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A Statistical Review Of The Guinness Pro12 2016/17 Season

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** Launch of the 2016/17 Guinness PRO12 Season, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 23/8/2016 Pictured today at the launch of the 2015/16 Guinness PRO12 Season Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Tommy Bowe (Ulster Rugby), John Muldoon (Connacht Rugby), Isa Nacewa (Leinster Rugby), Billy Holland (Munster Rugby), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh Rugby), George Biagi (Zebre Rugby) and Lewis Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons) Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Scarlets emphatically secured their maiden Pro12 title this year in somewhat surprising fashion against a much-fancied Munster side that have been on their best form in years after the untimely passing of head-coach Anthony Foley. For the second year in a row, Rhys Patchell was the tournament’s top points scorer – overtaking Kiwi Tyler Bleyendaal’s tally of 144 points in the final – but was not named in the Pro12’s Team of the Year (Kiwi born Bleyendaal was selected at 10).

Top Points Scorers 2016/17:

Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) – 145 points

Tyler Bleyendaal (Munster) – 144 points

Angus O’Brien (Newport) – 130 points

Steve Shingler (Cardiff)– 128 points

Duncan Weir (Edinburgh) – 116 points

Only two Scarlets were named in this year’s Team of the Year (Ken Owens at hooker and James Davies at openside), whilst Munster boasted six players, Leinster and Ulster contributed two players each, and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Connacht had one player each included in the XV.

Pro12 Team of the Year 2016/17:

15 – Tiernan O’Halloran – Connacht Rugby

14 – Tommy Seymour – Glasgow Warriors

13 – Jaco Taute – Munster Rugby

12 – Rory Scannell – Munster Rugby

11 – Charles Piutau – Ulster Rugby

10 – Tyler Bleyendaal – Munster Rugby

9 – Ruan Pienaar – Ulster Rugby

1 – Dave Kilcoyne – Munster Rugby

2 – Ken Owens – Scarlets

3 – John Ryan – Munster Rugby

4 – Ben Toolis – Edinburgh Rugby

5 – Billy Holland – Munster Rugby

6 – Dan Leavy – Leinster Rugby

7 – James Davies – Scarlets

8 – Jack Conan – Leinster Rugby

The league’s top try scorer Steffan Evans was not included in the Team of Year despite his 13 tries being four better than his closest rivals, but has been rewarded for his form with a call up to Wales’ squad for the upcoming tour of Tonga and Samoa.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 27: Scarlets' Steffan Evans takes on Munster's Tyler Bleyendaal during the Guinness PRO12 Final match between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Cook - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Twenty-one-year-old Jacob Stockdale is second on the list of try scorers, equalling the tallies of the more experienced Munster wingers of Andrew Conway and Ronan O’Mahony. Similarly, to Steff Evans, Stockdale finds himself excluded from the Team of the Year, but is included in Ireland’s squad for their upcoming tour of the USA and Japan. The Ulster flier is touted to be a mainstay in Irish squads for years to come.

Top Try Scorers 2016/17:

Steffan Evans (Scarlets) – 13 tries

Jacob Stockdale (Ulster) – 9

Ronan O’Mahony (Munster) – 9

Andrew Conway (Munster) – 9

Tommy Seymour (Glasgow) – 8

Rory O’Loughlin (Leinster) – 8

Joey Carberry (Leinster) – 8

DTH Van Der Merwe (Scarlets) – 8

Charles Piutau has been one of the standout performers over the course of the season, having a huge impact on what has ultimately been a disappointing season for the Ulster faithful. His powerful ball carrying, eye for space and skilful ball-handling has led to him being top of the defenders beaten and offload lists, coming second for most carries (behind Connacht full-back Tiernan O’Halloran), second for clean breaks (behind Steffan Evans) and third for most metres made.

Most Clean Breaks Most Offloads Most Carries Most Metres Made Most Defenders Beaten
1 Steffan Evans – 33 Charles Piutau – 29 Tiernan O’Halloran – 292 Tiernan O’Halooran – 2,011 Charles Piutau -74
2 Charles Piutau – 26 Bundee Aki – 27 Charles Piutau – 252 Dan Evans – 1,682 W. Halaholo + S. Evans – 64
3 Dan Evans – 25 Jake Heenan – 26 Dan Evans – 231 Charles Piutau – 1,567 B. Aki + T. O’Halloran + N. Grigg – 54
4 Jacob Stockdale – 24 Josh Matavesi – 24 Bundee Aki – 230 Matthew Morgan – 1,495 Daymien Holand – 49
5 R. O’Mahony + D. Holand – 23 Reynold Lee-lo – 23 Dan Baker – 206 Steffan Evans – 1,330 Matthew Morgan – 48

The 2016/17 Pro12 season was a historic one for a number of reasons. With 711 tries scored over the course of the championship (a new record) whilst there were more passes per match than any other of Europe’s top leagues (307 per match), fewer penalties (18 per match), joint most tries (5.4 per match) and the most ball in play time (38:55 minutes per match).

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MAY 27: Scarlets' Tadhg Beirne celebrates with the Guinness Pro12 Trophy during the Guinness PRO12 Final match between Munster and Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Cook - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Leinster secured the highest number of try bonus points in the tournament’s history with 12, scored the most tries ever in a season with 91 and scored the most points in a Pro12 regular season with 674. Munster equalled the record for most wins in a regular championship season with 19, whilst Glasgow secured a total of 14 bonus points.

Most Offloads Connacht – 310
Most Turnovers Scarlets – 174
Most Passes Connacht – 4,880
Most Clean Breaks Ulster – 178
Most Defenders Beaten Glasgow – 471
Most Metres Gained Ospreys – 8,417
Most Points per Match Leinster – 30.6
Highest Tackle Success Rate Ospreys – 92%

Despite the 2016/17 being a record setting one in which competition for playoff places was competitive to say the least, there is still a certain degree of uncertainty facing the tournament as a whole. One such issue is the fact that there are plenty of calls from inside and outside the Pro12 hierarchy to remove Italian teams altogether (with a move to the French leagues being a plausible alternative for Italian rugby to develop). With Italian teams finishing bottom of the table every year since their inclusion and becoming increasingly indebted to the Pro12, it might be time to make some changes.

Another major issue to whether to commit to capitalising on the increasing popularity of rugby in the Americas. It is another opportunity for the Pro12 to expand as a brand and improve the financial prospects of the league as a whole – with the potential financial rewards being sizeable compared to other markets. With such high rewards, there is increased risk and uncertainty, as well as competition from other rugby based championships such as Super Rugby, the Aviva Premiership and the newly founded Major League Rugby.

Graham Manditsch, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.

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