We take a closer look at how the local fullbacks have been performing in Vodacom Super Rugby, according to Advanced Rugby stats.
Our pick for the best South African fullback in round five of Vodacom Super Rugby interestingly goes to Andries Coetzee. After a week off due to a round-four bye, Coetzee and his Lions came up short in their first game of a long five-match Australasian tour.
Coetzee topped most attacking statistics for SA fullbacks, touching the ball 29 times in the clash with the Waratahs, 12.5 more touches than he was averaging going into the match. Andries had a solid running performance at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday morning, making 76 metres on his 11 attempts, leading local fullbacks in both these stats, while also breaking the one tackle, and recording two offloads.
Coetzee continued a low defensive work rate against the Waratahs, logging zero tackles in his 80-minute effort. Coetzee now has the least tackles this season of all fullbacks in Super Rugby, with just the one tackle, made in his side’s round-three match against the Stormers.
Through 80 minutes in Sydney, the Lions stalwart held his discipline, not conceding any penalties, nor turning the ball over. He now has the one turnover this season and is still yet to concede a penalty, a mark no other fullback in South Africa can claim.
Dillyn Leyds ran less than what we’ve seen from him so far this season, running for 28m on four runs, including a broken tackle and a linebreak, in his side’s 33-14 loss to the Blues on Saturday. Leyds ran two fewer times than what we’ve seen from him through four rounds this season (six), rather, choosing passing options instead, in a game where the Stormers were behind on the scoreboard throughout.
Leyds had a five-tackle effort at Newlands on Saturday, missing the one tackle. This was the most tackles made by a South African fullback in round five and the most that we’ve seen from Dillyn Leyds in a game this season. Leyds is now the best tackling fullback in SA with 13 tackles at an 87% completion rate.
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Aphelele Fassi had a relative quiet performance in his side’s impressive 33-23 win at Suncorp on Saturday, ending a successful Australasian tour with a dominant win. Fassi had six runs for 28m and two broken tackles, a far cry from what we’ve seen of him this season. His 11 possessions against the Reds were far lower than his season average of 17.8. However, any lack of touches from Fassi were not from a lack of will, but rather from an well-executed defensive gameplan with which the Sharks shut down the Reds and their impressive young attacking talents.
On the defensive front Fassi was also quiet, making just the one tackle. The Reds’ attack had a difficult time getting the ball out wide, with Sharks centres Am and Esterhuizen leading a rush defensive effort that stopped the Reds from swinging the ball wide. Despite a low tackle count in round five, Fassi still leads all South African fullbacks in tackles recorded, with 20 tackles through round five this season.
Warrick Gelant celebrated his 50th game with a beautifully finished try in a performance that showcased his attacking prowess, running 29m on five attempts, while also recording one broken tackle, one linebreak and an offload. Gelant passed the ball on 61% of his possessions, far higher than his season average of 36%. This manifested in three linebreak assists for Gelant in a wide-open game of running rugby with little tackling.
Gelant, who came into the round-five clash tackling at 78%, made only a single tackle in his side’s loss against the Jaguares, missing three tackles. The tackles missed by Gelant were costly, leading to tries to Moroni and Boffelli.
Photo: Dan Himbrechts/BackpagePix