Defending champions Saracens re-asserted themselves at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings with a 30-14 triumph over Wasps on Sunday, and several of their stars dominated the stats tables this weekend.
Saracens have now won nine of their last ten matches against Wasps, although this game was the most comprehensive in that run and their joint-biggest win over Wasps ever.
Sean Maitland’s tally of 185 metres over the gainline is the most by a player this season – and in fact the most by any Aviva Premiership Rugby player since December 2014 – while Billy Vunipola walked off with the man-of-the-match honours after notching up 16 carries and four offloads in a titanic performance.
England starlet Maro Itoje continues to impress for Mark McCall’s men, and made 16 tackles – more than any other player in the game – won two turnovers, claimed six lineouts and stole another.
That means that the powerful second-rower now tops the turnover charts in England with nine and counting, while he also leads the way for lineout steals with four.
Gloucester Rugby’s Ross Moriarty was another who impressed in defence this weekend, and while he could not stop Exeter Chiefs coming back to draw 27-27 at Sandy Park, he made a league-high 22 tackles in the match.
He cut down everything that moved on Saturday, but his team-mate Tom Savage continues to lead the way with 76 overall.
This was only Exeter’s second draw in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, having drawn 12-12 with Bath Rugby in 2012, but now the Cherry & Whites have managed that many this season alone along with Worcester Warriors.
Harlequins ended a run of six straight league defeats to Northampton Saints with their 20-9 win at the Stoop – this was their first win over the Midlands side at home since 2013.
Chris Robshaw won two turnovers for John Kingston’s men while Tim Visser made three breaks, but full-back Mike Brown was once again the key man for Quins, making 20 carries for 98 metres and beating a league-high six defenders.
Graham Kitchener was king of the skies for Leicester Tigers as he won 12 lineouts in total as they beat Worcester Warriors – their 13th win in a row over their Midlands rivals.
Jonathan Joseph’s 106 metres gained and Dave Attwood’s 17 tackles helped Bath to their second-biggest win over Sale Sharks, while Kahn Fotuali’i also notched up three turnovers in the 30-3 triumph.
Newcastle Falcons have now gone nine games without reaching 20 points, yet have still won four of those after beating Bristol Rugby 19-14.
Another 17 tackles for skipper Will Welch in that game moved him up to fourth overall with 69 successfully made so far.
Unsurprisingly the league’s top eight tacklers all play in either the second or back row, but the forwards are also doing much of the try-scoring so far this season.
Jamie George’s double this weekend against Wasps moves him clear on top with five tries, but in the group of players behind on four there are two Exeter Chiefs forwards in Luke Cowan-Dickie and Thomas Waldrom.
Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby) – 22
Mariano Galarza (Gloucester Rugby) – 19
Mike Haywood (Northampton Saints) – 17
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) – 22
Jordan Crane (Bristol Rugby), Mike Brown (Harlequins) – 20
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 18
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 185
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 114
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby) – 106
Mike Brown (Harlequins), Dean Hammond (Worcester Warriors), Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 6
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs) – 5
Sam James (Sale Sharks), Billy Vunipola (Saracens) – 4
Jonathan Mills (Sale Sharks) – 3
Graham Kitchener (Leicester Tigers) – 12
Maro Itoje (Saracens), Phil Dowson (Worcester Warriors) – 6
James Horwill (Harlequins), Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) – 5