Derby days usually require big performances and England winger Jonny May delivered for Gloucester Rugby on Saturday in their hard-fought win over Worcester Warriors.
May might not have got on the scoresheet himself – despite having an effort chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up – in the 24-22 victory, but he did not go unnoticed by Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby.
He churned out 104 metres from 16 carries, making three clean breaks, beating five defenders and supplying a round-leading five offloads in the process.
He was not the only one to put in a lot of work as along with Ross Moriarty (16), Sione Kalamafoni and Bill Meakes (both 14), four Gloucester players topped the charts for ball carries in Round 3.
Worcester have just won once in their last ten trips to Kingsholm as Gloucester were involved in another tight one on home turf – five of their last seven home games have been decided by two or fewer points.
Julian Salvi is another player to have enjoyed an eye-catching weekend after he recorded 23 tackles – while missing just one – in Exeter Chiefs’ superb 41-3 at Newcastle Falcons.
The flanker has immediately made his presence felt since switching from Leicester Tigers and he finished six clear of the nearest top tackler, Falcons captain Will Welch (17).
Vereniki Goneva has barely needed a rest since returning from the Rugby World Cup and he waltzed past a round-high 12 defenders as Leicester made it three wins in three this season against Wasps.
Goneva beat twice as many defenders as he managed in a match last season, as Wasps fell to a 24-16 loss despite the best efforts of Nathan Hughes (three turnovers) and James Haskell (11 tackles, six defenders beaten).
Sale Sharks continue to hold the Indian sign over Northampton Saints at home after their 20-13 triumph last weekend proved their sixth victory in seven home games over the East Midlands side.
The Sharks have won two in a row since their heavy defeat to Saracens on the opening weekend and their form has been built on a robust scrum – they’re the only team in the league with a 100 per cent success rate on their own put-in.
Unbeaten Saracens marched on by beating London Irish 24-14 and they are making a habit of hitting the ground running, having won their first three Aviva Premiership Rugby games in the last three seasons.
Alex Goode made the most ground across the league last weekend by making 127 metres with Mike Ellery not far behind (89m), while on the defensive front Will Fraser posted 16 tackles and two turnovers, and Maro Itoje two turnovers and two steals.
Harlequins not only took a win away from the Rec for the first time since 2011 but Conor O’Shea’s men scored the most points that they have ever managed at the ground in a 38-28 triumph.
Scotland flyer Tim Visser, in his first appearance for Harlequins, racked up 116 metres – only Goode made more last weekend.
But Semesa Rokoduguni led the charge for Bath impressively in a losing effort after making 112 metres, beating ten defenders and a round-best four clean breaks
Julian Salvi (Exeter Chiefs) 23
Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons) 17
Will Fraser (Saracens), GJ van Velze (Worcester Warriors), Matt Symons (London Irish) 16
Alex Goode (Saracens) 127
Tim Visser (Harlequins) 116
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) 112
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 104
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 100
Vereniki Goneva (Leicester Tigers) 12
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) 10
Marland Yarde (Harlequins) 8
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby) 4
Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Alex Tait (Newcastle Falcons), David Halaifonua (Gloucester Rugby) 3
Tom Penny (Newcastle Falcons), Nathan Hughes (Wasps) 3 Carlo Festuccia, Jake Cooper-Woolley (Wasps), Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints) Lachlan McCaffrey, Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Will Fraser, Maro Itoje (Saracens), Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) 2
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