Statistics and numbers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea however, when you put them in a rugby context as opposed to being part of bank statements or balance sheets, then they are much more agreeable!
During the opening four rounds we have seen 88 tries, 133 penalties scored and just one solitary, but extremely important, drop goal.
Harlequins’ fly-half Nick Evans is leading the way in terms of accumulating points, he has a personal total of 74 from 299 minutes of rugby. Nick’s form in the opening matches has been outstanding and his experience is paying huge dividends for Conor O’Shea’s side as he is manoeuvring them into the right areas.
In terms of defensive industry the Worcester Warriors have 6 of the top 10 ten tacklers in the competition and together they have made a staggering 299 hits in 4 matches. Phil Dowson top the charts with 57, followed by Donncha O’Callaghan who has 51 and both are leading the way on, and off the field, for Dean Ryan’s side. In between all of the Warriors sits one of the most experienced men in the Aviva Premiership, George Smith. George has taken a little time to adjust to the Northern Hemisphere’s referees having given away 9 penalties however now that he has fined tuned his understanding he is set to go from strength to strength, as we saw against Toulon in Europe this weekend.
The Sale Sharks’ Mike Haley is an individual that has quietly gone about his business in the opening four rounds and has recorded some great statistics for his side. Mike tops the carry count with 53 and has made the second most metres of all with 289. The Shark isn’t the largest of individuals however instead his pace and allusive running pays dividends for Steve Diamond’s men and the young full back is poised to have a great season.
From his opening carry in Round 1 it was clear that Marland Yarde is ready to prove a point this season after a quiet first year at Harlequins. Marland has already beaten 17 defenders, made 223 metres and amassed 6 breaks. The former London Irish winger looks hungry for work and ready to try and put his hand back into the International mix.
In terms of Aviva Premiership marksmen it will come as little surprise to you that George Ford is leading the way with 15 out of 16 successful kicks at goal (94%). George has been consistently steering Bath Rugby with pose this year and off the tee has got them out of trouble on a number of occasions. Newcastle Falcon, Mike Delany, is close behind the England fly-half with 12 from 13, 92%, and the aforementioned Nick Evans has slotted a cool 25 from 28 attempts, 89%. Of course we all know that rugby is a fifteen man game however the importance of having an individual that can nail his goal kicks from anywhere is integral to any tournament winning side.
From the Worcester Warriors’ match winning drop goal on the opening night to Elliot Daly’s long range penalties in the final match before the European break the opening four rounds of the Aviva Premiership have been enthralling. With individuals notching up points and tries galore we should see plenty of milestones and perhaps a few records broken over the course of the season. Charlie Hodgson has amassed 2,486 Aviva Premiership points so far in his career and looks certain to exceed 2,500 plus! Chris Ashton has scored 60 Aviva Premiership tries and is catching James Simpson-Daniel, 63, and Tom Voyce, 66, ahead of him and Phil Dowson is adding, on a weekly basis, to his 229 Aviva Premiership appearances.
Of course the most important numbers are those on the scoreboard at the end of the eighty minutes however it is always interesting to dive into the detail of the Opta Statistics and gain an insight into our top Aviva Premiership performers.
By Emma Thurston
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