Our friends at Opta Sports have crunched the numbers to create the Super Rugby Team of the Week following the completion of Round 15.
Augustine Pulu leads the Round 15 Team of the Week with Chiefs' backline partner, Damian McKenzie and captain, Liam Messam aso receiving the call.
Pulu was sensational last Friday night, setting a solid foundation in the No. 9 jersey for the Chiefs' to launch their attack from. The 25-year-old made 101 metres from his 14 carries and also notched a round-high six offloads in his side's victory.
In spite of their loss to the Sharks, the Reds' backline duo of Chris Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi made an appearance with the latter now finding himself a regular fixture in Super Rugby's weekly elite.
Ben Smith nailed down the fullback with his performance against the Force while Alex Ainley and Brendon Edmonds continued the Highlanders' flavour to the Round 15 side after their dominant efforts in victory in Perth.
See the full team selection and statistics below.
|Number||Name||Team||Minutes||Opta Index*||Performance Fact|
|1||Brendon Edmonds||Highlanders||70||370||Completed 17/17 tackles this weekend. Only one more player completed more (22/22 - Warwick Tecklenburg)|
|2||Bismarck du Plessis||Sharks||80||539||Missed just one of 15 tackles and made two clean breaks.|
|3||Sekope Kepu||Waratahs||63||253||Completed 8/8 tackles, made a break and helped the 'Tahs win 4/4 scrums.|
|4||Alex Ainley||Highlanders||80||312||Won a round-high nine lineouts and made 12/13 tackles.|
|5||Mark Abbott||Hurricanes||71||286||Made a game-high 17 carries against the Blues.|
|6||Liam Messam||Chiefs||79||369||Made 9/10 tackles, scored a try and made 55 metres from 12 carries.|
|7||Boom Prinsloo||Cheetahs||80||525||Completed 15/16 tackles and crossed for two tries.|
|8||Akira Ioane||Blues||80||387||Made 9/10 tackles as well as a team-high 16 carries and beat five defenders.|
|9||Augustine Pulu (c)||Chiefs||68||764||Made a round-high six offloads as well as 101 metres from 14 carries.|
|10||Damian McKenzie||Chiefs||80||579||Was the top metre maker (149) and carrier (21) last weekend.|
|11||Chris Kuridrani||Reds||80||415||Made a round-high five clean breaks and scored a try.|
|12||Samu Kerevi||Reds||80||588||Beat a round-high 10 defenders. Also made four offloads and scored a try.|
|13||Dom Shipperley||Rebels||80||459||Made three breaks and 78 metres from 13 carries. Scoring a try and beating six defenders rounded off an impressive week.|
|14||Rob Horne||Waratahs||80||395||Completed 10/10 tackles, made 100 metres from just six carries and scored a try.|
|15||Ben Smith||Highlanders||80||478||Made 106 metres from 13 carries, beating four defenders in the process.|
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.