With the sun out on the Bank Holiday weekend, attacking rugby was on full display across Europe.
The Aviva Premiership regular season finale on Saturday was full of points while the Top 14 also had its fair share of drama and the Guinness PRO14 semi-final qualifiers did not disappoint.
And there were a number of eye-popping statistics that stood out as the NatWest 6 Nations sides prepare for their summer tours. BLAIR’S A KING Blair Kinghorn has made more metres than any other player in the Guinness PRO14 this season and he did not disappoint again on Saturday.
Back at full-back for Edinburgh rather than on the wing where he made his international debut during the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations – Kinghorn hardly deserved to be on the losing side against Munster at Thomond Park.
His 157m with ball in hand with eight defenders beaten caught the eye on a great weekend for full-backs. Selected top metre makers Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh – 157 Olly Woodburn – Exeter Chiefs – 141 Phil Dollman – Exeter Chiefs 123 Alex Brew – Bath – 110 Jason Woodward – Gloucester Rugby – 109 Indeed on the Musnter side, Simon Zebo produced the game’s moment of real magic in creating the decisive score for Keith Earls.
In England, Ben Foden, in his farewell game for Northampton Saints, was on fire with a try and seven defenders beaten while Jason Woodward continued to progress his England credentials.
Another man that cannot be overlooked is Saracens’ Alex Goode who beat nine defenders and pulled the strings as Saracens tuned up for the semi-finals in perfect style by putting Gloucester to the sword. Selected most defenders beaten Alex Goode – Saracens – 9 Blair Kinghorn – Edinburgh – 8 Ben Foden – Northampton Saints – 7 Scott Williams – Scarlets – 7 Mike Brown – Harlequins – 6 CARRYING THE LOAD Magnus Bradbury has been a key figure in Edinburgh’s upsurge this season and the flanker was again impressive on Saturday.
Munster’s collective spirit proved enough to hold the Edinburgh onslaught at bay in the end, but the youngster will surely be in Gregor Townsend’s thoughts for the summer tour as he looks to add to his two international caps. Selected top carriers Magnus Bradbury – Edinburgh – 17 Sam Hill – Exeter Chiefs – 16 Jono Ross – Sale Sharks – 16 Taulupe Faletau – Bath Rugby 15 Hadleigh Parkes – Scarlets – 15 Dave Ewers – Exeter Chiefs – 14
Sticking with the back row and Eddie Jones has a few questions to answer when he names his squad for South Africa on Sunday.
Dave Ewers looks to be back to his best for Exeter Chiefs after a long injury lay-off, skittling Quins defenders all afternoon in his side’s romp at the Stoop.
Jack Willis did not shirk his defensive duties either for Wasps in their win over Newcastle Falcons.
Jono Ross of Sale Sharks is also rumoured to be in contention for England selection and he again impressed, albeit in defeat to Leicester Tigers. Tackles Blair Cowan – London Irish – 22 Dave Ewers – Exeter Chiefs – 18 Chris Robshaw – Harlequins 17 Maro Itoje – Saracens – 17 Adrien Pelissie – Bordeaux – 16 BREWING UP SOMETHING SPECIAL Aled Brew’s last Wales cap came against the Barbarians back in 2012, but this season he has been a man re-born at Bath.
The winger has been a class-act in a Bath line shorn of both Anthony Watson and Jonathan Joseph through England call-ups and subsequent injury.
And while Matt Banahan’s farewell hat-trick will get the plaudits from Saturday, Brew continues to catch the eye.
Another man hoping to impress Warren Gatland in a competitive back three is Phil Dollman – the Exeter Chief who was robbed of his first call-up by injury last summer.
But they will have to go some to de-place Steff Evans who was on fire for the Scarlets on Saturday as they romped past the Cheetahs. Selected most clean breaks Aled Brew – Bath – 4 Phil Dollman – Exeter Chiefs – 4 Jason Woodward – Gloucester – 3 Alex Goodes – Saracens – 3 Steff Evans – Scarlets – 3