Guinness PRO14 Opta stats: quarter-final stars

Daniel Barnes
08 May 2019

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The Guinness PRO14 Final Series is up and running at long last and after two pulsating quarter-final showdowns, we know the four sides that will bid for a place at Celtic Park on May 25.

Munster held off the challenge of Benetton, the first-ever Italian club to qualify for the knockout stages, claiming a narrow 15-13 win at Thomond Park, while Ulster defeated Irish rivals Connacht 21-13.

There were a raft of stellar performances in both games – here’s a closer look at the numbers.

Connacht pair show steel

You won’t stand a chance in knockout rugby if you aren’t prepared to put your body on the line and although they were unable to upset Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium, Connacht had gladiators in their midst.

No.8 Jarrad Butler and flanker Eoin McKeon led the way for the men from Galway, the pair racking up 26 and 25 tackles respectively as they battled gamely against the Ulstermen.

Ultane Dillane (20) was also singing from the same defensive hymn-sheet while Munster’s Jean Kleyn stopped 21 opponents in their tracks as he helped his team overcome Benetton.

Tackles

Jarrad Butler (Connacht) – 26

Eoin McKeon (Connacht) – 25

Jean Kleyn (Munster) – 21

Ultan Dillane (Connacht) – 20

Eoghan Masterson and Finlay Bealham (both Connacht), Marco Zanon (Benetton), CJ Stander (Munster) – 15

Haley is Munster’s driving force

JJ Hanrahan and Tyler Bleyendaal may have sealed Munster’s success over Benetton with the boot but they may not have had so many kicking opportunities were it not for the driving qualities of Mike Haley.

The full-back made more metres than anyone else during the quarter-finals, chewing up 89 as he pushed his team forward time and again.

In the other tie, Ulster’s Michael Lowry (80) and Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran (77) were both stirring forces for their respective sides as neither relented.

Metres made

Mike Haley (Munster) – 89

Michael Lowry (Ulster) – 80

Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht) – 77

Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton) – 76

Matt Healy (Connacht) – 54

Benetton boys a menace throughout

Guinness PRO14 Quarter-Final, Thomond Park, Limerick 4/5/2019
Munster vs Benetton
Benetton Treviso’s Monty Ioane
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

In their first-ever Guinness PRO14 Final Series appearance, Benetton did themselves proud as they took the challenge to Munster.

At the heart of their efforts were two all-action wingers, Iliesa Ratuva, who left six defenders trailing in his wake, and Monty Ioane, who beat five.

Meanwhile, Bundee Aki was also in sprightly form for Connacht, the Ireland international jinking his way past five Ulster players as he proved a thorn in the side at Kingspan.

Defenders beaten

Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton) – 6

Monty Ioane (Benetton), Bundee Aki (Connacht) – 5

Mike Haley and CJ Stander (both Munster), Michael Lowry (Ulster) – 4


The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

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