Our friends at Opta Sports have crunched the numbers to create the Super Rugby Team of the Week following the completion of Round 12.

In a team dominated by Kiwi representation this week, Jaco Kriel stood head and shoulders above the rest with his round-high 690 points on the Opta Index.

In spite of the Lions' narrow loss to the Bulls in Pretoria, Kriel was unstoppable, beating seven defenders while helping himself to 114 metres in attack and landing 13 of his 14 tackle attempts on the other side of the ball, winning thee turnovers.

Hurricanes' pivot, Beauden Barrett, was the top-ranked New Zealander with 637 points, despite injuring his knee late in his side's victory over the Sharks while the Highlanders continue to feature strongly with Aaton Smith, Patrick Osborne and Waisake Naholo rapidly making the elite backline their own.

Luke Jones, Pek Cowan and Tevita Kuridrani flew the Aussie flag this round while a trio of Stormers found themselves among the week's elite, depsite being on the losing side of the ledger in Bloemfontein.

See the full team selection and statistics below.


Number Name Team Minutes Opta Index* Performance Fact
1 Pek Cowan Force 65 424 Beat six defenders from nine carries and made 9/11 tackles. The Force were 100% at the scrum. 
2 Bismarck du Plessis Sharks 80 542 The top ball carrier (20) of the round landed 15 of 16 lineout throws, also a weekend high. Du Plessis also made six offloads. 
3 Frans Malherbe Stormers 59 317 Made 17/17 tackles despite playing just 59 minutes. The Stormers won all three of their scrum feeds while their opponents lost four of nine overall.
4 Luke Jones Rebels 80 383 Won eight lineouts, made 10/10 tackles and in attack chipped in with 12 carries and a clean break.
5 Sam Whitelock Crusaders 80 374 Gained 40 metres from seven carries, beating two defenders. He also made all 12 tackles.
6 Jaco Kriel (c) Lions 80 690 Two clean breaks and seven defenders beaten helped him to a gain of 114 metres. He also made 13/14 tackles and won three turnovers.
7 Akira Ioane Brumbies 80 564 Beat 10 defenders, a match joint-high in the competition this season. He also gained 118 metres thanks to two clean breaks.
8 Duane Vermeulen Stormers 80 481 Gained 89 metres from 14 carries which included a clean break. He got through 13/14 tackles and won a turnover.
9 Aaron Smith Highlanders 66 504 Produced a round joint-high four clean breaks and one try. He also got through 9/10 tackles in defence.
10 Beauden Barrett Hurricanes 71 637 Gained more metres (184) than any other player, beating seven defenders in 11 carries.
11 Patrick Osborne Highlanders 80 600 Gained 121 metres from 17 carries thanks to a monsterous four clean breaks and eight defenders beaten. Also made six offloads. 
12 George Moala Blues 80 381 Averaged over 10 metres per his nine carries thanks to six defenders beaten and two breaks. Also made 10/10 tackles.
13 Tevita Kuridrani Brumbies 80 330 Beat four defenders in his 10 carries, twice managing to break the line.  
14 Waisake Naholo Highlanders 80 465 Broke the line twice and beat three defenders on his way to yet another try.
15 Cheslin Kolbe Stormers 80 417 Beat eight defenders and gained 171 metres from 12 ball carries, which included three breaks.

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.

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