TOP BAR - Fixtures

Maro Itoje, Guy Thompson, Semesa Rokoduguni, Thomas Waldrom and Bryn Evans top the Opta Statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby

Maro Itoje was the star of the show as European and Aviva Premiership Rugby double champions Saracens condemned Exeter Chiefs to their second heaviest top-flight home defeat.

The England second-row made an eyewatering 26 tackles as Saracens dominated Rob Baxter’s side for a 34-13 win, the last player to make more tackles in a single game was former clubmate Jacques Burger, who made 34 in November 2013.

Saracens have now won four matches on the trot against Exeter – including last season’s Aviva Premiership Rugby final – since losing home and away to the Chiefs in 2014/15.

Itoje’s 32 tackles for the season also sees him top the count ahead of Harlequins pair Chris Robshaw and James Horwill, who have 28 apiece, while Brad Barritt fired himself up the list with 21 tackles against Exeter.

Try-machine No.8 Thomas Waldrom could not get over the line against Saracens, but he did manage a round-high 28 carries, ably assisted by Luke Cowan-Dickie’s 20, while Henry Slade made 14 and Ollie Devoto 16 as Exeter suffered their joint-second heaviest defeat since they arrived in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Wasps meanwhile claimed their first win at Welford Road since 2008, completing back-to-back wins over Leicester Tigers for the first time since 2009.

Guy Thompson scored a try in a superb Wasps back-row performance, making 93 metres in attack and beating eight defenders – more than anyone else in Aviva Premiership Rugby last week.

Jimmy Gopperth won Man of the Match as Dai Young’s side claimed just their third win at Welford Road in 20 Aviva Premiership games.

Mathew Tait impressed for the hosts with 132 metres and JP Pietersen’s four offloads was enough to take him joint top of the offload charts for the round.

Alongside him is Bath Rugby’s Zach Mercer and Semesa Rokoduguni, as well as Exeter Chiefs’ Ollie Devoto.

Rokoduguni was at the heart of a stunning 58-5 win over Newcastle Falcons at the Rec as Todd Blackadder’s Bath revolution took flight with England winger Rokoduguni making 143 metres, beating seven defenders, making five breaks and scoring two tries.

Bath’s win was their fourth-highest in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, their biggest being a 68-12 victory over Rotherham in 2001.

Sinoti Sinoti was a bright spot for Dean Richards in defeat, the 31-year-old returning from an injury-affected year last season to beat five defenders against Bath, giving him an Aviva Premiership Rugby-leading 12 for the season.

Paolo Odogwu marked himself as one to watch during the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s series and he showed all of his natural attacking ability in Sale Sharks’ 19-10 win over Harlequins at the AJ Bell Stadium, beating six defenders.

Team-mate Bryn Evans was also crucial for Steve Diamond’s side, ruling the airways and claiming nine line-outs against Australia lock Horwill.

Fortress AJ Bell continued to be as impenetrable as ever as Harlequins – despite boasting a backline including five Test players – failed to make a linebreak for the first time since 2014, while the Sharks have now lost just once in their past 13 games at home.

Greig Laidlaw’s nerveless last-gasp conversion meant Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors drew a thrilling M5 Derby 23-23, meaning no away side has claimed this fixture in nine attempts.

The Scottish captain has now made ten kicks this season without erring, with no other player who has taken more than two kicks boasting a 100 per cent record.

Gloucester’s Henry Purdy made 116 metres to move second overall after Round 2, while Ben Morgan pitched in with a useful 13 tackles against the Warriors.

Worcester prop Val Rapava Ruskin made four turnovers against David Humphreys’ side and now has more turnovers than anyone else in the Aviva Premiership with six.

Andy Robinson watched on as Bristol Rugby were condemned to their second consecutive 22 point defeat to Northampton Saints, with George North getting on the scoresheet for his fifth away game in succession in a 32-10 triumph.

England prop Paul Hill won two turnovers for the visitors as they bounced back from last week’s defeat to Bath.

 

Tackles

Maro Itoje (Saracens) – 26

Brad Barritt (Saracens) – 21

Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Schalk Burger (Saracens) – 19

Carries

Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) – 28

Cameron Neild (Sale Sharks) – 23

Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) – 21

Metres Made

Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) – 143

Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers) – 132

Henry Purdy (Gloucester Rugby) – 116

Defenders beaten

Guy Thompson (Wasps) – 8

Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) – 7

Paolo Odogwu (Sale Sharks) – 6

Offloads

Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), JP Pietersen (Leicester Tigers) – 4

Lineouts won

Bryn Evans (Sale Sharks) – 9

Lachlan McCaffrey (Leicester Tigers) Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby) – 7

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