It’s hard to believe, but the halfway stage of this year’s Super 14 is already upon us.
Sport 24 reports that from a South African perspective, the Bulls and Sharks are flying the flag going into this weekend’s round of matches, while the Cheetahs and Lions are once again vying for the wooden spoon. So we thought it was a good time to reveal the best and worst of the competition so far, according to nothing else but stats from Verusco, the New Zealand-based company who supply video analysis systems to most of the South African Super 14 teams.
Who are the best and worst South African tacklers, who spills the ball the most, who has made the most line breaks and who’s bossed the breakdowns better than anybody else? Let’s see what the numbers say.
Best and worst tacklers:
In Tuesday’s column we revealed that, despite two SA teams being at the top of the log, 10 of the 11 worst tacklers (in terms of tackles missed) in the entire competition so far are South Africans, and even more worrying is that most of them are seasoned Springboks.
Bulls No 8 Pierre Spies tops the list, with 37 tackles missed, followed by the Cheetahs’ Meyer Bosman (33), the Sharks’ Francois Steyn (29), Lions skipper Cobus Grobbelaar and Sharks No 9 Rory Kockott (both 27), Cheetahs scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn and Sharks No 8 Ryan Kankowski (both 25) and Cheetahs lock David de Villiers, Sharks centre Adi Jacobs and Bulls lock Danie Rossouw (all 24).
The worst of the overseas tacklers, also with 24 missed tackles, is the Crusaders’ Wyatt Crockett.
So… which SA player has made the most tackles? That honour goes to the Cheetahs’ Springbok flanker Heinrich Brussow with 95 tackles, which also happens to be the most of any player in the competition.
Following close on Brussow’s heels are the Chiefs’ Tanerau Latimer with 92 and the Highlanders’ Adam Thomson with 86. Two other South Africans figure in the top 10, and they’re both Sharks flankers: Jacques Botes is in seventh with 79 and Keegan Daniel is ninth with 70.
Most handling errors:
Three South Africans make it into the top 10 here: Kockott is in fourth with 25, Bosman is fifth with 24, while Stormers centre Jean de Villiers is seventh with 23. But at least they don’t make the top three, comprised of the Blues’ Taniela Moa (30), Crusaders scrumhalf Andrew Ellis (29) and Chiefs No 9 Brendon Leonard (26).
The Chiefs’ excellent right wing Lelia Masaga tops the list with 17 line breaks so far, followed by the Hurricanes’ wing Hosea Gear and Blues fullback Isaia Toeava on 12. Sharks centre Adi Jacobs is unsurprisingly the best South African with 11 line breaks, which puts him in fourth place, ahead of four players on 10: Mark McLinden (Reds), Israel Dagg (Highlanders), De Villiers (Stormers) and Kockott (Sharks).
Only Stormers No 8 Luke Watson makes the top 10 as far as turnovers forced are concerned: his 13 turnovers put him in tied third place behind Force flanker David Pocock with 17, the Highlanders’ Thomson with 14, and level pegging with the Brumbies’ George Smith.
The next best South Africans, tied for 11th spot, are the Cheetahs’ David de Villiers and Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis (10 each).
Good news is that only one South African, Cheetahs utility back Jacques-Louis Potgieter, makes the top 10 list for most turnovers conceded. Potgieter lies in second place with 28, three behind Chiefs flyhalf Stephen Donald, five ahead of the Force’s Matt Giteau and six more than the Highlanders’ Daniel Bowden. The next worst South African, in tied 11th place with 11, is Francois Steyn.
And finally…which players have made the most ground with the ball in hand?
Interestingly, only Lions fullback Louis Ludik amongst the South Africans sneaks into the top 10 with 631 metres!
Toeava (939m), the Force’s Drew Mitchell (823m) and the Reds’ Quade Cooper (816m) make up the top three while the next best South African, in 15th place with 580m, is Jean de Villiers.Tweet