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Bristol Bears flanker Ben Earl sets new Premiership record

Ben Earl has set a new strike rate record for Gallagher Premiership top try-scorers with each of his 11 tries this season coming at an average of one every 93 minutes.

The England international’s first-half try in Bristol Bears’ 36-7 win over London Irish on Sunday saw him finish the regular season level with Gloucester winger Ollie Thorley at the top of the competition’s try-scorer charts.

In a total of 1,024 minutes on the pitch, the 22-year-old scored seven tries in nine appearances at Saracens before adding a further four in seven games whilst on loan at the Bears.

He becomes the first top try-scorer since the current system of determining the champions was introduced in 2003/04 to boast a sub-100 minute average. 

In sharing top spot, Thorley is the first Gloucester player to achieve the feat, although his 11 tries came at a rate of one every 108 minutes.


Premiership 2019-20 top tryscorers

  1. Ben Earl – Bristol Bears (on loan from Saracens) 11
  2. Ollie Thorley – Gloucester – 11
  3. Louis Rees-Zammit – Gloucester – 10
  4. Sam Simmonds – Exeter Chiefs – 10
  5. Ruaridh McConnochie – Bath – 9
  6. Luke Morahan – Bristol Bears – 9
  7. Zach Kibirige – Wasps – 9
  8. Ollie Hassell-Collins – London Irish – 9
  9. Luke James – Sale Sharks – 8
  10. Jack Willis – Wasps – 8

Thorley and team-mate, Louis Rees-Zammit (10 tries), were denied the chance to add to their tallies after Gloucester’s Round 22 game against Northampton was cancelled and forfeited by the Saints.

Chris Ashton had the best all-time strike-rate of any of the 15 individuals to previously win the top Premiership try-scorer accolade. His 16 tries in a stellar2009/10 season for Northampton came at a rate of exactly 100 minutes per try, according to research from The Rugby Tipster.

The Premiership top try-scorer award has now been shared for the third season in a row, but Earl is unique in that his scores were split between two clubs.

A Bristol player has won the accolade before in David Lemi (2006/07) but Saracens have never had a representative until now, which is remarkable considering their long history of success in the competition. In the entire history of the Premiership only two back-rowers have finished with the most tries in a single season – Thomas Waldrom with Exeter, twice, (2014/15 and 2015/16) and Neil Back before him with Leicester in 1998/99.

JON NEWCOMBE

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