All out attack: the Premiership’s most attacking XV of 2017/18

6 September 2018  |  Rich M

Defences are so efficient in Premiership rugby. Players who can game-break, such as Goneva, are priceless to have in your ranks. Also, we celebrate these players because they are what bring the punters through the turnstiles. They are what fire the adrenaline glands of the crowds and enhance the atmosphere we love.

With only attacking expertise in mind, we have selected the most lethal and intelligent attackers in the premiership this season. There simply isn’t enough room to mention everyone (apologies to Willie le Roux, Charlie Walker et al)

15. T. Veainu (Leicester)

Hard to argue. First in defenders beaten in the league, third metres made. Every front five forward will be overcome with panic when he gets the ball. The most balanced runner in the premiership by a long shot.

Mention in dispatches – Jason Woodward

14. V. Goneava (Newcastle)

Was moving from Leicester the best thing he did? There is not another winger like him. Brutishly strong, turns up everywhere, Fijian flair and very appropriate try celebrations. Did I forget he is joint top try scorer in the Premiership?

Mention in dispatches – Christian Wade

13. H. Trinder (Gloucester)

Trinder has had rough luck with injuries but what a skilful player. Out and out gas combined with dazzling feet as demonstrated for his try against Connacht in the semi-finals. He’s stopped, no wait, he’s gone.

Mention in dispatches – Henry Slade

12. M. Toomua (Leicester)

Having Toomua at 12 means you get all the upside of playing two fly halves but none of the downside. The accuracy and flight of his wide channel passing is exquisite. Everything good about the Tigers attack this season has got Toomua’s fingerprints all over it.

Mention in dispatches – Jimmy Gopperth

11. S. Sinoti (Newcastle)

The most energetic and mercurial running style in world rugby. Sinoti is virtually undefendable against for one man, even in the 5-metre channel. Just ask premiership flyer James Short.

Mention in dispatches – Olly Woodburn

10. M. Smith (Harlequins)

In a ‘Quins team that has had a season to forget, quickly, Smith has been exceptional in attack. Yes he is young with lots to learn, but put him in the Gloucester or Wasps team and you would see even more attacking acumen. And that goose step… say no more.

Mention in dispatches – Danny Cipriani

9. F. de Klerk (Sale)

Plays the game as if he is connected to the national grid. de Klerk never tires and always seems to make plucky, but accurate decisions under pressure. Plus, an Immensely skilful footballer to boot.

Mention in dispatches – Dan Robson

8. T. Faletau (Bath)

Couldn’t possibly not include the Tongan/Welsh magician. Skills of centre, brain of a 10, pace of a full back and power of a back-rower, Faletau is the complete modern-day number 8 that every D.O.R is after.

Mention in dispatches – Ruan Ackerman

7. G. Thompson (Wasps)

Thompson made it to the premiership via level 6 rugby at Hereford RFC, then Jersey. Impressive to have done it through meritocratic means, not public school and academy. Thompson is a quality attacking back rower who always seems to be in the right place.

Mention in dispatches – Jake Polledri

6. S. Simmons (Exeter)

Just when you thought Exeter couldn’t produce another 8 who virtually leads the league in try scoring, along comes Simmons. He is a utility back-rower who is lethal from everywhere because of his combination of pace and strength. He is in at no. 6 (not no. 8) cause I’m greedy and want Faletau and Simmons.

Mention in dispatches – Zach Mercer

5. N. Isiekwe (Saracens)

So mobile (okay, he’s a back-rower as well) and so dynamic in his movement around the field – he always brings a significant shot of venom in contact and has improved his offloading game remarkably.

Mention in dispatches – Charlie Ewels

4. J. Hill (Exeter)

Rangy, dogmatic and fits nicely with Exeter’s & ‘carry-intensive’ style of play. Hill has had somewhat of a breakthrough season and is typically their go-to lineout winner. Insane engine and punches above his weight in the loose.

Mention in dispatches – Joe Launchury

3. J. Afoa (Gloucester)

Quiet, unassuming yet almost indestructible and so durable. You always get the feeling he is only an impulse away from a piece of New Zealander skill that changes the perception of tight heads. Like his majestic no-look, behind the back offload on his own 22.

Mention in dispatches – Kyle Sinkler

2. S. Brits (Saracens)

Brits has shown for the last decade what a freak of nature he is to find in the front row. Half of the premierships full-backs haven’t got the feet that he has. And, he is second in the league in off-loads. Farewell twinkle toes Brits.

Mention in dispatches – Jamie George

1. E. Genge (Leicester)

The Northampton and England captain can attest to Stone Genge’s ferocity in the loose following their encounter last September. His carrying ability is good. But his attitude to contact is what makes him so destructive. And recently his offloading game is improving also.

Mention in dispatches – Alec Hepburn