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Lions Watch: Tuilagi back with a bang as James trebles up

Lions Watch: Tuilagi back with a bang as James trebles up

With the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour getting closer all the time – it pays to keep an eye out for who is turning in the big performances.

With the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour getting closer all the time – it pays to keep an eye out for who is turning in the big performances.

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

Owen Farrell knocked over 14 points from the tee as Saracens preserved their unbeaten record in Europe this season with victory over Toulouse, though he could have had more if not for an unfortunate handling error having already crossed the try line.

That tally was matched by Wales international Gareth Anscombe, as Cardiff Blues romped to victory against Calvisano, while Scotland scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne registered 13 in Edinburgh’s defeat to Grenoble.

Danny Cipriani also reached double figures, the England fly-half scoring 11 of Sale Sharks’ 38 points in a convincing defeat of Newport Gwent Dragons, but none of those kickers manager more points than Tom James.
 
TOP TRY SCORERS

James is back in the Wales squad, six years after his last cap, and showed exactly why with a hat-trick of tries for Cardiff Blues.

And the clinical winger was ably supported by centre Cory Allen, who crossed over twice against their Italian visitors – a tally matched by a number of players across the weekend.

In the Irish corner, Munster’s Ronan O’Mahony and Connacht’s Matt Healy doubled up in victories over Benetton Treviso and Enisei-STM respectively, while three Englishmen grabbed a brace of scores.

Simon Hammersley dotted down twice for Newcastle Falcons against Brive, while Thomas Waldrom and James Short each followed suit as Exeter Chiefs clinched a Champions Cup quarter-final berth in dramatic circumstances with victory over the Ospreys.
 
TOP TACKLERS

Tackles were flying in left, right and centre at Kingston Park on Saturday and no-one was more prolific than Falcons captain Well Welch, who made an astonishing 23.

He was well supported by fellow uncapped back-row Callum Chick with 17 – a tally matched by Wales lock Luke Charteris as Racing 92 were beaten by Glasgow Warriors.

There were 18 tackles apiece for England flanker Tom Wood and Scotland lock Ben Toolis, while uncapped Welsh flanker Nic Cudd amassed 16 for Newport Gwent Dragons.

There were also impressive displays from young England duo Jamie George and Jack Clifford, who made 14 tackles apiece for Saracens and Harlequins respectively.
 
TOP METRE MAKERS

Exeter winger Short – yet to win his first England cap – led the way here, with 186 metres on his way to a two-try haul at Sandy Park.

Ulster duo Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy made 157 and 147 respectively as they beat Oyonnax, while full-back Mike Haley racked up 143 metres for Sale Sharks.

Manu Tuilagi continues his return from injury, scoring a try for Leicester Tigers in defeat to Stade Francais and carrying for 130 metres in Paris.

Allen (110) and James (107) also passed a century, along with Leinster and Ireland winger Dave Kearney in defeat to Wasps and Saracens and England full-back Alex Goode in victory at Toulouse.
 
While the window for Priority Access Pass has closed, official supporter ticket-inclusive travel packages will go on general sale soon, so click here to be notified about the full Lions tour experience.

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