We take a look at the players who have made the most lineout steals in Super Rugby since the beginning of 2016.
Kicking the ball down into the opposition 22 and over the sideline to relieve pressure is only half the battle; if your jumper can steal the resulting lineout off the opposition, your team immediately has possession in golden attacking territory. An efficient lineout stealer creates an air of uncertainty around the set piece; the opposition hooker knows his throw can’t afford to be off even in the slightest.
It is the Jaguares’ Guido Petti Pagadizaval (36) who has made the most lineout steals in this period, with only Franco Mostert (35) having also taken 30+. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers) has made the second most lineout steals (26) of any active Super Rugby player behind the Argentinian, who does in fact lead the competition so far in 2020 (4, level with Matt Philip). Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes) has made the most lineout steals (22) of any New Zealand player in Super Rugby since the beginning of 2016; Adam Coleman (19) leads the way amongst Australian players.
Looking at tries scored by teams from lineouts in that same span, it is the Lions (151) [pictured below] who have scored the most tries on possession beginning with a lineout (inc. steals) since the beginning of the 2016 campaign, 12 more than the next best side (Crusaders - 139). Indeed, the Brumbies are the only active side (136/243 - 56%) to have scored over half of their 243 total tries from this set piece, the Lions being the next closest to the mark (151/316 – 48%).
Over the coming weeks and months of the 2020 Super Rugby campaign fans should keep a close eye on how their team uses the lineout to their advantage and what becomes of each contest.