On Top Of The Moon has already taken a look at key stats for defence and work rate, now it’s the turn of attack in the PRO14. Last season saw 713 players make 2,357 clean breaks (CBs) and beat 5,357 defenders (DBs). Who was the most efficient attacking presence? Who had the lowest number of carries per break or defender beaten? Read on to find out the top 10 in each position group and a select XV who (with ball in hand) could terrorise anyone.
It’s changed days in the world of Italian front rows – there’s been a transformation in culture which has been accelerating since Conor O’Shea took over. The big lads are still trying to physically impose themselves on the opposition but their favoured medium now is carrying rather than the setpiece. These guys are ballers – and they’re here to play.
Federico Ruzza’s efforts stand out a mile even among some very strong performances. He was outputting back row level numbers while still sticking to his duties as a second row. In many ways Ruzza epitomises the athletic modern lock (who is often paired with a more heavyweight colleague). Able to cover the back row; excellent lineout option; good distributor; and regularly beating opponents with his carrying game.
Opensides have to be able to pretty much do it all and Chris Cloete and Hamish Watson exemplify that in their contrasting ways, adding an attacking threat to clinical tackling and jackalling. Cloete is a compact ball of muscle and South African aggression. Watson is bigger with a freewheeling, pinballing style that makes him tough to put down. Both are a nightmare for defences to contain.
2017/18 was a very busy season for Gareth Davies. He equalled his highest number of starts in a campaign (20) for Scarlets despite becoming Wales’ first choice 9 and missing a number of domestic matches in both the Autumn and Spring. The elusiveness of his running game contributed to him scoring 12 tries in 29 games for club and country.
Glasgow would have started last season with Alex Dunbar and Huw Jones in mind as their first choice centre pairing. Circumstances intervened though and Sam Johnson and Nick Grigg dominated the minutes in the 12 and 13 jerseys. Fortunately for the Warriors both backups performed extremely well with the contrast of the lines picked by Johnson and Grigg’s ability to barrel through people making for an effective combination.
Actor. Model. Singer. Nephew of Digby. Monty Ioane has plenty going on in his life. Another item may need to be added to the list – future Italian rugby international. It will be another 2 years before he’s eligible but if he sticks it out with Benetton he’ll come in under the wire in for the Autumn Tests of 2020. That’s likely to be a hectic time with a whole raft of residency-qualified players in line to be capped to secure their futures ahead of the period required increasing to 5 years.
This is the PRO14 XV that could dismantle pretty much any defence:
Minimum qualification – 240 minutes played
Stats source – http://espn.co.uk match reports