JOHANNESBURG – South Africa have three Lions and two Stormers players in Sanzaar’s Super Rugby team which is compiled on performances throughout the season.
Each player is in the squad on merit, with all of them registering some impressive stats throughout the season, be it for their specific position or across the competition as a whole, and on paper it makes a formidable team.
The team includes Cheslin Kolbe, Jaco Kriel, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Malcolm Marx and Jacques van Rooyen.
Only two players beat more defenders this season than Kolbe (58), whose rate of a defender beaten every 1.7 carries was better than any other player to make over 30 carries.
Kolbe also scored the joint third most tries of any player in the SA Conference (9).
And no forward was directly involved in more tries than the Lions flank Jaco Kriel (12), with eight tries and four assists.
Kriel also beat 43 defenders, a tally only Ardie Savea could better out of this season’s Super Rugby forwards.
No-one claimed more lineouts on their own team’s throw than Pieter-Steph du Toit (61), whose seven lineout steals were bettered by just two players.
He was effective in both attack and defence, highlighted by the fact that he was one of just nine players to make more than 130 carries and more than 130 tackles.
Meanwhile, just four players overall scored more tries than Lions hooker Marx, who crossed the tryline more often than any other forward (10).
He also made the most metres and clean breaks of any front-rower, and made more successful lineout throws than anyone else, maintaining a 90 percent success rate in the process.
Finally, Lions No 1 Jacques van Rooyen scored the joint most tries of any prop (3), while he also made the most carries (88) and joint-most clean breaks (6) of any player in his position.
The fact that there are no Crusaders players in the team perhaps typifies the cliché that the whole team is greater than the sum of its parts, with the Christchurch side boasting a team that works well as a unit rather than relying on standout performances of a few members to get them across the line.
Sanzaar Super Rugby Team of the Season
15 Damian McKenzie (Chiefs), 14 Cheslin Kolbe (Stormers), 13 Samu Kerevi (Reds), 12 Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes), 11 James Lowe (Chiefs), 10 Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), 9 Augustine Pulu (Blues), 8 Amanaki Mafi (Melbourne Rebels), 7 Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), 4 Guido Petti Pagadizabal (Jaguares), 3 Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), 2 Malcolm Marx (Lions), 1 Jacques van Rooyen (Lions).
African News Agency (ANA)