TOP BAR - Fixtures

Mike Brown, George Kruis, Nathan Hughes and Mariano Galarza lead the Opta Rankings

England’s newest recruits celebrated their call-ups to Eddie Jones’ EPS in style this weekend by topping the Opta stats charts in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Nathan Hughes was immense on Sunday as Wasps stayed top of the table with their fifth win in a row this term – seeing off a dogged Harlequins 47-18 at home.

The No 8’s performances this season have certainly caught the eye in the absence of the imposing James Haskell in Dai Young’s back row, and this weekend was no different.

With the ball in hand he made 66 metres – including two clean breaks and beating two defenders – while on the defensive end he made 17 tackles and won four turnovers.

Wasps have now won their three home clashes this term by margins of more than 29 points, and only once before that run had they beaten Harlequins by a greater margin in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

A special mention also goes to Wasps scrum-half Dan Robson, who now has six tries and six assists in his last seven Aviva Premiership games.

Another first-timer in the Red Rose ranks, Alex Lozowski, also shone under the Friday night lights as Saracens returned to winning ways at Bristol Rugby.

The 23-year-old fly-half continued to fill the boots of injured No.10 Owen Farrell, and scored his first brace of tries in Aviva Premiership Rugby to take his tally to five in his last six league matches.

Maro Itoje and George Kruis were also reunited for Saracens, and the latter impressed on his return from a three-game injury lay-off – topping the stats in line-out wins with seven, and even managing a steal to rule to skies at Ashton Gate.

Quins may have been up against it at Wasps, but full-back Mike Brown led a trio of players (including club-mate Tim Visser and Gloucester Rugby’s Charlie Sharples) to notch up a century of metres made with the ball in hand.

The 31-year old managed 119 metres from his 17 carries, and also beat six defenders to top that particular category alongside Northampton’s Courtney Lawes.

Saints powerhouse Louis Picamoles was influential in their dramatic 20-19 victory over Exeter Chiefs, making 71 metres, two breaks, and beating four defenders from his 16 carries.

Sale Sharks kept their impressive run of home form going in a 34-30 triumph over Leicester Tigers, and have now lost just two of their last 15 games at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Skipper Josh Beaumont won six line-outs for Sale, and while Peter Betham and Tom Brady made 81 and 75 metres respectively, director of rugby Richard Cockerill will be concerned that his side have now lost lost seven of their last ten on the road.

Worcester Warriors’ 11-9 victory over Newcastle Falcons was their first in the Aviva Premiership since March, although having won one and drawn two, they’re unbeaten in three at home this term.

Carl Kirwan’s 18 tackles were instrumental in restricting Newcastle to just three penalties, while Phil Dowson won seven line-outs.

And it was a backs-to-the-wall effort from Gloucester Rugby on Saturday, but they were not able to prevent Bath Rugby recording a 15-6 win at Kingsholm.

Mariano Galarza made 24 successful tackles in this game, the most by any player at the weekend and the most by a Gloucester player since Opta records began in 2008.

Bath have a superb record in recent clashes between the West Country rivals, winning seven of their last eight encounters and they have now not conceded a try in the last 243 minutes of action between the sides.

 

Tackles

Mariano Galarza (Gloucester Rugby) – 24

Geoff Parling (Exeter Chiefs) – 19

Carl Kirwan (Worcester Warriors) – 18

 

Carries

Mike Brown (Harlequins) – 17

James Horwill (Harlequins), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Jamie Roberts (Harlequins), Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints) – 16

 

Metres Made

Mike Brown (Harlequins) – 119

Tim Visser (Harlequins) – 110

Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby) – 109

 

Defenders beaten

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) – 6

Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Jordan Williams (Bristol Rugby) – 5

 

Offloads

Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Mills (Sale Sharks), James Hook (Gloucester Rugby), Tim Visser (Harlequins), Nathan Hughes (Wasps) – 3

 

Lineouts won

George Kruis (Saracens), Phil Dowson (Worcester Warriors), James Horwill (Harlequins) – 7

Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) – 6

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