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Mark Wilson, Thomas Waldrom, Chris Pennell, Jamie Gibson, Telusa Veainu, Matt Kvesic and Christian Wade are our Opta stars of the season


Exeter Chiefs and Saracens may have contested an epic Aviva Premiership Rugby final on Saturday, but with the curtain now lowered on a thrilling season, who statistically performed the best?

Thomas Waldrom could not play his part in the Twickenham showpiece due to injury, but as well as topping the try-scoring charts for the second season running, his tally of 327 carries was miles ahead of the rest.

The No 8 – affectionately known to Chiefs fans as ‘The Tank’ – racked up 327 carries in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, with Worcester Warriors’ Chris Pennell second on 260 and Nathan Hughes of Wasps just three behind him in third.

Warriors and England full-back Pennell did however beat Waldrom in metres made (1796) and Alex Goode – second on the list with 1560 – could not catch his tally despite playing in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals and final.

Goode however did average 91.76 metres per game to Pennell’s 81.64, while third-placed Telusa Veainu averaged 81.53 with 1549 metres made in total.

Veainu did come out on top of the defenders beaten charts with an astonishing 75 over the course of the season – almost four per game played – with Jack Nowell and Semesa Rokoduguni both trailing on 68.

The 25-year-old Tigers flyer was also fourth (28) in clean breaks, as predictably the wingers ruled the roost with Christian Wade (33), Rokoduguni (30) and Cooper Vuna (29) just ahead of him.

Defensively, it is no surprise that the sides down the lower end of the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings made the most tackles, with Newcastle Falcons’ Mark Wilson (230) and Will Welch (226) and Donncha O'Callaghan (221) of Worcester all in the top five.

But they were joined by the Chiefs Julian Salvi, who came up just one shy of Wilson at the Aviva Premiership Rugby final, and Wasp George Smith (218) who also won the Green Flag Forward of the Season award.

Another Wasps man in Nathan Hughes was king of the offloads this season with 27, while Worcester’s Bryce Heem and Nick Easter of Harlequins were not far behind with 24 and 23 respectively.

Northampton Saints’ Jamie Gibson won the most lineouts with 112, and thanks to 29 turnovers over the course of the season, Gloucester Rugby’s Matt Kvesic edged out Quins’ Luke Wallace (24) and Sarries’ Maro Itoje (22).
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) – 230
Julian Salvi (Exeter Chiefs) – 229
Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons) – 226
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) – 327
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) – 260
Nathan Hughes (Wasps) – 257
Metres made
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) – 1796m
Alex Goode (Saracens) – 1560m
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 1549m
Lineouts won
Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints) – 112
Sean Robinson (Newcastle Falcons) – 93
Bryn Evans (Sale Sharks) – 87
Defenders beaten
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 75
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) – 68
Will Addison (Sale Sharks) – 64
Turnovers won
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) – 29
Luke Wallace (Harlequins) – 24
Maro Itoje (Saracens) – 22
Clean breaks
Christian Wade (Wasps) – 33
Semesa Rokduguni (Bath Rugby) – 30
Cooper Vuna (Worcester Warriors) – 29 

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BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)