We continue our review of the last five seasons - this week the stats select a Team of the Week based on a player's best individual season by position...

Statistics are not perfect but they assist in analysing key data within a given time frame time and while not everyone may agree with the results the Team of the Week statistics we have published over recent weeks do make fascinating reading. In many ways they highlight consistency of performance and this weeks team in no exception.

There are six New Zealanders, six South Africans and three Australians. But on closer inspection the team reveals some interesting perspectives... the pack is dominated by South Africans with six players and the backline by Kiwis with six players! Perhaps reflecting traditional strengths or at least a trend in Super Rugby over the last five years. 

The pack contains three Springboks who were part of the 2019 Rugby WorldCup success; hooker Malcolm Marx [2019 - pictured above], and locks Pieter-Steph du Toit [2016] and Lodewyk de Jager [2018], plus three South Afrcians who have been stand-outs in their particular teams, Bulls prop Lizo Gqoboka [2019], Lions flanker Jaco Kriel [2017] and Sharks flanker Jean-Luc du Preez [2018]. At No.8 is Melbourne Rebel Amanaki Mafi [2018] who featured for Japan at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The backline is a star-studded international line-up spear-headed by the Hurricanes and All Blacks dynamic duo TJ Peranara [2017] and fly-half Beauden Barrett [2019]. Barrett has moved to the Blues for 2020 but he was a prolific point scorer for the Hurricanes from 2011-2019.

In the centres we have the Reds Samu Kerevi [2019] and the Chiefs Anton Lienert-Brown [2018] - in terms of carries, offloads and metres gained , and terrorising defences, these two are standouts. Reflecting the open, fifteen-man rugby philosophy employed by the Crusaders, and their ability to record high scores, we have their two current All Black wings in the TOTW: Sevu Reece who was unstoppable in 2019 and George Bridge who was on fire after seven rounds of this year's tournament before it was interrupted. The Crusaders have won the last three Super Rugby titles and under coach Scott Robertson they could have created history this year by winning four titles in a row? 

No surprises at fullback where All Black and Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie earns his spot [2017]. A major threat to any defence he is lethal in counter-attack or equally at home from set piece moves. He is our Player of the Week from this team.








Player Fact


Damian McKenzie



McKenzie made more carries (242), gained more metres (1,669) and beat more defenders (80) than any other player in 2017, as well as scoring six tries and providing seven try assists; indeed, his 1,669 metres gained are the most of any player in any of the last five seasons.


Sevu Reece



Crossed for 15 tries in the 2019 season - the most of any player - as well as making a season-high 39 clean breaks, 21 offloads and beating 50 defenders.


Anton Lienert-Brown



The only outside centre to gain 700+ metres (768) in 2018 from his 167 carries, Lienert-Brown also led his position for clean breaks (31), offloads (22) and had six try involvements (3 tries, 3 try assists) in that Super Rugby campaign.


Samu Kerevi



Made 15 carries per game - the second-most of any player in any of the last five seasons - as well as making 26 clean breaks, 26 offloads and beat a joint season-high 71 defenders.


George Bridge



He's made 13.4 carries per game this Super Rugby season - more than any other player - as well as gaining an average of 79m per game, a total of 10 clean breaks and a total of five try involvements (3 tries, 2 try assists).


Beauden Barrett



Won 12 turnovers - five more than any other fly-half; Barrett also scored 118 points, made eight try assists and made 10 clean breaks.


TJ Perenara



Perenara was directly involved in 18 tries in the 2017 season (7 tries, 11 try assists) - the second most of any player - as well as making 15 offloads and 16 clean breaks throughout the campaign.


Lizo Gqoboka



Gained 284m - more than 100 more than any other prop forward - as well as beating 18 defenders, making 121 tackles and scoring two tries.


Malcolm Marx



Made more carries (151), gained more metres (505), made more clean breaks (16) and won more turnovers (17) than any other hooker in the 2019 season, as well as bagging three tries for the campaign.


Allan Alaalatoa



Made more carries (96) and more tackles (160) than any other prop forward in the 2019 campaign, as well as crossing for a try and winning four turnovers.


Pieter-Steph du Toit



No player won more total lineouts in the 2016 campaign than du Toit (86, incl. 14 steals); he also made 14 offloads, beat 22 defenders and made 132 tackles.


Lodewyk De Jager



Won 58 lineouts on his team's throw - the joint-third most of any player - as well as making 108 tackles, stealing an additional 14 lineouts and beating 20 defenders.


Jaco Kriel



Only Malcolm Marx (10) scored more tries than Jaco Kriel (8) among forwards in the 2017 season; Kriel also won 22 turnovers, made 114 tackles and beat 43 defenders that campaign.


Jean-Luc du Preez



Made 31 offloads - four more than any other player - as well as beating 31 defenders, making 101 tackles and crossing for three tries.


Amanaki Mafi



Gained 1,345m - nearly 600 more than any other forward - as well as beating 50 defenders, making 16 offloads and scoring six tries.



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.