JEREMY PROOME looks at the players who topped the stats in key areas of the game during round two of Vodacom Super Rugby.
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg was busy at the back this weekend, making 20 carries during their 18-10 loss to the Chiefs in Christchurch. Charles Piutau came in second with 18, and Luke Braid and Peter Saili shared third place with 17 each.
Waratahs fullback Israel Folau continued his impressive transition to rugby union with a stellar performance against the Force, scoring a hat-trick and slicing through the defence untouched four times. Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara follows Folau after his three clean breaks against the Sharks.
Charles Piutau is one of the most devastating runners in Super Rugby, and despite the 29-21 loss, his performance against the Highlanders showed his class, with seven defenders beaten. Piutau's Blues colleague Luke Braid is second after beating six defenders, while Aidan Toua and SP Marais beat five each.
As expected, the Lions’ new talisman Marnitz Boshoff tops the drop-goal table for round two with his three shots against the Stormers at Ellis Park. Cheetahs flyhalf Johan Goosen was the only other player to successfully convert a drop goal in the second round.
Once again, Israel Folau’s athletic ability was showcased as he racked up 131 running metres against the Force. Folau edged out Charles Piutau, who ran one metre less over the weekend. Willie le Roux comes in at number three with 99m run.
Blues flanker Luke Braid was able to release a pass in the tackle more than anyone else throughout round two, getting four offloads in the game against the Highlanders. SP Marais, Frans Steyn, Israel folau, Jake Schatz, Wil Genia, Reynold Lee-Lo, and TJ Perenara each performed three offloads in round two.
The Highlanders flanker Shane Christie outshone his team-mate Kane Hames's 19 tackles by putting in 21 defensive efforts against the Blues. Lions No 8 Warren Whiteley came third with 18 tackles.
The top of the try-assists table for round two is shared by Reds playmaker Quade Cooper and Waratahs replacement back Matt Carraro. Cooper was able to play a role in Aiden Toua and Lachie Turner’s tries, while Carraro assisted in Kurtley Beale's score and Folau’s third try.
Three loose forwards take the turnover crown for round two, with the Hurricanes’ Jack Lam, the Highlanders’ Shane Christie and the Blues’ Steven Luatua making three successful turnovers each.
It goes without saying that the highest point-scorer of the weekend was the Lions’ Marnitz Boshoff. The flyhalf slotted six penalties, three drop goals and a conversion for a 29-point haul. Pat Lambie, Johan Goosen and Israel Folau all share second with 15 points apiece.
Flip van der Merwe highlighted his captaincy of the Bulls by making two lineout steals. However, he's forced to share the statistic with another captain, the Lions' Warren Whiteley, who snatched two of the Stormers' throw-ins.
For all the stats during the Super Rugby action, follow SARugbymag.co.za’s revamped Match Centre (on the site from Friday to Sunday), which features in-depth analysis, stat-tracking and insight into all the games.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images