While the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour might still seem a long way away – it pays to keep an eye out for who is turning in the big performances in the here and now.
As part of a weekly feature on the site – we wrap up the action across Europe this weekend and pick out some stand-out performances across the four countries for you to consider.
TOP POINTS SCORERS
Worcester Warriors may have lost 32-22 to Wasps at the Ricoh Arena but the metronomic kicking of Andy Symons certainly couldn’t be blamed as the 24-year-old Englishman topped the kicking charts by booting 17 points.
British & Irish Lion Owen Farrell was joint second as he kicked 13 points but couldn’t stop his Saracens side falling to a first loss of the season at Harlequins.
North of the border, Edinburgh scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne was also clinical in notching 13 points against Treviso while England fly-half George Ford kicked nine points for Bath, the same number as Ireland’s Paddy Jackson for Ulster, which included a winning penalty at the death against Oyonnax.
TOP TRY SCORERS
An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman all grabbed two tries each over the weekend – the first of those being Thomas Waldrom who dotted down twice in the first ten minutes of Exeter Chiefs’ 19-10 triumph over west country rivals Gloucester.
Fourteen-cap Ireland international Dave Kearney crossed the whitewash on two occasions as Leinster trounced Ospreys while Scotsman Damien Hoyland bookended Edinburgh’s try scoring against Treviso.
And British & Irish Lion Conor Murray also crossed for a consolation try in Munster’s heavy defeat away to Stade Francais in Europe.
The tackles were flying in thick and fast all across the British Isles and Europe but it was Ollie Atkins who led the way with 19.
The Exeter lock, who has represented Scotland A, was instrumental in limiting Gloucester to just one try but Newcastle Falcons duo Mark Wilson and Will Welch couldn’t stop London Irish beating them 20-15 despite making 18 and 14 tackles respectively.
English forwards Maro Itoje and Will Fraser both made 16 stops each while that was also the number for a Scotsman playing in Wales, namely Scarlets back-rower John Barclay.
TOP METRE MAKERS
Connacht have consistently wowed fans and opposition alike with their expansive, attacking rugby this season, so perhaps it is no surprise that two of their back-three top the metres made list this week, despite their 21-19 defeat at Scarlets.
Matt Healy was rewarded for a remarkable 152 metres with a try and while Tiernan O’Halloran didn’t cross the whitewash, the 24-year-old did run for 130m.
In England, Saracens full-back Alex Goode stood out with 126m as did Alex Lewington with 123 metres for London Irish and Anthony Watson with 95m.
And British & Irish Lion Stuart Hogg was also impressive despite his Glasgow Warriors side going down to Racing 92 in Europe as he ran for 95 metres.
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