third in the metres made table with 128, while he and Wade made a league-high five clean breaks each.
Cook, meanwhile, was only beaten in the carries column by a pair of back-rowers: Saracens flanker Jackson Wray (22) and Wasps No.8 Nathan Hughes (21).
It was not just Venditti who impressed in defeat for the Falcons, as Mark Wilson made a league-high 23 tackles on Saturday, a tally matched by Luke Wallace of Harlequins and Bath Rugby’s Francois Louw as they lost to Wasps and Chiefs respectively.
Tom Croft ruled the skies in Leicester Tigers’ victory over London Irish, winning 11 lineouts, while Exeter’s Don Armand successfully stole three at Sandy Park.
And Dave Ward moved a step closer to Aviva Premiership Rugby’s turnover king Matt Kvesic, as his tally of three against Wasps – matched by Northampton Saints prop Alex Waller, Exeter hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and London Irish hooker Tom Cruse – took him to 16 for the season.
Selected stats from Opta:
Luke Wallace (Harlequins), Francois Louw (Bath Rugby) & Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) 23
Thomas Young (Wasps) 19
Scott Lawson (Newcastle Falcons) 18
Jackson Wray (Saracens) 22
Nathan Hughes (Wasps) 21
Rob Cook (Gloucester Rugby) 18
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) & Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) 16
James Short (Exeter Chiefs) 176
Rob Cook (Gloucester Rugby) 141
Tom Collins (Northampton Saints) 128
Christian Wade (Wasps) 112
Tom Arscott (Sale Sharks) 103
Giovanbattista Venditti (Newcastle Falcons) 10
Christian Wade (Wasps) 9
James Short (Exeter Chiefs) 7
Frank Halai (Wasps), Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints) & Mat Luamanu (Harlequins) 6
Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers) 11
Victor Matfield (Northampton Saints) 9
Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints), Kearnan Myall (Wasps) & James Horwill (Harlequins) 8
Tom Collins (Northampton Saints) & Christian Wade (Wasps) 5
Chris Wyles (Saracens) 4
Dan Robson (Wasps), Tom Arscott (Sale Sharks), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Wynand Olivier (Worcester Warriors) & Adam Thompstone (Leicester Tigers) 3