Opta rankings: Numbers add up in the Guinness PRO14 Final

Daniel Barnes
01 June 2018

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The dust has settled on an unforgettable 2018 Guinness PRO14 Final – and now it’s time to crunch the numbers.

Leinster completed an historic domestic and European double by defeating Scarlets 40-32 in a thrilling encounter at the Aviva Stadium, following up their Champions Cup triumph in style.

There were thrills and spills, and players from both teams performing superhuman feats all across the pitch – here are some of the key stats from an exhilarating Guinness PRO14 finale.

CARRY THEM HOME

Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 Final was a feast of attacking rugby, with both teams battling tooth and nail to be crowned kings of the championship.

Two Scarlets players top the list of top ball-carriers at the Aviva Stadium, with Australian lock Steven Cummins travelling with the ball in hand more than anyone else.

He got through 16 carries during the final, one more than hat-trick man Johnny McNicholl with Cian Healey and Jack Conan getting through plenty of work in attack for Leinster.

Carries

Steven Cummins (Scarlets) – 16

Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) – 15

Cian Healey (Leinster), Jack Conan (Leinster) – 13

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) – 12

SCARLETS STAND FIRM

Leinster ultimately came out on top to become the new Guinness PRO14 champions and perhaps one of the indicators of their success is the amount of defensive work they forced the Scarlets to undertake.

The Irish province kept the ball in hand as much as possible so it’s no surprise to see Scarlets players dominate the list of top tacklers.

Lewis Rawlins is top of the pops, having stopped no less than 20 opponents in their tracks while Ken Owens and James Davies made 17 each in a fine defensive rearguard.

Tackles

Lewis Rawlins (Scarlets) – 20

Ken Owens (Scarlets), James Davies (Scarlets) – 17

Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) – 15

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Steven Cummins (Scarlets) – 14

WILLIAMS GETS MOTORING

Scarlets centre Scott Williams was full of running all afternoon and was the only player to pass the century-mark for metres made.

In an encounter with such sky-high stakes, however, there wasn’t much space afforded to enterprising ball-carriers, with McNicholl (74) and Leinster’s James Lowe (72) next on the list.

Hadleigh Parkes followed up his 14 tackles with 60 metres in attack to demonstrate his all-round game on the biggest stage.

Metres made

Scott Williams (Scarlets) – 106

Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) – 74

James Lowe (Leinster) – 72

Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) – 60

Jack Conan (Leinster), Luke McGrath (Leinster) – 54

GIVING THEM THE SLIP

Three influential Scarlets men breezed past opponents more than anyone else at the Aviva Stadium – although it didn’t prove enough to overcome Leinster.

Three-try McNicholl, centre Williams and the impressive Hadleigh Parkes all beat four opposition defenders apiece.

Team-mate Steven Cummings was next best with three while Jack Conan beat a pair of Scarlets defenders.

Defenders beaten

Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) – 4

Steven Cummins (Scarlets) – 3

Jack Conan (Leinster) – 2

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