European Opta Rankings: Jack Conan and Munster pair flying high

Andrew Lawton
17 October 2017

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It was a busy week for the Guinness PRO14 clubs in Europe with plenty of individual landmarks being reached amongst the great team performances.

Fly-half Dan Biggar, who passed 1500 points in the Guinness PRO14 in Round 6, scored three conversions at the weekend to move him up to 503 European Cup points.

He’s eighth on the all-time scoring list while Joey Carbery dotted down Leinster’s 400th try in the European Cup in their 24-17 win over Montpellier.

And Simon Zebo scored his 20th try in the Champions Cup to move into second in Munster’s try-scoring list behind the late Anthony Foley who scored 23.

Conan tackles Montpellier threat

Leinster are in an incredibly tough pool with reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors and French giants Montpellier.

And they got off to the perfect start with a try bonus point against the French side but the secret to them earning the full five points may be found in their solid defence.

Jack Conan made 21 tackles at the RDS Arena, joint highest in Round 1 with Judicael Cancoriet of ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Conan’s team-mate Josh van der Flier was just two tackles behind with 19 successful hits putting him joint-fourth on the list of Round 1’s top tacklers.

Kilcoyne and Stander carried Munster to Castres draw

Dave Kilcoyne and CJ Stander both made 16 carries for Munster in their stalemate with Castres at the weekend putting them joint eighth in the Round 1 list.

Ospreys’ Justin Tipuric was second for carries made with 20, one less than Nemani Nadolo of Montpellier.

In the Ospreys’ attack Kieron Fonotia beat seven defenders, as did Adam Byrne for Leinster, but again Nadolo was top of the list.

Piutau inspires Ulster against former club

Charles Piutau returned to haunt his old club Wasps with two assists as Ulster won 19-9 at Kingspan Stadium on Friday night in an eye-catching performance.

The full-back made 117 metres in Round 1, only two players managed more, and made three offloads as he caused havoc in the Wasps defence.

Jacob Stockdale, who scored Ulster’s opening try on 54 minutes, beat five defenders and made four clean breaks in another impressive showing.

Du Preez leads Edinburgh to victory over Irish

In the Challenge Cup, Edinburgh’s Cornell Du Preez made 18 carries as his side saw off London Irish 37-14 at the Madejski Stadium in Reading.

Only Victor Gresev of Krasny Yar managed more carries in Round 1 (23) with Maxim Gargalic of Enisei-STM level with Du Preez in the opening round.

Ben Toolis also had a big impact in Reading with seven line-out wins, no other Challenge Cup player made more on the first weekend of action.

Finally, George Earle had the honour of scoring Cardiff Blues’ 100th try in the Challenge Cup as they beat TOP14 leaders Lyon 29-19 at Cardiff Arms Park.

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