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O’Halloran and Evans star in Opta Rankings

Charlie Bennett

10 May 2017

Connacht’s defence of their Guinness PRO12 title may not have gone to plan, but that did not stop Tiernan O’Halloran enjoying a fine campaign for the Irish province – which saw him top the Opta rankings in two different categories.

The full-back, who made his international debut for Ireland in 2016, made more carries than any other player with an impressive 292 but also made the most metres – gaining an astronomical 2,011 across the league campaign.

Ulster’s Charles Piutau was a close contender in both, finishing second to O’Halloran for most carries (252) and third in most metres (1,567) but he did complete more offloads than any other player with 29, and waltz past the most defenders (74).

Irish sides dominate the stats pile in several categories, with Ulster’s Sean Reidy making more tackles than any other player – bringing down an opposition player an impressive 263 times.

But while some categories were close, no-one could match Ben Toolis’ dominance at the line-out – with the Edinburgh Rugby lock winning an almighty 140, almost double second-best Macauley Cook’s 72.

This season we have seen the emergence of several future Guinness PRO12 stars, with Ospreys winger Keelan Giles chief among them.

But Steff Evans has scored even more tries than his Welsh compatriot, and the rest of the league, with his 11 scores seeing him top the try-scoring charts from Munster’s Ronan O’Mahony and Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale.

And the Scarlets man, who has also been selected for Wales’ summer tour to Samoa and Tonga, was unsurprisingly the player who made the most breaks – with his 27 just beating Piutau’s 26.

Scarlets play at ferocious pace, and at the breakdown they are one of the strongest around – with James Davies, and Leinster’s Dan Leavy, leading the way in turnovers with 27.

It has been a record-breaking season in the Guinness PRO12 on many levels, and with the semi-finals and final still to come it is guaranteed the finale it deserves.

The Guinness PRO12 Final takes place on May 27 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Fans can guarantee their place by booking their tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie

Further information: www.pro12rugby.com/final