According to Advanced Rugby stats, we take a closer look at how the local fullbacks have been performing in Vodacom Super Rugby.
In round six of Super Rugby the Vodacom Bulls lodged their first win of the season with an emphatic victory over the Highlanders at Loftus. Warrick Gelant had his best season performance and was the standout of the South African fullbacks for the round, although Aphelele Fassi is certainly deserving of credit for his dazzling display against the Jaguares.
Gelant played an integral role in his side’s first win of the year, involving himself heavily in his side’s attack. He touched the ball an astounding 35 times, double the touches he’s been averaging so far this season. Gelant topped just about every stat for South African fullbacks, recording 12 runs for 77 metres and beating five defenders on Saturday, doubling his season run and tackle bust totals in the round-six clash. Gelant got his name on the scoreboard with a try, and recorded a linebreak, while assisting in another.
Gelant stood out as a distributor on Saturday, making 18 passes and facilitating much of the Bulls’ offense. The other two South African fullbacks made a combined seven passes in their games in round six – Coetzee with four and Fassi with three. Gelant recorded his sixth linebreak assist this season and is now tied for the most among all fullbacks in Super Rugby. Dillyn Leyds is the only other South African fullback to have recorded a linebreak assist this season, with two.
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Aphelele Fassi added to his resume of great performances in 2020 another huge running effort, going for 100m+ against the Jaguares on Saturday. Fassi led local fullbacks with 107m on his nine runs and now has the second-most run metres in all Super Rugby in 2020, with 507. We didn’t see Fassi breaking as many tackles against the Jaguares, with just the one defender beaten; however, he did make two clean breaks, and now leads all Super Rugby fullbacks in linebreaks this season, and he’s streaks ahead of the local fullbacks (Gelant and Coetzee, who both are on two).
Despite leading local fullbacks in tackles on the season, Fassi made just the two tackles in round six. Through rounds one to four Fassi made four, six, four and five tackles, respectively. However, there has been a change in his defensive efforts. In rounds five and six Fassi has dropped his tackles count down to a single tackle in round five, and two in round six. He is tackling at a 69% completion rate on the season.
Fassi completed the whole game without any handling errors committed, a good improvement as he is tied first among local fullbacks, with ten knock-ons in 2020 (Gelant is also on ten).
Andries Coetzee logged 13 possessions against the Rebels on Saturday, eight fewer than he’s averaging on the season. In the touches he had, Coetzee ran in the majority of occasions, and had great success doing so, recording nine runs for 95m and beating four Rebels defenders. Coetzee is now only second to Fassi in runs, metres, defenders beaten and linebreaks, on the season.
For the third time this season, Coetzee has gone an entire game without recording a single tackle. Andries now has the sole tackle in 2020, and is completing tackles at 20%, which is the lowest of all South African fullbacks. For some perspective, Warrick Gelant has the second-fewest tackles, with 12 tackles made this season at a 63% completion rate.
Coetzee has yet to give away a penalty all season, holding his discipline well. He also has the fewest handling errors, with a single knock. Only Dillyn Leyds is remotely near Coetzee when it comes to discipline and ball-handling, with two drops and a single penalty to his name.
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Photo: Gallo Images