Gloucester Rugby cemented their position in the top six of Aviva Premiership Rugby with victory over London Irish and it was lock Jeremy Thrush who ruled the skies for the Cherry & Whites.
The former All Black claimed 16 lineout wins at Kingsholm in their 27-14 victory, the most recorded by Opta in a Premiership match (since 2008).
In addition to that, Thrush also made 14 tackles – helped by his teammate Sione Kalamafoni who managed a whopping 16 as Gloucester secured their third home win on the spin for the first time since 2013.
On Sunday Harlequins claimed a 24-20 win over Worcester Warriors in an entertaining clash that belied the tough conditions underfoot.
Warriors full back Chris Pennell made a round high 136 metres with ball in hand while no-one made more clean breaks than Quins’ double try scorer Charlie Walker.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Joe Launchbury’s huge defensive shift – the lock made 17 tackles – was in vain as Sale Sharks beat Wasps 15-9.
David Seymour’s three turnovers were more than any other player in the league this weekend while Mike Haley – the top metre maker in the league this season – impressed again with 125m.
Saracens set an Aviva Premiership Rugby record with three penalty tries in their win over Leicester Tigers and the forwards deserve much of the credit.
Man of the match George Kruis won 11 lineouts while also managing two clean breaks in a superb individual performance while No.8 Billy Vunipola made 15 carries in all.
That total of 15 was only beaten across the league by Thomas Waldrom who made 16 in defeat for Exeter Chiefs at Northampton Saints on New Year’s Day.
Sam Dickinson made 15 tackles for the hosts at Franklin’s Gardens but the 8-3 defeat was the second time in their Premiership history that Exeter have scored just three points in a match, the other occasion also being against Saints in 2011 (33-3).
Newcastle Falcons claimed their first win of the season and their first over Bath Rugby since 2003 and Craig Willis impressed.
The young fly-half kicked two late penalties to secure victory while also beating six defenders with ball in hand – a round high total only matched by Bath’s Leroy Houston and Tom Homer.
Falcons had lost 18 of their last 19 Premiership games against Bath before this win and the forward effort of Nili Latu, who won two turnovers, and Sean Robinson, who claimed ten lineout wins, did not go unnoticed.
Selected Opta statistics
Joe Launchbury (Wasps) 17
Sione Kalamafoni (Gloucester Rugby) 16
Sam Dickinson (Northampton Saints) 15
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 16
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) 15
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks), Rob Miller (Wasps) 14
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) 136
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 125
Rob Miller (Wasps) 95
Tom Homer (Bath Rugby) 6
Leroy Houston (Bath Rugby) 6
Craig Willis (Newcastle Falcons) 6
Boxing Day Sale! Click here to grab a bargain with 20% off tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May at Twickenham.