Stats review of the weekend: Bellini’s terrific treble

Last weekend saw a host of NatWest 6 Nations stars in action for their clubs or provinces in the semi-finals of the two European competitions.

Last weekend saw a host of NatWest 6 Nations stars in action for their clubs or provinces in the semi-finals of the two European competitions.

In the Champions Cup, France’s Teddy Thomas scored twice as Racing 92 defeated Munster while Ireland internationals James Ryan, Cian Healy and Johnny Sexton were all on the mark for Leinster against Scarlets.

In the Challenge Cup, Wales’ Josh and Gareth Anscombe were both involved for Cardiff Blues against Pau while Italy’s Jake Polledri helped Gloucester to defeat Newcastle Falcons – and there were a couple of PRO14 matches as well.

Here are some of the best stats to have emerged from a dramatic weekend.

Bellini brilliant for Zebre

Zebre were inspired to a 37-14 victory over Ospreys in the PRO14 by a hat-trick from Italy winger Bellini, who produced a brilliant all-round attacking performance.

Bellini made the most metres out of any NatWest 6 Nations player last weekend, with 110 from 15 carries, while he also defeated three defenders and produced three offloads.

In terms of metres made, he was followed by this year’s Championship’s top try-scorer, Jacob Stockdale, with the Ireland winger gaining 96 for Ulster against Glasgow Warriors.

In the European semis, Stockdale’s international colleague Rob Kearney gained 93 metres for Leinster and beat two Scarlets players from the one clean break he made.

In the same game, Wales winger Steff Evans left four defenders trailing in his wake while gaining 89 metres over the course of the match

Most metres gained by NatWest 6 Nations players Mattia Bellini (Italy) – 110 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) – 96 Rob Kearney (Ireland) – 93 Steff Evans (Wales) – 89 Matteo Minozzi (Italy) – 85

Thomas tears Munster apart

Thomas displayed the electric form that earned him three tries in this year’s NatWest 6 Nations, as he scored two tries while setting up another for Maxime Machenaud for Racing 92 against Munster.

The France winger left eight defenders grasping thin air in the Champions Cup semi-final at Bordeaux’s Stade Chaban-Delmas while he made three clean breaks and gained 70 metres.

While Thomas’ brace helped Racing build a big lead, Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray did his utmost to bring Munster back into the game, as he beat five defenders.

Murray also fired an astonishing 106 passes during the match, compared to 44 from his opposite number Machenaud.

Most defenders beaten by NatWest 6 Nations players Teddy Thomas (France) – 8 Conor Murray (Ireland) – 5 Jacob Stockdale (Ireland) – 5 Steff Evans (Wales) – 4 Gareth Anscombe (Wales) – 3 Mattia Bellini (Italy) – 3 Fraser Brown (Scotland) – 3 Jake Polledri (Italy) – 3

Bruising back-rowers Looking through the list of the most tackles made, it’s easy to notice how much defensive work back-row forwards got through over the last weekend.

Not least from France’s Wenceslas Lauret, who stopped an opponent in their tracks 20 times as Racing 92 clung on in the face of heavy pressure from Munster.

While his effort was a winning one, Wales’ James Davies and Scotland captain John Barclay couldn’t prevent Scarlets from losing 38-16 to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium, despite making 19 and 17 tackles respectively.

Italy flanker Polledri had a storming match for Gloucester as they defeated Newcastle Falcons 33-12 last Friday in their Challenge Cup semi-final, making three clean breaks and 15 tackles.

The one exception to the list came from France hooker Camille Chat, who managed to get through the same amount of tackles as Polledri.

Most tackles by NatWest 6 Nations players Wenceslas Lauret (France) – 20 James Davies (Wales) – 19 John Barclay (Scotland) – 17 Camille Chat (France) – 16 Josh Navidi (Wales) – 15 Jake Polledri (Italy) – 15