We take a closer look at how the local No 8s have been performing in Vodacom Super Rugby, according to Advanced Rugby stats.
In 2020 we’ve seen massive performances week after week from Sikhumbuzo Notshe. However, round seven belonged to Juarno Augustus, who had perhaps his best game so far this season.
Augustus had a massive game against the Sharks and was hands down the standout performer for his Stormers side in their round-seven loss to the Sharks this past Saturday. He had a hand in both his team’s tries, the first when he led a counter-attack, assisting in a Dillyn Leyds clean break which led to Jantjies crossing the tryline. The second was a try assist of his own, after he ran a perfect line on to a Damian Willemse pass, busting through the Sharks’ line before putting Paul de Wet over.
Augustus led his side in run metres, grabbing 44 on his five carries – a game high this season. Augustus was also perfect on defence, leading the Stormers and all local No 8s, with 14 tackles in the round-seven clash. His defensive effort was three tackles more than his previous game high of 11, which was recorded both in rounds three and four of the competition.
Augustus is now second, behind Notshe, for tackles in 2020, with 53 (Notshe, 58). Despite this, Augustus is making more tackles than any other South African No 8 per 80 minutes, recording 12.7. Len Massyn, Muller Uys and Notshe are sitting on 8.8, 8.8 and 8.3, respectively.
Uys has continued to fire since making his debut in round six against the Highlanders. The 21-year-old gained 41m on his seven carries against the Reds at Suncorp, tying with Notshe for the most runs by a South African No 8 in round seven. Uys also recorded a tackle break, a clean break and bagged a try assist after he got on the outside of his marker and then drew in Reds halfback Scott Malolua, before spreading the ball to Rosko Specman who ran in to finish a neat team try.
Uys was a brick wall on defence, snaring eight tackles in his side’s 41-17 loss to the Reds. Since making his debut, Uys has now made 16 tackles across his two games, at a perfect 100% tackle success rate, a mightily impressive feat for the young man.
Notshe continued the heavy workload we’re accustomed to seeing from him this season in his side’s sixth win of the year – over the Stormers at Kings Park Stadium on Saturday. Notshe had 12 touches of attack, four more than any other local No 8 in the round. Notshe is now averaging 11.2 touches per 80 minutes, far more than his competitors, with Massyn and Augustus making 7.3 and 6.9 touches per 80 minutes, respectively.
Notshe wasn’t as effective with ball in hand as we’ve seen him in other games this season, running for 32m on his seven carries, 20 less than his average per game this season.
Notshe made eight tackles and recorded one miss against the Stormers and continues to lead all local No 8s in tackles (58) and tackle accuracy (93.5%). Augustus and Massyn are both right behind him, on 91.4% and 86.5%, respectively, while Uys is tackling at 100%, but only has played two games this season.
The Lions mixed things up in round seven, starting Hacjivah Dayimani at No 8. But that experiment lasted for just a short spell before Massyn came on, replacing Dayimani in the 36th minute. In less than one half of rugby, the hard-running Dayimani managed to beat five defenders, running for 13m on five carries. He didn’t have enough time to make any sort of defensive impact, recording just two tackles and missing one.
Massyn was very active in his 44-minute appearance against the Blues at Eden Park, running the ball on five occasions for a total of 16m gained, a far cry from the 8.7 Massyn was averaging per carry prior to his round-seven clash.
Massyn made a solid defensive effort off the bench, recording six tackles and one miss, slightly less than Uys and Notshe’s eight-tackle effort, despite seeing far fewer minutes.
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