Sanzarrugby.com takes a look at the number leaders for 2014 Super Rugby, the best of the best who are dominating certain statistics.
Even if the list serves up one or two surprises and some names that some might argue are not among the competition’s form players...
The Hurricanes' flyhalf is the leading point scorer for Super Rugby, and it isn’t a difficult connection to suggest that the rising form of the Taranaki based playmaker is a critical part of the Wellington based franchise’s explosive run of results. He is far from just a boot, scoring five tries, while many are calling for the 22-year-old to guide the All Blacks backline against England.
Beauden Barrett 167 (11 appearances)
Lima Sopoaga 127 (9)
Marnitz Boshoff 126 (11)
Quade Cooper 118 (11)
Bernard Foley 117 (10)
While the tries have, by Folau’s standards, dried up of late, a big part of this has come from abundantly obvious efforts by opposing teams to limit the impact of arguably Australia’s most lethal offensive player. Despite playing few games than his fellow custodians, expect his 10 Test tries scored last year to be challenged in 2014.
Israel Folau 9 (7 appearances)
Nick Cummins 6 (10)
Robbie Coleman 6 (10)
George Moala 6 (10)
Nemani Nadolo 6 (7)
While many continue to pen epitaphs about the Reds season, and observe fluctuating form from many of their key players, the enigmatic Quade Cooper is still one of the premier players in the game when it comes to setting up his try scoring team-mates. Critics might argue that sometimes the passes are prone to becoming unforced errors, but when those darting flat balls hit their mark, usually points follow.
Quade Cooper 9 (11 appearances)
Nic White 7 (11)
Willie le Roux 6 (12)
Matt Toomua 6 (11)
Ma'a Nonu 5 (6)
Kurtley Beale 5 (10)
The most remarkable aspect of Folau’s domination in this category is that he is faced with stiff competition from other numbers 15s. The likes of Ben Smith, Charles Piutau, Willie Le Roux and Jesse Mogg may have well over 100 carries (as opposed to Israel’s 87), but the Waratahs fullback averages a break in over 20% of his runs.
Israel Folau 16 (7 appearances)
Nemani Nadolo 14 (7)
Julian Savea 14 (11)
Alapati Leiua 14 (10)
Pat McCabe 13 (11)
Amidst of team of flashy players and All Blacks, Alapati Leiua has been a revelation this season, the 25-year-old Samoan international has served as a utility and his power running from the midfield has given the Hurricanes go forward in the same class as the likes of Ma’a Nonu. A confirmed departure to London Wasps, it isn’t difficult to suggest he will be among the team’s biggest loss come 2015.
Alapati Leiua 39 (10 appearances)
Julian Savea 36 (11)
Charles Piutau 36 (11)
Malakai Fekitoa 34 (10)
Ben Smith 31 (10)
A curious metric some might feel that passing alone isn’t an indication of elite status, but the mammoth work rate of Genia has come from playing behind a pack unable to dominate and an obvious desire to shoulder as much workload as possible. Further revelations come to light when looking at the Wallabies halfback’s kicking game – with 90 he has booted the ball more than any of his fellow nines.
Will Genia 699 (11 appearances)
Nick Phipps 660 (10)
Nic White 656 (11)
TJ Perenara 655 (11)
Francois Hougaard 476 (12)
For all of the headline grabbing antics of Folau, the brilliant form of Kurtley Beale is to thank for many of the Waratahs attacking raids. His number of carries are offset by a relatively low average gain (4.18 metres, half that of outside backs) which represents a willingness to take the ball into heavy traffic. With a leading (outside of a halfback) 169 passes, Beale is also a creator.
Kurtley Beale 137 (10 appearances)
Willie le Roux 134 (12)
Ben Smith 130 (10)
Jesse Mogg 126 (11)
Israel Dagg 125 (10)
Again the Reds playmaker continues to be one of the benchmark players with his passing, even if at times it seems like Cooper, like his halves partner, is forcing his game in a frantic effort to turn the Queenslanders fortunes around. Among fellow number 10s he is the best close quarter offloader by statistics by some margin (at least double than any other flyhalf).
Quade Cooper 26 (11 appearances)
Israel Folau 25 (7)
Willie le Roux 19 (12)
Tawera Kerr-Barlow 17 (9)
Malakia Fekitoa 16 (10)
It is no idle claim to suggest that the Force captain is arguably Super Rugby’s player of the season. While leading from the front as one of the competition’s best captains, Hodgson has made 162 tackles, 36 more than any other player with less than two matches.
Matt Hodgson 162 (10 appearances)
Jacques du Plessis 126 (12)
Boom Prinsloo 124 (12)
Warren Whiteley 123 (10)
Shane Christie 120 (9)
What to say in a few words regarding a man who by numbers alone should be one of the first players picked for the Wallabies this year. His 20 turnovers represent a brilliant ability to reset himself after making one of his 162 tackles to cause havoc for most ball carriers.
Matt Hodgson 20 (10 appearances)
Jack Lam 15 (11)
Marcell Coetzee 15 (10)
Deon Fourie 12 (11)
Luke Braid 12 (9)
Michael Hooper 12 (10)
The Wallabies hooker is in such form that some are calling for the Brumbies veteran to be among the candidates for Test captaincy, with his lineout ability among the best in the business. Not merely a ball throwing sniper, Moore is in the top three when looking at carries and tackles among Super Rugby’s rakes.
Stephen Moore 118 (10 appearances)
Adriaan Strauss 117 (12)
Callie Visagie 109 (11)
Bismarck du Plessis 107 (10)
Nathan Charles 87 (10)
In many respects it is like King Victor never left, an absence away from Super Rugby hasn’t diminished the powers or arguably the greatest jumping lineout forward in rugby history. The prowess of the 37-year-old is stunning as the opposition know he is likely to receive the throw but are often powerless to prevent the 110-Test Springbok forward from ruling the air.
Victor Matfield 61 (11 appearances)
Ben Mowen 50 (11)
Stephan Lewies 44 (11)
Jake Schatz 43 (11)
Steven Luatua 38 (11)
While Ben Mowen and others believe that his impending departure to Europe should mean a line is drawn through his name for Wallabies selection, if Ewen McKenzie selects on form and form alone, the Brumbies loose forward will be among the first names announced.
Ben Mowen 6 (11 appearances)
Warren Whiteley 6 (10)
Sam Whitelock 6 (10)
Duane Vermeulen 6 (11)
Anyone keeping track of time?
So far this #SuperRugby season, 495 players have been used, each playing an average of 54.57 minutes throughout 7.18 appearances.
Adriaan Strauss has played the most minutes (949 in 12 appearances), but 9 players (who have played 10 or 11 games) have seen every possible minute of action.
11 games, 880 minutes: Cooper, De Allende, Mowen, Vermeulen
10 games, 800 minutes: Cummins, Fekitoa, Foley, Hooper, B Smith