LONDON, ENGLAND – As we head into another European break the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table is beginning to take shape, with Northampton Saints leading the way. They sit pretty at the top of the tree after claiming East Midlands bragging rights at the weekend, but Bristol Bears are hot on their heels just two points behind in second place. It is no surprise, therefore, that they have players to feature in the Round Five player stats, with both Charles Piutau and Taqele Naiyaravoro continuing their fine early-season form.
But they weren’t the only ones to shine last weekend and you can check out the top 25s in each category, from the weekend just gone and the season as a whole, at the link below, so read on to see which players stood out in Round Five.
Please click here to see the full Opta Rugby Rankings for Gallagher Premiership Rugby for this season after Round Five
This season has so far been one to remember for Bristol Bears and Charles Piutau.
The Bears were held to a draw by London Irish on Sunday but Piutau once again shone at Ashton Gate, helping himself to a second-half try in the stalemate. But the full-back offered so much more than just crossing the whitewash as he finished with the most carries (23) and metres (198) across Round Five, while he was joint top for defenders beaten with 11. Add to this his three clean breaks and it was another sterling performance from the Bears talisman. Piutau is now clearly ahead in the season totals for carries and metres, his 87 being 20 more than his nearest competitor in the former while his 551m is 130m more than anyone else has made so far this Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign.
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Northampton Saints): Naiyaravoro had to settle for second best behind Piutau for carries and metres made in Round Five – but his efforts of 18 and 164m respectively shouldn’t be underestimated. The big winger featured heavily in Northampton Saints’ 36-13 derby victory over Leicester Tigers, with his four offloads one better than Harlequins’ Tom Lawday across the Round Five action. Those four took him to ten for the season and in turn top spot for the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season, albeit a space he shares with Piutau and Daniel du Preez of Sale Sharks.
Naiyaravoro wasn’t the only Saint to shine in the victory though with Lewis Ludlam’s four turnovers more than anyone else in Round Five, while Tom Wood and Cobus Reinach chipped in with two lineout steals apiece.
Meanwhile, Matt Proctor beat nine Leicester Tigers defenders, just two short of the Round Five best.
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks): Having helped England reach the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final, Sale Sharks’ Curry returned to Gallagher Premiership Rugby action this weekend. And while the flanker was unable to lift his side past Worcester Warriors, Curry was back doing what he does best at Sixways. The 21-year-old finished with 25 tackles in the 20-13 loss, three more than Matt Kvesic of Exeter Chiefs. His fellow Shark Jono Ross still leads the season total with 79 after his 18 in Round Five, but if his first League appearance of the season is anything to go by then Curry will be hot on his heels very soon indeed.
About Premiership Rugby:
Premiership Rugby is the organisation which manages the top league in English club rugby – Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
It acts for its shareholder clubs in all major commercial and strategic negotiations with media and sponsorship partners of the league, as well as with other rugby governing bodies.
Premiership Rugby is also responsible for key areas of governance of the top flight competitions, including the Salary Cap Framework, Minimum Standards Criteria and Code of Conduct, as well as managing the Gallagher Premiership Rugby competition, Premiership Rugby 7s and the Premiership Rugby Cup, all of which are televised live exclusively by BT Sport.
Partners for the 2019-20 season are: Gallagher, BT Sport, Channel 5, Land Rover, BetUK, Citizen, Gilbert and The Times.
Premiership Rugby runs more than 90 local and national community rugby programmes. Each season Premiership Rugby and its clubs, working together with our players, coaches and impressive list of private, public and third sector partners, invest over £3.3million in a variety of community programmes under the Play and BreakThru campaigns which aim to grow grassroots participation and tackle core issues.