All eyes were drawn to the backs at Kingston Park on Friday night but according to Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby, Sam Burgess shone just as brightly in his first league appearance at flanker.
Four of Bath Rugby’s back-line surged over for tries in a game that showcased running rugby at its best, while the jet-heeled Newcastle Falcon Sinoti Sinoti scored arguably the try of the night.
But rugby league convert Burgess won a round-high five turnovers – no one else completed more than three across the weekend.
No.8 Leroy Houston also continued his sterling form – beating ten defenders – and his efforts were the best of Round 19, putting even the likes of Anthony Watson and Sinoti in the shade.
Watson did top the metres gained chart with 118 and not far behind was Sinoti (110), who now boasts an incredible 1,476 for the season.
Defeat for the Falcons however means they have lost 18 of the last 19 games against Bath, a run that stretches back to March 2005.
Exeter Chiefs also needed a colossal effort from their pack to complete their first-ever Aviva Premiership Rugby double over reigning champions Northampton Saints – and flanker Dave Ewers was at the peak of his powers.
He recorded 19 tackles to lead the round, while Saracens pair Kelly Brown (18) and Jamie George (17) were also at their best to help down Leicester Tigers.
Chris Wyles was rewarded with a try at Allianz Park after making four clean breaks and, though Sale Sharks lost out at London Irish, Josh Beaumont’s breakthrough season just kept getting better with three line-out steals.
The Exiles are no strangers to fine-margin wins against Sale – on the last four occasions they’ve hosted the Sharks, Irish have won three by exactly two points.
Elsewhere Harlequins recorded their first league double over Gloucester Rugby since the 2006/07 meeting and Harry Sloan played a major part with 16 tackles in total.
Selected Opta stats for Round 19
Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs) 19
Kelly Brown (Saracens) 18
Jamie George (Saracens) 17
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 18
Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers), Opeti Fonua (London Welsh) 16
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 15
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) 118
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons) 110
James Wilson (Northampton Saints) 106
Leroy Houston (Bath Rugby) 10
Mathew Tait (Leicester Tigers) 7
Guy Thompson, Alapati Leiua, Sailosi Tagicakibau (Wasps) 6
Sam Burgess (Bath Rugby) 5
Al Hargreaves (Saracens), Richard Mayhew (Newcastle) 3
Chris Wyles (Saracens) 4
Alex Lewington (London Irish) 3, Bill Meakes (Gloucester Rugby) 3
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