TOP BAR - Fixtures

Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton, Thomas Young and Joe Launchbury feature in latest OPTA Rugby Rankings

Ahead of their trip to Wembley Stadium this weekend, Saracens winger Chris Ashton reached a major milestone in the Aviva Premiership Rugby champions’ 38-13 victory over Glasgow Warriors last weekend.

In crossing the whitewash twice at Allianz Park in the quarter finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the prolific 30-year-old took his tally for European Cup tries up to 36, drawing him level with Vincent Clerc’s record for the competition.

It also took Ashton to five tries in this season’s tournament, making him the joint-second top scorer behind Leinster’s Isa Nacewa.

He will now look to claim the record for his own when Saracens take on Munster at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in the semi-finals in just under three weeks time.

Ashton’s teammate Owen Farrell continues as the Champions Cup’s leading points-scorer, after he kicked another 18 points to make it 97 in total across seven matches, while he has also kicked the most goals (36) at 82 per cent.

Argentine winger Marcelo Bosch was also among the try scorers on the day and no-one made more ground during the match than his 110 metres, which helped the hosts reach the semi-finals for the fifth season running.

Sarries also dominated the list of names in the most tackles made table, with prop Mako Vunipola stopping an opponent in their tracks 16 times, with Maro Itoje not far behind on 13.

However, no-one across the weekend can top Tommy Taylor’s tackle count, with the hooker making a staggering 21 hits during Wasps 32-17 defeat against Leinster.

Taylor’s huge work-rate pushed him up to seventh in the most tackles made in the competition with 70 – he only missed four across six games.

Fellow Wasps Thomas Young and Joe Launchbury are fourth and fifth respectively on that list, following a match in which their side were often on the back foot.

Despite Dai Young’s side being restricted to 32 per cent possession, Kurtley Beale was still able to make 82 metres in 11 carries.

In the Challenge Cup, both Aviva Premiership Rugby sides progressed from their respective quarter-finals, with Anthony Watson impressing in Bath’s 34-20 win over Brive at the Recreation Ground.

The England international made 131 metres and carried on 16 occasions, both more than anyone else on the pitch, while he also assisted a try for Tom Homer in the first half.

Semesa Rokoduguni, who scored twice, left 11 defenders trailing in his wake during the course of the match, while Charlie Ewels made the most tackles with 15.

Full back Tom Marshall made the most out of the 55 metres he ran for Gloucester in their 46-26 win over Cardiff Blues at Kingsholm, by scoring two of the hosts’ six tries.

The Cherry & Whites put a big shift in defensively as well, with Billy Twelvetrees making 18 tackles, just ahead of Ben Morgan’s 17.

Selected top performers

Points

Owen Farrell (Saracens) 97

Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster) 94

Isa Nacewa (Leinster) 80

Tries

Isa Nacewa (Leinster) 7

Nick Abendanon (Clermont Auvergne) 5

Chris Ashton (Saracens) 5

Nemani Nadolo (Montpellier) 5

Goalkickers

Owen Farrell (Saracens) 36 (from 44 attempts, 82%)

Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster) 35 (from 44 attempts 80%)

Morgan Parra (Clermont Auvergne) 32 (from 39 attempts, 82%)

Tackles

Sebastien Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne) 80

Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) 79

Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 79

Thomas Young (Wasps) 76

Joe Launchbury (Wasps) 74

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets

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