European Opta Rankings: Evans and Stander shine through

Charlie Peat
12 December 2017

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We’re at the halfway point in the pool stages of European competition and so far, it’s been pretty good for the Guinness PRO14.

Leinster and Munster remain unbeaten and look well on their way to qualifying for the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals, with the likes of Scarlets and Ulster also picking up valuable victories.

And as we catch our breath after what has been another dramatic weekend, we take a look who has been at the top of their game on the continent.


Munster look set to progress to the quarter-finals and that’s no small part down to the ball-carrying skills of CJ Stander.

The Irish international has made an impressive 53 carries across the tournament so far, 22 of those coming in a 33-10 victory over Leicester Tigers in round three.

It was an impressive night for the 27-year-old, who also made 51 metres in the Irish province’s bonus-point victory, putting them in pole position in Pool Four.

Ulster’s Charles Piutau is just six carries behind Stander following the 26-year-old’s sumptuous performance against Harlequins.


Ospreys held on against Northampton Saints in an 11-try thriller and at the heart of the scoring was that man again – Dan Evans.

The Welsh international kept up his impressive record of scoring two tries in each of the three continental matches as he helped Ospreys clinch their first win of the competition at Franklin’s Gardens.

Those two dot-downs have Evans clearly ahead of anybody else in the tournament – Clermont’s Alivereti Raka is the closest on four.

Evans also sits second in the points-scoring charts in the competition, three points behind Morgan Parra, of Clermont.


Ulster bounced back from a tough round two fixture against La Rochelle with a battling display against Harlequins.

Piutau leads all players in terms of metres made, racking up 357 metres across the three matches.

Teammate Jacob Stockdale has made 228 metres, including 91 against Quins, which is the fourth-highest across the board.

Stockdale has also made the third-highest number of breaks, making eight in just three matches.


It’s fair to say Edinburgh are thriving in the Challenge Cup and a 50-20 hammering of London Irish puts them in a commanding position at the halfway point.

So it’s no surprise to see Richard Cockerill’s men lighting up the stats pages, with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne top of the tree when it comes to points scored.

The Scot has 29 points from three matches, including five against Irish, with Blair Kinghorn the joint-highest-try scorer with three despite having played just two games so far.

Indeed, Kinghorn continues to impress, with his kicking at 100 per cent so far, a feat no other player has managed.

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