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Guinness PRO12 stat watch: O’Halloran stays out in front

Charlie Talbot-Smith

21 Feb 2017

Tiernan O’Halloran continues to lead the way with ball in hand in the Guinness PRO12 after his man-of-the-match showing for Connacht last weekend.

The Ireland full-back was at his rampaging best in his side’s 14-9 win over Newport Gwent Dragons – making a round high 174m from 14 carries while also scoring a try, beating two defenders and making one clean break.

O’Halloran tops the pile for metre makers in the league by nearly 250m – he has already made 1337m and counting this season from a league high 178 carries.

O’Halloran was not the only Connacht star to catch the eye on the weekend – Tom Farrell also managed six defenders beaten and three offloads in the win in Galway.

It was a good weekend for the four Irish provinces, who all claimed victory and for Ulster it was Marcell Coetzee that turned heads.

The Springbok international has had to bide his time before making his bow last week after injury delayed his debut.

But he is back to his best now as he made 19 tackles, 14 carries and a round high four offloads to scoop the post-match champagne for his efforts in their 37-17 win over Glasgow Warriors.

Coetzee’s work-rate in the back row was matched by Chris Henry who made 20 tackles while in the backs it was the in-form Craig Gilroy that caught the eye.

The winger – fresh from a hat-trick for Ireland in Rome – beat a round high nine defenders and made 127m for the province as well as five clean breaks.

On the other wing Jacob Stockdale crossed twice to take his season’s tally to six – only two behind overall leader Tommy Seymour.

Seymour was not in action for the Warriors who slipped to defeat and out of the top five in the table although Nick Grigg’s eight defenders beaten and four clean breaks impressed while Peter Horne made 21 carries.

While Ulster and Connacht’s attacking flair was doing the damage, Munster’s defensive grit kept them top of the table after their come from behind victory over Ospreys.

Dave O’Callaghan got the man of the match award for his 20 tackles, six carries, six lineout wins and a turnover but in truth it was a brutal team effort.

Jack O’Donoghue (25), Billy Holland (21) and Tommy O’Donnell (19) all had ridiculous tackle counts and Holland is in the top five tacklers in the league overall.

For the Ospreys it was a case of what might have been despite Scott Baldwin’s 17 carries and Sam Davies’ 13 points that leaves him fifth overall in the individual standings.

Leinster are second in the table and Dan Leavy was the star of the show as they saw off Edinburgh 39-10.

Leavy managed four turnovers – the most of the round – to take him top of the overall count for the season on 19 as well as nine carries and seven tackles in an impressive individual display.

Scrum-half Luke McGrath also turned heads with four clean breaks while his half-back partner Joey Carbery returned from injury with 17 carries in a two-try showing.

Scarlets stay fourth in the standings after their bonus-point win over Zebre.

Steff Evans scored a try, beat eight defenders – he is second overall to Charles Piutau on 43 for the season – and made 94m in a stellar showing.

But at the breakdown the Welsh region reigned supreme – Tadgh Beirne made four turnovers while James Davies managed three to take him level with Leavy on 19 for the season.

And finally Cardiff Blues followed suit by downing Italian opposition as they claimed a 57-20 win over Benetton Treviso.

Matthew Morgan is now second overall behind O’Halloran for metres made after his 97m from 11 carries that included a try and two assists from three clean breaks.

Elsewhere Alex Cuthbert racked up 153m while Nick Williams managed 21 carries and Steven Shingler kicked 17 points to leave him top of the overall standings on 106.