Northampton Saints head to Dragons for the first time since 2018 this weekend as the European Challenge Cup gets back underway, and we've crunch the numbers ahead of the Round of 16 clash at Rodney Parade...
Off the back of an impressive win away from home at Edinburgh, Dragons will be full of confidence and also brimming with attacking threat from their back three.
Both wingers, Ashton Hewitt (665) and Jonah Holmes (505), feature among the Pro14’s top 25 metre-makers, while full-back Jordan Williams is a former age-grade and 7s international for Wales.
Up front, flanker Harrison Keddie is the hosts’ most-used ball carrier (125), with the back row forward also making the most tackles in 2020/21 (174).
With Saints’ scrum continuing to impress in recent weeks, the set-piece will, as always, be a key area for focus at Rodney Parade.
Both sides hover marginally below 90% success on their own put in, but it is on opposition ball where the men in Black, Green and Gold may seek to gain the upper hand.
Sides packing down against Saints retain possession just 87% of the time, with Matt Ferguson’s forwards also taking just shy of one scrum against the head on average – the best return in the Gallagher Premiership.
As the team in the Pro14 that spends the least time in possession, Dragons have been forced to make more tackles than any other side this season.
While their tackle success of 89% is among the league’s best, the higher time spent in defence means that Saturday’s hosts have conceded the most metres (400) per game in the Pro14, with only Italian pair Zebre and Benetton allowing more tries.
That will no doubt be music to the ears of a Saints side who made some 766 metres with ball in hand at Worcester – their best return of the season.
They will, however, need to plug some of the gaps that were present in the first half at Sixways, and beware the previously mentioned dangermen. Saints in fact allow more metres against per match than Dragons (410).