Our friends at Opta Sports have crunched the numbers to create the Super Rugby Team of the Week following the completion of the Qualifiers.
Damian de Allende, who beat more defenders (12) than any other player this entire season, leads the way despite the Stormers' defeat.
Frans Malherbe and Eben Etzebeth also featured for the Capetonians, however they were ultimately undone by the exploits of the Brumbies who had four representatives, including hat-trick hero, Joe Tomane.
The Highlanders continued to impress with their ability to attack from anywhere on the field as they dispatched the Chiefs in Dunedin.
Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa, Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith highlight a potent backline with Elliot Dixon the sole representative among the forwards.
Michael Leitch, Brodie Retallick and Damian McKenzie featured for the Chiefs in defeat.
See the full team selection and statistics below.
|Number||Name||Team||Minutes||Opta Index*||Performance Fact|
|1||Scott Sio||Brumbies||60||188||A try-scorer that made all eight tackles he attempted.|
|2||Stephen Moore||Brumbies||66||188||Won three turnovers for his side, more than any other player at the weekend.|
|3||Frans Malherbe||Stormers||68||184||Completed 6/6 tackles and chipped in with four carries.|
|4||Eben Etzebeth||Stormers||80||282||No player won more lineouts on their own side's throw than the Stormer (6), who also made 10 carries and 7/7 tackles.|
|5||Brodie Retallick||Chiefs||80||356||Won seven lineouts for his side, including a steal, more than any other player at the weekend. He also made 8/8 tackles and scored a try.|
|6||Elliot Dixon||Highlanders||80||169||Completed 11 tackles for his side and also won turnover ball twice.|
|7||David Pocock||Brumbies||80||261||Gained 25 metres from six carries, which included one defender beaten. In defence he completed 10 tackles.|
|8||Michael Leitch||Chiefs||52||297||In just 52 minutes of action he made a weekend joint-high 17 carries for a gain 47 metres. He also beat two defenders.|
|9||Aaron Smith||Highlanders||80||363||Assisted two tries for his side with blindside scrum plays, beating two defenders on the way. In defence he completed 11 tackles.|
|10||Lima Sopoaga||Highlanders||80||300||Kicked 5/6 and made eight carries for his side, which included two defenders beaten. He also won two turnovers.|
|11||Joe Tomane||Brumbies||80||472||The hat-trick hero gained 68 metres from five carries and beat two tacklers on his way to 15 points.|
|12||Damian de Allende (c)||Stormers||80||536||Beat 12 defenders in this game, the most in a match this season, eclipsing Andries Coetzee who mustered 11 in Round 14. He also made four breaks.|
|13||Malakai Fekitoa||Highlanders||80||191||Produced three offloads in nine carries, which came for a gain of 68 metres. He also made 4/4 tackles.|
|14||Waisake Naholo||Highlanders||80||379||The two-try man gained 110 metres from 10 carries thanks to a weekend joint-high four clean breaks.|
|15||Damian McKenzie||Chiefs||80||471||Produced two clean breaks and four defenders beaten from 13 carries, as well as a weekend joint-high four offloads.|
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.