End of season Opta rankings for Premiership Rugby 2017/18
Another thrilling Aviva Premiership Rugby season concluded with Saracens regaining the title after defeating last year’s champions Exeter Chiefs 27-10 at Twickenham.
Chiefs had finished the regular season top of the table for the first time, but they fell at the final hurdle despite seeing off Newcastle Falcons in a dominant semi-final performance.
Mark McCall’s side, on the other hand, bounced back from their seven-match losing streak to clinch their third Aviva Premiership Rugby title in four years and the fourth in their history.
Unsurprisingly, players from both sides feature heavily in the end of season stats, with the excellence of Alex Goode – who played a starring role in the final – reflected by the rankings.
Here are the best performers from this season in several different categories, including most metres run, highest tackle count, most defenders beaten and much more.
Most Tackles: Jono Ross (Sale Sharks) – 336
Despite Sale Sharks narrowly missing out on the top six, Jono Ross still finished the season as the top tackler in one of the few categories without one of the finalists in the top five.
His total of 336 puts him ahead of Gloucester’s Lewis Ludlow (329), while he also left Sale team-mate Ross Harrison (301) and Worcester’s Sam Lewis trailing in his wake.
Thomas Young completes the top five after featuring in Wasps’ semi-final defeat to eventual champions Saracens in the record-breaking final four clash at Allianz Park.
Jono Ross (Sale Sharks) – 336
Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester) – 329
Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks) – 301
Sam Lewis (Worcester) – 289
Thomas Young (Wasps) – 267
Most Carries: Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester Tigers) – 324
The first of several categories to feature Goode, but even the Saracens full-back was unable to topple Sione Kalamafoni, of Leicester Tigers, as the most effective ball-carrier.
The Tongan No.8 ran away with the title in his first season at Tigers, with Goode his nearest rival on 279 carries, closely followed by Exeter Chiefs’ Olly Woodburn.
Jackson Wray was ranked fourth after racking up 260 carries en route to lifting the Premiership trophy with Saracens, while Gloucester’s Ruan Ackermann (259) rounds off the top five.
Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester) – 324
Alex Goode (Saracens) – 279
Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) – 278
Jackson Wray (Saracens) – 260
Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester) – 259
1️⃣3️⃣5️⃣ matches 🤝
7️⃣8️⃣4️⃣ tries 🏉
1️⃣2️⃣ teams 👌
1️⃣ winner 👑
What a season we had in the #AvivaPrem 🙌🙌
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 3, 2018
Most Metres: Alex Goode (Saracens) – 1891
It’s that man again. Goode topped the standings for most metres made at the end of the regular season and continued to run riot in the semi-final and final.
The full-back made the most metres of any player (1891), with Woodburn finishing behind closest to him with 1,813 metres and Leicester’s Telusa Veainu in a distant third (1,520).
Gloucester’s Jason Woodward also features high on the list with 1,389 metres, while Wasps dangerman Willie Le Roux takes the final sport with 1,229 metres.
Alex Goode (Saracens) – 1891
Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) – 1813
Telusa Veainu (Leicester) – 1520
Jason Woodward (Gloucester) – 1389
Willie Le Roux (Wasps) – 1229
Most Defenders Beaten: Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 89
The battle to be the most elusive player in the Premiership in the 2017/18 season was closely fought, but Leicester full-back Veainu takes the honour.
Despite his side missing out on the semi-finals, the 27-year-old finished ahead of four men who all reached the knockout stage – with two of the top five in the final.
His total of 89 defenders beaten was more than deadly Wasps winger Christian Wade (85), with Goode (80) and Woodburn (61) both featuring again, sandwiching Newcastle’s Sinoti Sinoti (76).
Telusa Veainu (Leicester) – 89
Christian Wade (Wasps) – 85
Alex Goode (Saracens) – 80
Sinoti Sinoti (Newcastle) – 76
Olly Woodburn (Exeter Chiefs) – 61
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 6, 2018
Turnovers Won: Jamie Gibson (Northampton) and Dave Ward (Quins) – 19
Even though both of their sides finished in the bottom half of the Premiership, Northampton’s Jamie Gibson and Harlequins’ Dave Ward were the joint turnover kings.
The pair finished level at the top of the rankings on 19 turnovers each, with Leicester’s Brendon O’Connor finishing one behind them on 18 at the end of the season.
Nothing was able to separate London Irish back-rower Blair Cowan, Saracens star Maro Itoje and Harlequins’ Chris Robshaw behind them, who tied on 17 turnovers each.
Jamie Gibson (Northampton) – 19
Dave Ward (Harlequins) – 19
Brendon O’Connor (Leicester) – 18
Blair Cowan (London Irish) – 17
Maro Itoje (Saracens) – 17