Gerald Davies, an icon of Welsh and British & Irish Lions rugby, has hailed the quality of attacking play that has marked the first five rounds of the Guinness PRO12 Championship.
An exhilarating start to the Guinness PRO12 season has been backed up by the statistics with fast play, more tries and new records all providing more entertainment on the pitch for rugby fans and TV audiences.
Already 143 tries have been scored across the first five rounds which a new record for the Championship since it first began in 2001 while Ospreys set a new tournament record when their win over Benetton Treviso in Round 3 produced their seventh consecutive Try Bonus Point.
The Guinness PRO12 is also producing an average of 5 tries per game this season with Tommy Seymour of Glasgow Warriors leading the scoring charts with 7 tries.
The class of the Championship’s Test stars has also shone through with 33 of the 47 try-scorers across Rounds 4 & 5 being international players while Ulster Rugby’s summer signing Charles Piutau leads the offload charts with 10 closely followed by Reynold Lee-Lo of Cardiff Blues with 9.
Ahead of the first Big Weekend, Davies, Chairman of the Guinness PRO12, revealed his delight at the entertaining start to the Championship season.
“I am thrilled to see the excitement and attacking intent our teams have brought into the Championship and the brand of rugby on display is giving supporters plenty of reason to get behind their clubs, provinces and regions,” Davies said.
“Already, we have seen more tries scored in the Guinness PRO12 than ever before at this point in the season and that is a credit to our coaches who are developing winning cultures while also giving their players the encouragement to express themselves and back their skills.
“Too often, rugby players can be taught to avoid risk but it is wonderful to see the adventure in the play of our teams where offloads and daring skill have been on display across all five rounds. It is a matter of reducing the risk, to improve and refine the players’ skills without getting rid of it.”
The Welsh Grand Slam winner and British and Irish Lions Test series winner continued: “We have seen the impact of young players such as Hallam Amos, Carlo Canna, Niyi Adeolukun and Magnus Bradbury have had on their teams. We have seen also the flair that Charles Piutau and Reynold Lee-Lo have brought to their teams in tandem with our own international players has encapsulated all that is good about the Guinness PRO12.
“Players like Tommy Seymour, Liam Williams, CJ Stander and Alun-Wyn Jones bring a great excitement and authority to the Championship and I am looking forward to our first Big Weekend to see what drama and excitement awaits.”
ON PITCH PERFORMANCES
Tries Scored Rounds 1 to 5
2016/17: 143 (across 29 games)
2015/16: 131 (across 30)
Change: UP 12
Average Tries Per Game Rounds 1 to 5
2016/17: 5 (across 29 games)
2015/16: 4 (across 30)
Change: UP 1
Rounds 4 & 5 Tries Scored by Internationals: 33 out 47 try-scorers (70%)
Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final