Leicester Tigers lost for the first time in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season but new flyer Telusa Veainu could well inspire them to more victories after putting on a show at Sandy Park.
The Tigers only scored six points against Exeter Chiefs but it was not for the lack of trying from Tonga international Veainu, who racked up a scorching 153 metres – a Round 4 high – from full-back and beat eight defenders, according to Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby.
England winger Nowell tied Veainu at the top of the charts for defenders beaten, as the Chiefs ended the first block of league games with the most points (115) and the biggest points difference (+76).
Exeter are also producing in defence as they restricted their opponents to single digits in consecutive matches for the first time since November 2010.
Worcester Warriors’ fine start to life back in the top tier continued, as their 28-20 win over Newcastle Falcons was their biggest margin of victory in Aviva Premiership Rugby since November 2012.
Chris Pennell topped 100 metres with ball in hand (132) and Phil Dowson is also proving an inspired signing by Dean Ryan – the flanker’s 57 tackles to date this season is a league best.
The Warriors have now won three of their last five matches, the same amount of wins they accrued in the 34 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches prior.
Saracens emerged victorious by 12-6 in a heavyweight clash at Franklin’s Gardens and it was the first time Northampton Saints had been limited to six points in a league home match since October 2012.
Jamie George has gone a long way to ensuring Saracens’ set-piece has been efficient this season, hitting the target with a league-leading 94 per cent of his lineout throws so far.
Rob Webber led the charge on the tackle front for Bath Rugby, recording a round-best 18 as London Irish fell to a 45-14 defeat.
With four rounds in the books George Ford – who came on as a replacement last weekend – has the best goal kicking percentage, 15 from 16, of any player who has made five or more attempts at the uprights.
And though Gloucester Rugby’s day was a disappointing one after a 23-3 loss to Wasps, Jonny May and Matt Kvesic made impressions in the statistical charts.
May racked up 102 metres while openside flanker Kvesic secured four turnovers – two better than anyone else in the round. It took his total tally to eight, having conceded just one.
But in a defensive effort led by George Smith (15 tackles) and James Haskell (14), Wasps conceded the fewest points in any of their last 122 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches.
And Harlequins fans are getting used to life on the edge of their seats after their slender 16-14 victory against Sale Sharks continued their run of winning a game by no more than ten points since January.
Nick Evans’ metronomic boot is another thing that Quins can count on, having nailed 25 of his 28 attempts at goal so far.
Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 4
Rob Webber (Bath Rugby) 18
Ally Hogg (Newcastle Falcons) 17
George Smith (Wasps) 15
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers), Mike Delany (Newcastle Falcons) 17
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 15
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby), Mike Brown (Harlequins) 14
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) 153
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) 132
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 103
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) 8
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Thompstone (Leicester Tigers) 7
Sam James (Sale Sharks) 6
Rob McCusker (London Irish) 5
Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) 3
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) 4
Matt Cox (Worcester Warriors), George Smith, James Haskell, Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Matt Smith (Leicester Tigers), Taione Vea (Newcastle Falcons), Chris Cook (Bath Rugby) 2