Newcastle and Sale send mid-season statements

Ben Curry was a timely reminder of his international class as he dominated the Harlequins sale - Getty Images/Bob Bradford

Ben Curry was a timely reminder of his international class as he dominated the Harlequins sale – Getty Images/Bob Bradford

Newcastle suffered another loss to Leicester, Sale impressed with Harlequins and Owen Farrell’s fighting technique was a topic of conversation as Saracens beat Gloucester. But who were the top performers of the weekend?

15 Luke James (Sales Sharks)

In dire conditions, James was at the center of Sale’s best attacks in an away win over the Harlequins, releasing Tom O’Flaherty on the first try and nearly beating Manu Tuilagi. Tom Penny was great for Newcastle while Ben Loader at full-back works well for London Irish.

14 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester)

Flashes of the talented player returning to his best form in Friday’s defeat to Saracens, where Thorley beat seven defenders and scored Gloucester’s only try.

13 Mattias Moroni (Newcastle)

He proved himself to be some sort of transfer from Leicester and went into action against his old club in one of Newcastle’s many attempts while making 14 tackles.

12 Solomone Executioner (Exeter)

Benhard Janse van Rensburg completed a nice team move for London Irish and Tuilagi had his selling moments but Kata is making a big impact on Devon with his lead.

Kata Exeter's Solomone turns out to be a nightmare for opponents - Getty Images/Dan Mullan

Kata Exeter’s Solomone turns out to be a nightmare for opponents – Getty Images/Dan Mullan

11 Mateo Carreras (Newcastle)

The first name on the team sheet this week after a hat-trick against defending champions Leicester Tigers. He ran 100 meters with the ball and beat five defenders. O’Flaherty was a brilliant transfer to sell.

10 Santiago Carreras (Gloucester)

Currently one of the best players in the league and it was bad luck that he lost to Saracens on Friday night. A huge threat as a runner and developing into a #10 quality. Also unrelated to Mateo.

9 Ben White (London Irishman)

The Scottish midfielder pounced on the Irishmen’s second try in their comfortable victory over Bristol, working well with Rory Jennings who was a late addition to the starting XV.

Ben White scored for London Irish in their win over Bristol - Getty Images/Clive Rose

Ben White scored for London Irish in their win over Bristol – Getty Images/Clive Rose

1 Mako Vunipola (Saraceni)

One of his best games of the season – you can’t really hand it over to Shed after the final whistle like Vunipola did unless you played well – he finished with a 13th lead.

2 Akker van der Merwe (Shark Sale)

It’s hard to remember the last time he played a bad game. He finished off the trademark maul for sale, but also showed some nice footwork, hacking up the field to call an attack. Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jamie Blamire also performed well.

3 Harry Williams (Chiefs of Exeter)

A good relief to set a test for Olly Woodburn by the former England prop who lasted 66 minutes in a comfortable victory over Northampton.

4 Greg Peterson (Newcastle)

Don’t let a yellow card ruin an excellent performance by the USA team, who were arguably Newcastle’s best player in their win over Leicester with 17 tackles.

5 Cobus Wiese (Sales Sharks)

He has now teamed up with Jonny Hill and has attempted to secure a bonus point for the sale. Jasper’s brother from Leicester – they must have had some good bits of growing up.

Wilco Low feels the full power of the imposing Cobus Wiese as the padlock is put up for sale at Harlequins - Getty Images/Warren Little

Wilco Low feels the full power of the imposing Cobus Wiese as the padlock is put up for sale at Harlequins – Getty Images/Warren Little

6 Chick Callum (Newcastle)

He headed for a second Newcastle try by two Leicester defenders on a great day for the Falcons pack, with Chick also weighing in with 10 tackles.

7 Ben Curry (Shark Sale)

If he maintains this form then England will surely have to look again. Three turnovers for Sale’s captain plus 11 tackles as the visitors won at The Stoop. Tom Pearson still plays well.

8 Ben Earl (Saracens)

Back at camp in England last week and will continue to give Borthwick plenty to think about with his man of the match show on Friday night, winning a few spins. Jean-Luc du Preez was impressed.

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