Away From Home Team of Decade

29 Apr 2020
Away From Home Team of Decade

Something different... We have punched the numbers and select a Team of the Decade based on away performances!  

Since 2010 it is fair to say that Super Rugby has been dominated by New Zealand teams with the Kiwis taking seven of the 10 titles in that period. The New Zealand teams consistency of performance and their ability to win a high percentage of away matches has led to their success and this is also reflected in our Away Team of the Decade!

The team has 8 players from the New Zealand clubs, four from South African clubs and three from Australia [No.8 Mafi played for the Rebels and Sunwolves in the Australian Conference]. Some may be surprised at the lack of Crusaders' representation but it again highlights the all round strength of the team with success based on consistently high-quality team performance with everyone contributing rather than relying on individual standouts.

The pack has players from eight different teams including two current Springbok RWC winning front rowers in Stormers' prop Steven Kitshoff and Lions' hooker Malcolm Marx who between them made 506 tackles, with the mighty Marx gaining an average of 23m per game in that stretch - the most of any tight-five forward to play at least 20 away games in that period. The other prop is Brumby Allan Alaalatoa who made 10+ tackles in six of his last seven games played away from home.

The international lock pairing of Bulls' RG Snyman [pictured below] and Chiefs' Brodie Retallick would grace any team. They won 301 lineouts between them; Snyman made 162 carries from his 25 appearances; while Retallick crossed for eight tries, made 487 tackles, and 336 carries from 53 games on the road.

The backrow is very interesting and includes one player from each of the three Conferences. At No.8 is former Rebel and Sunwolves' forward Amanaki Mafi, the only forward to have made 20+ carries in an away game on multiple occasions in the last decade. The Blues' representative is workaholic openside flanker Luke Braid who made 329 carries and 350 tackles in his 36 games away from home, as well as winning 40 turnovers. On the other side of the scrum is Rebels' flanker Seam McMahon who beat an average of 3.6 defenders per game away from home - the most of any forward to have played at least 10 away games in that span.

The statistics have selected the Hurricanes and All Black duo of TJ Perenara and fly-half Beauden Barrett [yet to play for the Blues!] at halves: TJ has scored 30 tries on the road; while Barrett has scored 9.5 points per game away from home in the last decade, the most of any of the 71 players to have played at least 50 games in that time.  

Not many people would have guessed the centre paring but the numbers say otherwise. The Bulls' aggressive Jan Serfontein made 10+ carries and 10+ tackles in a game from inside centre on five occasions; while Blues' Charles Piutau highlights what a loss he was to NZ Rugby [when he left for the UK] as he gained an average of 79m per game away from home in the last decade.

On one wing is Crusaders giant Nemani Nadolo. No Crusaders player has scored multiple tries in an away game more times in the last decade than Nadolo (3). On the other wing is Hamilton favourite James Lowe who has impressive stats - he scored 13 tries in 28 games away from home, as well as making 48 clean breaks and 38 offloads - he also gained the most metres per game (76) of any winger to play at least 20 games on the road.

At fullback is the mercurial Chiefs' playmaker and open field specialist Damian McKenzie. He has scored 20+ points in an away game on seven occasions since debuting in 2015 - more than any other player - and he has been directly involved in 24 tries in his last 18 games away from home in the competition (10 tries, 14 try assists). He is our Away team Player of the Decade.

 

15

Damian McKenzie

Chiefs

Has scored 20+ points in an away game on seven occasions in Super Rugby since debuting in 2015 - more than any other player - and he has been directly involved in 24 tries in his last 18 games away from home in the competition (10 tries, 14 try assists).

14

James Lowe

Chiefs

Scored 13 tries in 28 games away from home, as well as making 48 clean breaks and 38 offloads - he also gained the most metres per game (76) of any winger to play at least 20 games on the road.

13

Charles Piutau

Blues

Gained an average of 79m per game away from home in the last decade of Super Rugby - the second-most of any player (min. 10 games in that stretch.

12

Jan Serfontein

Bulls

He's made 10+ carries and 10+ tackles in a game from inside centre on five occasions, the second-most of any player in the last decade of Super Rugby (Kyle Godwin - 7).

11

Nemani Nadolo

Crusaders

No Crusaders player has scored multiple tries in an away game more times in the last decade than Nadolo (3); his hat-trick against the Cheetahs in Round 9, 2014 is unbeaten by Crusaders players in such fixtures.

10

Beauden Barrett

Hurricanes [Blues]

He's scored 9.5 points per game away from home in the last decade of Super Rugby, the most of any of the 71 players to have played at least 50 games in that time.

9

TJ Perenara

Hurricanes

He's scored 30 tries away from home in Super Rugby - only one player has scored more in the last decade (Israel Folau - 31); he's also made 48 clean breaks, and 56 offloads in that span.

1

Steven Kitshoff

Stormers

Has made 304 tackles, won 15 turnovers, and made 22 carries from his 47 games away from home in the last decade of Super Rugby.

2

Malcolm Marx

Lions

Made 202 carries from his 29 games away from home, gaining an average of 23m per game in that stretch - the most of any tight-five forward to play at least 20 away games in that period.

3

Allan Alaalatoa

Brumbies

He's made 10+ tackles in six of his last seven Super Rugby games played away from home including a tally of 17 against the Stormers in Round 10, 2019.

4

RG Snyman

Bulls

He's won 119 lineouts (inc. steals), made 43 offloads, and made 162 carries from his 25 appearances away from home in the last decade of Super Rugby.

5

Brodie Retallick

Chiefs

He's won 182 lineouts (inc. steals) in the last decade of Super Rugby when playing away from home, as well as crossing for eight tries, making 487 tackles, and 336 carries from 53 games on the road.

6

Sean McMahon

Rebels

McMahon has beaten an average of 3.6 defenders per game away from home in the last decade of Super Rugby - the most of any forward to have played at least 10 away games in that span.

7

Luke Braid

Blues

Braid has made 329 carries and 350 tackles in his 36 games away from home in Super Rugby in the last 10 years, as well as having made 45 offloads and winning 40 turnovers.

8

Amanaki Mafi

Rebels/ Sunwolves

Mafi is the only forward to have made 20+ carries in an away game on multiple occasions in the last decade of Super Rugby; he's done so three times.


Opta Index: How does it work

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 points are then weighted against the score at the time when the action took place (higher points if the score is closer), the time in the match (higher points at the start of the match) and the position on the pitch where it took place (higher points for actions closer to the goal line).

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.