Aotearoa Team of the Tournament

18 Aug 2020
Aotearoa Team of the Tournament

It was an exceptional 10-round tournament that was won by Crusaders... so who made the team of the tournament?

The Crusader's dynasty marches on it seems with the men from Canterbury winning their fourth straight tournament. They lost just the one match to the Hurricanes and won the 'first past the post' tournament with a round to spare - which is probably just as well since their last match against the Blues was cancelled due to government-imposed travel and public COVID-19 restrictions following an Auckland outbreak in August.

The Crusaders supply five players to the team of the tournament as do the Blues who finished in second place six points behind the winners after suffering two defeats. The Blues provide half of the pack including the impressive No.8 Hoskins Sotutu [pictured below] and their captain and lock Patrick Tuipulotu. In third were the Hurricanes who have two players in the team including fire-brand centre Ngani Laumape despite him missing the last few rounds through injury.

 

New Zealand Rugby is hoping that the North v South island match will kick-off on August 29, depending on COVID-19 and what the government decides in terms of restrictions in the next few weeks. It is shaping up as an All Blacks trial of sorts but the Aotearoa team of the Tournament is surely not far off and all but those injured (Laumape and Reece) will be playing in the match.

The Opta Perform index has also drawn Crusaders fly-half Richie Mo'unga as the Player of the Tournament and there can be little argument with that. He was masterful in driving the Crusaders around the field, kicked his goals and was a constant threat to the defensive lines of the opposition. He played in all their matches and scored the most points (99) of any player including three tries.

 

 

15

Will Jordan

Crusaders

Will Jordan scored more tries (6), gained more metres (724), made more clean breaks (15) and beat more defenders (39) than any other player.

14

Sevu Reece

Crusaders

No outside back made more offloads than Reece (9); he also scored four tries, made 12 clean breaks and two try assists.

13

Anton Lienert-Brown

Chiefs

Lienert-Brown made 72 carries - only one centre made more - as well as five clean breaks, six offloads and 55/67 tackles.

12

Ngani Laumape

Hurricanes

Laumape's 13 clean breaks were the second-most of any player in the competition; he also beat 28 defenders, made five offloads and scored one try from his 75 carries in six games.

11

Caleb Clarke

Blues

Clarke made 10 clean breaks, beat 18 defenders and made seven offloads, as well as gaining an average of 7.7m per carry from his 45 season carries.

10

Richie Mo'unga

Crusaders

Mo'unga finished as the top point scorer with a tally of 99; he scored three tries and made four try assists, as well as beating 35 defenders - the second-most of any player.

9

TJ Perenara

Hurricanes

No scrum half beat more defenders (14) or made more offloads (7) than Perenara; he also made three try assists, nine clean breaks and scored one try.

1

Alex Hodgman

Blues

Hodgman was the only prop forward to provide a try assist; furthermore, his 61 tackles were the joint-most of any prop, and he also made 33 carries and won two turnovers.

2

Codie Taylor

Crusaders

Taylor made 67 successful lineout throws - the most of any player - as well as making 64/71 tackles, 52 carries and nine clean breaks.

3

Ofa Tu'ungafasi

Blues

No prop made more tackles than Tu'ungafasi (61); he also made 34 carries, beat two defenders and was the only prop forward to score a try.

4

Patrick Tuipulotu

Blues

No player stole more lineouts than Tuipulotu (3); he also made 61/67 tackles, five offloads and beat five defenders, as well as winning two turnovers.

5

Sam Whitelock

Crusaders

Whitelock won a total of 28 lineouts (inc. 3 steals), the second-most of any player; he also made 56 tackles, made five offloads and beat six defenders.

6

Shannon Frizell

Highlanders

Frizell's 98 tackles were the second-most of any player; he also beat 12 defenders, won five turnovers and scored four tries.

7

Lachlan Boshier

Chiefs

No forward scored more than Boshier's four tries; the Chiefs' back rower also made 67/71 tackles and won nine turnovers.

8

Hoskins Sotutu

Blues

Sotutu was the only player in Super Rugby Aotearoa to average more than 10 carries and more than 10 tackles per game (10 carries, 10.5 tackles).

 

The Opta Index allows genuine opportunities to compare and contrast both player and team strengths and weaknesses across Super Rugby, providing real insights pre-game as follows:  After every match Opta completes a video analysis of every touch of the ball. Each action in the match is awarded a points value depending on the relative importance of the action. So for example, a try scores more points than a tackle, but a player loses points for a missed tackle. The player is then given a score for the match by adding up all his actions while he was on the field. The total match score is then weighted to take account of the strength of the opposition so that performances across many matches can be judged fairly.