Having already wrapped up the 2016 Rugby Championship title it is no surprise that a host of the All Blacks squad feature prominently in the player rankings this season, but which other players have shone in the campaign so far?
Below we look at the attacking categories and as you would expect Kiwis fill out the bulk of the rankings, with Julian Savea and Ben Smith making the breaks and the metres whilst playmaker Beauden Barrett not only provides a threat with ball in hand but is also the All Blacks’ key creator of chances. Interestingly when looking at the top ball carriers though, Barrett is the only New Zealand player to feature, proving how lethal they are with relatively little opportunities.
Looking away from the All Blacks briefly and Facundo Isa surely deserves some recognition. The Pumas back-rower features in all the attacking rankings except the try scoring charts and indeed tops the charts for forwards in metres, defenders beaten, breaks and carries, no mean feat. The 23-year-old Jaguares player has made 12 more carries than any other player in the competition and will clearly be a crucial player for Argentina in years to come.
Rugby is not all about attack though and mention should also go to those players putting in the hard graft in defence. Michael Hooper has made 10 more tackles than any other player so far with his injured team mate David Pocock in second spot and the Kiwi duo of Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock the other two players to make 40+ successful hits. Warren Whitely is not far behind on 38 and has indeed made more tackles than anyone else without missing one, Pablo Matera (who also tops the offloads charts with 9) and Ardie Savea both performing well in this ranking as well.
Although Hooper’s work-rate cannot be questioned he does also feature in the top five of players to miss the most tackles, alongside three other Australians (Foley, Haylett-Petty & Mumm), clearly an area in which Michael Cheika will want to target in the final two games of the campaign.
Argentina captain Agustin Creevy has had a great tournament so far and led from the front for the Pumas, his tally of seven turnovers won is the best of any player in the competition. His efforts are not just limited to defence though as he is third in the rankings for carries and second for lineout throw success rate (94%) behind only Adriaan Strauss (95%).