Vereniki Goneva’s try set Newcastle Falcons on their way to a famous 24-22 win against Bath Rugby, but he also shone in the OPTA Rugby Rankings, making more carries and beating more defenders than anyone in Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 13.
The Fijian beat an astonishing eight defenders – with Worcester Warriors Alafoti Fa’osiliva in second with seven – in 19 carries, while his 116 metres made was bettered only by Jonny May and Fa’osiliva and his three offloads took him joint top of the offload charts.
Despite that superb shift, he remains a long way off current overall leader Semesa Rokoduguni when it comes to metres made, the Bath winger’s eye-watering attacking form has seen him rack up 1,103 metres – 366 more than second-place Olly Woodburn – and beat 52 defenders, that is 12 more than next-best Christian Wade.
A try and 112 metres for Rokoduguni was not enough to earn Todd Blackadder’s team the win, with the season’s leading tackler Mark Wilson, on 155, scoring the try that instigated Falcons’ comeback.
Bath hooker Tom Dunn put in a miraculous defensive effort during his side’s defeat, making 25 tackles – the most by a Bath player since Peter Short in 2008 – but it wasn’t enough to stop Dean Richards’ side fighting back from 22-10 down.
The 24-year-old made nine more tackles than anyone else across Aviva Premiership Rugby, with Exeter Chiefs pair Thomas Waldrom and Mitch Lees making 16 tackles in their 13-13 draw with Saracens at Allianz Park.
Waldrom’s invaluable defensive shift was matched with 17 carries and though that left him third to May and Goneva, in the overall standings, he is unparalleled in the overall charts – his 226 carries is 63 better than Sale Sharks’ Cameron Neild, who is second, with Ben Morgan 19 further back in third.
Prop Alex Waller played a huge part in Northampton Saints’ win over Bristol Rugby at Franklin’s Gardens, with three turnovers, while Bristol’s Nic Fenton-Wells did his best with three in defeat.
Yet the season’s turnover master is Fenton-Wells’ Bristol teammate Will Hurrell – the centre now sits on 18 through 13 rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby, four clear of Harlequins openside Luke Wallace.
🎥 “There’s no time for licking wounds. We have to put it right.”
Phil Dowson gives an honest reflection on today’s defeat… pic.twitter.com/4bHdcABizt
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) January 7, 2017
Worcester Warriors back row Fa’osiliva turned in an eye-catching performance in a losing cause to Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm in the M5 Derby on Saturday.
Though Carl Hogg’s side fell to a 55-19 defeat against a rampant Gloucester side, Fa’osiliva made a round-best 137 metres – with Cherry & Whites’ try-scorer Jonny May second with 117 – while his four clean breaks was tied top in Aviva Premiership Round 13 with Sale Sharks’ two-try star Denny Solomona and Fa’osiliva.
Wasps winger Wade scored again as Dai Young’s side defeated Leicester Tigers at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday and the 25-year-old flier now has more Aviva Premiership Rugby tries than anyone else in the 2016/17 season – he is also tied for most clean breaks with Rokoduguni and Tim Visser on 21.
Top Performers in Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 13:
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby) 25
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 16
Luke Charteris (Bath Rugby) 16
Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs) 16
Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 19
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 18
Alafoti Fa’osiliva (Worcester Warriors) 17
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 17
Alafoti Fa’osiliva (Worcester Warriors) 137
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 117
Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 116
Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 8
Alafoti Fa’osiliva (Worcester Warriors) 7
Elliot Daly (Wasps) 5
George North (Northampton Saints) 5
Christian Wade (Wasps) 5
Louis Picamoles (Northampton Saints) 3
Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 3
Ben Foden (Northampton Saints) 3
Alafoti Fa’osiliva (Worcester Warriors) 4
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks) 4
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby) 4
Vereniki Goneva (Newcastle Falcons) 3
Tom Varndell (Bristol Rugby) 3
Charlie Walker (Harlequins) 3
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 3