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    S15: Tiaan is turnover king

    2012-05-22 11:46
    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
    Cape Town – Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg has climbed to joint-top of the charts for most turnovers in Super Rugby after Week 13.

    The burly Liebenberg, following his team’s latest, hard-earned victory over the Waratahs at Newlands, heads the statistics in that category alongside Tom McCartney, who also wears the No 2 shirt for the ailing Blues – they have reportedly executed 29 turnovers each.

    Another hooker, Springbok Bismarck du Plessis, who put in a big showing for the Sharks in their Bloemfontein triumph over the Cheetahs despite getting another 10 minutes in the sin bin, lies joint fourth on 26 with the Highlanders’ ever-industrious flank Adam Thomson and, interestingly, a less likely customer in Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner.

    The stats are issued weekly by Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald.

    What the latest figures do appear to indicate is that South African teams in the competition, generally speaking, still favour fairly conservative, kicking-conscious game plans.

    The highest-placed South African player for “most run metres”, for example, lies in eighth spot – it is the bottom-placed Lions’ versatile backline player Jaco Taute (736m). All of the top seven slots are occupied by New Zealanders.

    Bulls flyhalf Morne Steyn, by contrast, continues to boss most of the various kicking categories, including most tournament points with 167.

    He has also been responsible for “most kicks” (112) with the Stormers’ fullback Joe Pietersen, who is often engaged in bouts of tactical ping-pong with rival kickers, next on 107.

    For most kick metres, these two also head up proceedings: Steyn with 4,726m and Pietersen with 4,274.

    There are also three South Africans among the top five for most tackles thus far: Marcell Coetzee of the Sharks is third with 168, the Stormers’ Siya Kolisi fourth (155) and Cheetahs’ Heinrich Brussow fifth (151).

    The leaders here are Matt Todd of the Crusaders (178) and Western Force captain David Pocock (176).

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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