It’s not enough to have a starting XV capable of controlling the game anymore; an experienced and ample helping of bench players is crucial to maintaining a consistent performance across an 80-minute Super Rugby fixture. This can often be a stern test of a team’s depth, and some teams have proven to be significantly more effective at providing a consistent 23-man squad than others this season.

The Crusaders have extracted more tries from their bench contingent than any other team so far this season, seeing their substitute players cross six times after just five rounds. The Blues have found the whitewash five times from the bench, the second most of any team, while the Waratahs (3) are the only Australian team to have done so more than twice.

The Kings have had some of the most exciting bench players, with their interchange squad exploding to 14 clean breaks in just five games this season. While this data belies their current position on the table, they’ve not been able to capitalise, scoring just three tries as a result, one fewer than South African-best Lions (4).

The Brumbies shouldn’t be afraid of leaking points when they bring their first squad off, with their bench contingent offering a 96% tackle success rate, but far the best of any bench in the competition. Another Australian team polls at second; the Western Force are one of only three teams to have their bench boast a tackle success rate above 90% and as an added bonus, their bench has conceded only one turnover from a combined 748 minutes played, three fewer than any other team in the competition.

The Crusaders bench features again, notching top five rankings in both tries scored and tackle success rate so far in Super Rugby 2017. Contrastingly, while the Force feature prominently in the defensive bench rankings, they remain one of just four teams (Chiefs, Jaguares, Rebels) who are yet to have any one of their bench players score a try this campaign.