The 2015/16 Premiership campaign is done and dusted but that means there’s time to investigate and see who excelled across each area of the game over the last season.
So let’s dive in…
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) – 230
Julian Salvi (Exeter Chiefs) – 229
Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons) – 226
There was a heavy cry from the north of England for Wilson to be taken on the Saxons tour to South Africa and it’s not hard to see why.
Wilson’s name came up in conversation during Newcastle’s crucial run of home wins over Bath, Harlequins, Leicester and Northampton. His team-mate Will Welch wasn’t far behind.
Thomas Waldrom (Exeter Chiefs) – 327
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) – 260
Nathan Hughes (Wasps) – 257
A surprise? Not really, because “The Tank” was used tirelessly by the Chiefs this season to get over the gain line from the backs of scrums and mauls.
In a remarkable season where the number eight also finished as the Premiership’s top try scorer, Waldrom took home this category by a country mile.
Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors) – 1796m
Alex Goode (Saracens) – 1560m
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 1549m
Pennell’s time with England may have ended with the departure of Stuart Lancaster, but this stat proves how his consistently assured performances in the Premiership haven’t disappeared despite Worcester’s time in the Championship.
Those sorts of figures for carries and metres are Ben Smith-esque.
Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints) – 112
Sean Robinson (Newcastle Falcons) – 93
Bryn Evans (Sale Sharks) – 87
Swapping East Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers for Northampton Saints was one of the most surprising moves of the last off-season, and Gibson has quietly gone about his work in Northampton’s back row during a mixed season.
Renowned at Welford Road and before that at London Irish for his link play and work over the breakdown, there’s no one close to him in this category. A sign of his versatility. Not involved with the Saxons.
Telusa Veainu (Leicester Tigers) – 75
Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) – 68
Will Addison (Sale Sharks) – 64
What a signing Veainu proved to be for Leicester. Catching the eye with his performances at the Rugby World Cup, scoring twice in the win over Namibia, Veainu was a late-season recruit by the Tigers and more than delivered, signing a new contract back in January after scoring six tries in his first eleven games.
His footwork has been outstanding, as evidenced here. Rokoduguni meanwhile deserved to be on the plane to Australia.
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester) – 29
Luke Wallace (Harlequins) – 24
Maro Itoje (Saracens) – 22
Off the bench against Wales there was little more Kvesic could do to impress. Another heading to South Africa, England’s closest answer to a fetcher over the last few years unsurprisingly grabs top spot here.
Maro Itoje, despite missing a number of games away with England, impressively lands in the top three.
Christian Wade (Wasps) – 33
Semesa Rokduguni (Bath Rugby) – 30
Cooper Vuna (Worcester Warriors) – 29
The Saxons will certainly have plenty of firepower out wide when they take on South Africa ‘A’ with Wade and Rokoduguni lining up on each wing.
Wade has improved his kicking and defence over the last season but his trademark remains his ability to wreck the complicated plans of the best defence coaches. Those six tries against Worcester were very special.
Ben Coles, Pundit Arena