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Opta rankings: Derby stars stand out

Paul Eddison

28 Dec 2017

The festive period produced some great clashes in the Guinness PRO14 with some thrilling derbies that came down to the final minutes.

A number of players caught the eye from 20-year-old Leinster sensation Jordan Larmour to Edinburgh flyer Duhan van der Merwe, and that’s borne out by the Opta rankings from the weekend.

We’ve picked out some of the standout performers in what for some was the final outing in 2017.

UNTOUCHABLE

By now everyone has seen Jordan Larmour’s stunning try for Leinster in their derby success at Munster, and the youngster finished with nine defenders beaten in all as his gamebreaking ability stood out.

The only player to match him in that category was Van der Merwe, who has shone for Edinburgh after injury kept him out in the early weeks of the season.

The South African, who joined from Montpellier this summer, only made his debut in November, but is starting to make his presence felt as Edinburgh ended Glasgow’s unbeaten start to the campaign and won the 1872 Cup clash at BT Murrayfield.

Alex Wootton didn’t quite grab the headlines like Larmour, but was also impressive in the Thomond Park clash, albeit on the losing side for Munster, and the same is true of Zebre’s Renato Giammarioli, who beat six defenders from No.8.

Most defenders beaten in round 11
Jordan Larmour (Leinster) – 9
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 9
Alex Wootton (Munster) – 7
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) – 6
Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht) – 5
Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh) – 5
Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht) – 5

CLASSY CONNACHT

Connacht earned a record win over Ulster on Saturday as they romped to a 44-16 success at the Sportsground.
Ultan Dillane might have scored two tries, but he had plenty of teammates who also stood out, notably in the clean breaks department.
Jarrad Butler led the way with four, while Matt Healy and Bundee Aki managed three apiece, and the latter two were similarly impressive in racking up 94 and 85 metres respectively.
Also worth a mention is Huw Jones, who made three clean breaks for Glasgow Warriors, albeit in a losing cause.

Most clean breaks in round 11
Jarrad Butler (Connacht) – 4
Huw Jones (Edinburgh) – 3
Matt Healy (Connacht) – 3
Bundee Aki (Connacht) – 3

See more Opta stats in the Guinness PRO14 here

HARD-WORKING FORWARDS

They might not always have ended up on the winning side but lots of forwards produced tireless displays in round 11.

Notably Matt Smith of Glasgow made 26 tackles, while CJ Stander and Renato Giammarioli led the way in the carrying stakes despite all three ultimately missing out on victory.

And that was also true of Dragons’ Elliot Dee, another to rack up the carries in the derby clash with the Cardiff Blues.

Most tackles made in round 11
Matt Smith (Glasgow Warriors) – 26
Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) – 23
Devin Toner (Leinster) – 22
CJ Stander (Munster) – 21
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster) – 20
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 20

Most carries in round 11
CJ Stander (Munster) – 22
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) – 20
Alex Wootton (Munster) – 19
Elliot Dee (Dragons) – 18
Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets) – 16

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