Guinness PRO14 OPTA stats: Giles, Asquith and Beirne star in Round 16

27 February 2019

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There was another fine weekend of attacking rugby in Round 16 of the Guinness PRO14.

Five of the seven matches saw more than 60 points scored as expansive rugby came to the fore.

With all those scores, we have dug a bit deeper into the statistics to see who shone away from the scoreboard.


Asquith steals the show for Scarlets

Scarlets centre Paul Asquith led the league with 139 metres made as Scarlets saw off Toyota Cheetahs 43-21.

He was rewarded with a score late on to complete six-try win at Parc y Scarlets.

And metres made was not the only statistic where Asquith was top, as his five clean breaks were also more than any other player – meaning he had close to a 50 per cent success rate on his 13 carries.

The Scarlets man has been reliable all season at breaking down defences, with his 20 clean breaks meaning he is joint-fourth, with Cheetahs’ Malcolm Jaer, in the standings.


Leinstermen lead the carry count

Leinster dominated the possession and territory as they ran in nine tries to beat Isuzu Southern Kings 59-19.

Three of the top four carriers came from the 2017/18 Guinness PRO14 champions, with Ed Byrne’s 20 being the most of any player in the competition in Round 16.

Caelan Doris and Barry Daly both had 17 to grab spots near the top of the charts – with three more players making the top 25.

It showed in the inverse with the top three tacklers for the most recent weekend of action coming from the South African outfit.

Tienie Burger and Henry Brown both had 29 to share the top spot, while skipper-for-the-day JC Astle had 24 to come in third.

Four more Kings players had 15 or more tackles as they put in a defensive shift to try and keep Leinster at bay.


Keelan’s killer feet

Ospreys wing Keelan Giles was his usual elusive self as he beat ten defenders during his 63-minute appearance in the defeat 19-13 defeat against Munster.

The flyer was well clear of his nearest rivals Robert Baloucoune (Ulster) and Noel Reid (Leinster), who both evaded eight defenders in their respective appearances.

Giles’ figure is even more extraordinary when you consider he made just 26 metres on four carries.

He is still a long way off some of his teammates in terms of tallies this season with Dan Evans (33), George North (30) and Luke Morgan (30) all making the top 20 for 2018/19.


Benetton’s outstanding offloads

Italian outfit Benetton Rugby showed the key to scoring is to keep the ball moving as they ran in nine tries to beat Dragons 57-7.

And a key part of their victory was the sheer number of offloads – led by wing Monty Ioane (seven) and fly-half Antonio Rizzi (six).

Iliesa Ratuva had three from the wing while there were host of players grabbing two with Irne Herbst, Marco Barbini, Giorgio Bronzini, Toa Halafihi and Tommaso Benvenuti all keeping the ball alive with two offloads apiece.

It is hardly surprising with three Benetton men making the top six in offloads so far in the Guinness PRO14.

Ioane is second with 23 and Ratuva not far behind on 22, both are behind Connacht’s Thomas Farrell – who leads the division with 24.


Turnovers help Munster to triumph

Munster’s Tadhg Beirne led the way in the most recent round of games, demonstrating his incredible ability to jackal as he made an astonishing four turnovers in their 19-13 win at Ospreys.

Only Toyota Cheetahs’ Ox Nche and Josh Macleod, from Scarlets, were able to grab more than two as they made vital contributions for their respective sides.

Nche has one more so far this season with 12, compared to Macleod’s 11, but all three are still a long way behind league-leader Olly Robinson, of Cardiff Blues.

He has racked up 23 and is six ahead of his nearest challengers Marcel Coetzee (Ulster) and Nick Williams (Cardiff Blues).

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