Stats show Wasps' real sting

Wed, 24 May 2017 13:24
Large jimmy gopperth wasps breaks 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wasps rounded off an unbeaten campaign at the Ricoh Arena and booked their place in the Premiership Final with a dramatic late win against Leicester Tigers in their semifinal.

Their Twickenham clash with Exeter Chiefs will mark the fifth time they have reached the Final and, rather worryingly for Rob Baxter, they have won each of the previous four.

Wing Josh Bassett may have scored the decisive try but it was powerful No.8 Nathan Hughes who was perhaps the most influential - as he racked up 23 carries in the match, more than any other Wasps player this season.

The England international also carried for 84 metres - the third highest of all players across the semifinals, trailing only Leicester Tigers fullback Telusa Veainu and Exeter Chiefs powerhouse Thomas Waldrom.

Waldrom carried 21 times and halting him is part of the reason Saracens dominated the tackle count - occupying the top nine spots.

Schalk Burger and Vincent Koch both made 24 tackles, while Billy Vunipola, Duncan Taylor, George Kruis, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Jackson Wray all made more than the next non-Saracens players, Exeter Chiefs' duo Kai Horstmann and Geoff Parling with 13.

But with ball-in-hand, nobody could beat Premiership Player of the Year Jimmy Gopperth - as he beat nine defenders, three more than his Wasps teammate Thomas Young.

Gopperth's accuracy from the kicking tee will make him vital on Saturday, as Wasps hope to stop the in-form Chiefs - who are bidding to equal Leicester Tigers' record of 17 Premiership matches unbeaten.

The two sides have met three times already this season, winning one each and drawing the third.
 
Selected semifinal top performers
 
Metres made:
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) - 123
Mike Ellery (Saracens) - 87
Nathan Hughes (Wasps) - 84
Phil Dollman (Exeter Chiefs) - 73
 
Carries made:
Nathan Hughes (Wasps) - 23
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) - 21
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) - 19
Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs) - 16
 
Defenders beaten:
Jimmy Gopperth (Wasps) - 9
Thomas Young (Wasps) - 6
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) - 5
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) - 5
 
Tackles made:
Schalk Burger (Saracens) - 24
Vincent Kock (Saracens) - 24
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) - 21
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) - 21

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Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 22 17 1 4 84
Exeter Chiefs 22 15 3 4 84
Saracens 22 16 1 5 77
Leicester Tigers 22 14 0 8 66
Bath 22 12 0 10 59
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Northampton Saints 22 10 0 12 52
Newcastle Falcons 22 10 0 12 49
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Worcester Warriors 22 5 2 15 33
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