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Wasps carrying their sting into Europe

Wasps may have lost to Northampton Saints last Friday but the evidence suggests they will carry their sting into Europe after a series of sparkling individual displays.

Christian Wade will need to be at his best when Wasps face the might of European champions Toulon this weekend and he certainly was at Franklin’s Gardens.

According to Opta statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby, the speedster racked up 136 metres gained, beat seven defenders and made four clean breaks in the process of scoring his hat-trick of tries.

Other Wasps standouts included Kearnan Myall, with ten lineouts won and a steal, and in-form centre Elliot Daly after his five offloads.

Saracens will also be relying on their wing attack at Racing Metro this weekend and there’s unlikely to be a more in-form pair of flyers in Europe than David Strettle and Chris Ashton.

The pair have combined for 14 Aviva Premiership Rugby tries this season and though Ashton scored a try-double in Saturday’s Wembley victory over Harlequins, Strettle enjoyed the statistically superior day.

The 31-year-old gained 96 yards from ten carries, found his way past seven defenders and made two breaks and offloads apiece.

Some of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s best wingers will also light up the European Rugby Challenge Cup and there seems to be no end to Sinoti Sinoti’s antics this season.

Though his efforts were in vain as London Irish edged Newcastle Falcons at the Madejski Stadium, he made round-highs of 139 metres – taking his season total to 1,366 – and eight defenders beaten.

Falcons will travel to Exeter Chiefs for their Challenge Cup quarter-final and the Sandy Park oufit carry a very different kind of threat in Thomas Waldrom.

The No.8 notched his 13th Aviva Premiership Rugby try of the season in defeat to Leicester Tigers, carrying the ball a lung-busting 21 times, making three offloads and forcing a turnover.

As for the Exiles, their defence is not likely to go wanting in their home quarter-final tie with Edinburgh as Conor Gilsenan (22), Eamonn Sheridan (21), Eoin Griffin (19) and Blair Cowan (18) all made the top six for tackles in Round 18.

In Sunday’s fixtures Sale Sharks captain Dan Braid produced a round-best three turnovers in their triumph over Gloucester Rugby, while Stuart Hooper stole the ball four times for Bath Rugby in victory over London Welsh.
 
Selected Opta statistics for Round 18
 
Tackles made
Conor Gilsenan (London Irish) 22
Eamonn Sheridan (London Irish), Julian Salvi (Leicester Tigers) 21
Eoin Griffin (London Irish) 19
 
Carries
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) 21
Jordan Crane (Leicester Tigers) 19
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons) 18
 
Metres gained
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons) 139
Christian Wade (Wasps) 136
Mike Haley (Sale Sharks) 97
 
Defenders beaten
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons) 8
David Strettle (Saracens), Christian Wade (Wasps) 7
Leroy Houston (Bath Rugby), Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks), Niki Goneva (Leicester Tigers) 6
 
Breaks
Christian Wade (Wasps) 4
Chris Wyles, Chris Ashton (Saracens), George North (Northampton Saints), Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle Falcons), Niki Goneva (Leicester Tigers) 3

Each month Aviva is giving fans their say on who deserves to win the coveted Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award with the chance to win four tickets to an Aviva Premiership Rugby game of their choice! Become the 10th judge and vote by visiting www.aviva.co.uk/10thjudge open until midnight on Wednesday, 1 April.
 

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