Opta statistics for Aviva Premiership Rugby: Round 9
You cannot move for stars at Wasps but Sam Jones is perhaps one player who is overlooked – though that was certainly not the case on Sunday.
The back-rower, a product of the club’s academy, put even seasoned internationals George Smith and James Haskell in the shade after featuring heavily in the Opta stats for Aviva Premiership Rugby.
He made an eye-popping 23 tackles – the most any Wasps player has racked up since Joe Launchbury’s 26 in December 2013 against Newcastle Falcons – and carried the ball 14 times to the tune of 66 metres.
What’s more, he beat five defenders and won three line-outs, helping Wasps mount a late comeback and down Worcester Warriors 32-22.
Jimmy Gopperth also put on a show of running rugby at the Ricoh Arena, becoming the first fly-half in Aviva
Premiership Rugby this season to break 100 metres with ball in hand (111m), while Frank Halai also made 105 metres and four clean breaks.
Mike Brown waltzed past six defenders, the most of any player in Round 9, as Harlequins finally put an end to Saracens’ 11-game winning streak in Aviva Premiership Rugby in a thrilling 29-23 victory.
That was despite the best efforts of another England full-back in Alex Goode, who racked up a round-best 126 metres.
Harlequins are now unbeaten in four league games – their best streak since winning five in a row from March to May 2014.
Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints conjured up another classic East Midlands derby and it was a game the likes of which had, quite literally, not been seen this century.
Leicester triumphed 30-27, and the 57 combined points is the highest-scoring game between the two sides since September 1999, when Northampton beat Leicester 46-24.
Exeter Chiefs battled against both the wretched conditions and Gloucester Rugby to win 19-10 on Saturday, taking their home winning streak in Aviva Premiership Rugby to ten games.
That doubles their previous best effort of five home wins on the spin in 2012/13, and one man in particular is also on another charge.
Thomas Waldrom’s double took him back to the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby try-scoring charts with six, fresh from his league-leading 16 efforts last season.
Elsewhere, London Irish’s 20-15 win over Newcastle Falcons was their second win in a row at the Madejski Stadium, and they will be looking to win three at home on the bounce for the first time since March 2013.
Alex Lewington made one of the biggest impressions for the Exiles on Sunday. The wing totted up 123m – second only to Goode – beat four defenders and made three breaks while also scoring a try.
But spare a thought for back-rower Mark Wilson, who put in a mammoth shift of 18 tackles and 17 carries as Newcastle’s attempted comeback came up just short.
Sam Jones (Wasps) 23
Julian Salvi (Exeter Chiefs) 20
Ollie Atkins (Exeter Chiefs) 19
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) 18
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons), Phil Dowson (Worcester Warriors) 17 Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) 16 Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints), Lachlan McCaffrey (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (Wasps) 15
Alex Goode (Saracens) 126
Alex Lewington (London Irish) 123
Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps) 111
Frank Halai (Wasps) 105
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) 101
Mike Brown (Harlequins) 6
Rob Miller, Jimmy Gopperth, Sam Jones (Wasps) 5
Lachlan McCaffrey (Leicester Tigers), Michael Young (Newcastle Falcons), Charlie Mulchrone (Worcester Warriors), Brendan McKibbin (London Irish), Will Fraser (Saracens) 2